US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

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"Once a COVID-19 Vaccine Is Ready, Getting People to Take It May Be a Bigger Challenge"

Nach der Entwicklung eines Corona-Impfstoffs würden die Behörden in den USA vor dem Problem stehen, eine ausreichende Verbreitung des Serums in der Bevölkerung zu erreichen, schreiben Alina I. Palimaru, Marcus Dillistone und Charles P. Ries. "Vaccine effectiveness demands a certain percentage uptake. For COVID-19, this may range between 55 and 82 percent, depending on bio-socio-environmental factors. So the ultimate goal of an immunization campaign is to achieve the efficacious threshold. However, health care delivery in the United States is fragmented, with no national regulatory provision for adult vaccination, so a coherent federal intervention may be necessary. Beyond the Beltway, vaccination resistance may be a significant challenge. Overcoming this resistance may require addressing vaccine safety concerns, hostility to big pharma, religious beliefs, fear, unsubstantiated anecdotes or political dogma. Thus, any vaccination campaign could find itself fighting on multiple fronts simultaneously. This may be undesirable in military campaigns, but in this case it may be unavoidable."

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"Russia's Challenge and Syria's Chance"

In Russland werde Moskaus Engagement in Syrien zunehmend als Belastung wahrgenommen, schreiben Colin P. Clarke und William Courtney. Ein russischer Rückzug bleibe zwar unwahrscheinlich, eine zunehmende Bereitschaft für Kompromisse könne jedoch den Weg für internationale Hilfe beim Wiederaufbau des Landes ebnen. "Over time, political reconciliation in Syria might become more attractive to Moscow. (…) Russian arm-twisting in Damascus would be essential for the UN-led peace process to bear fruit. This would mean using more leverage than the Kremlin was willing to spare during the Kerry-Lavrov negotiations. Also important could be Russian efforts to squeeze Iran to withdraw forces from Syria. This is a tall order. It is more likely that the Kremlin will delay taking tough decisions unless and until renewed conflict or a new ISIS engulfs Syria and threatens Russia's position there. Outsiders have little influence over the course Moscow takes. If Russia chooses wisely, the West, wealthy Gulf countries, and China could help by discouraging insurgencies in Syria and offering generous aid despite the constraints of post-COVID belt tightening. If Moscow procrastinates, the West may withhold assistance and continue cooperation with regional partners."

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"Face Recognition Technologies"

Experten der RAND Corporation haben sich in dieser Studie mit der Frage beschäftigt, wie digitale Technologien zur automatischen Gesichtserkennung unter Berücksichtigung von Datenschutz und Vermeidung von Vorurteilen entwickelt werden könnten. "In the report, the authors describe privacy as a person's ability to control information about them. Undesirable bias consists of the inaccurate representation of a group of people based on characteristics, such as demographic attributes. Informed by a literature review, the authors propose a heuristic with two dimensions: consent status (with or without consent) and comparison type (one-to-one or some-to-many). This heuristic can help determine a proposed FRT's level of privacy and accuracy. (…) This report is based on an exploratory project and is not intended to comprehensively introduce privacy, bias, or FRTs. Future work in this area could include examinations of existing systems, reviews of their accuracy rates, and surveys of people's expectations of privacy in government use of FRTs."

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"Little Has Changed in Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe"

Der erzwungene Rücktritt des langjährigen Präsidenten Mugabe weckte 2017 die kurzzeitige Hoffnung auf eine Verbesserung der politischen und wirtschaftlichen Umstände in Simbabwe. Mugabe-Nachfolger Mnangagwa hat diese Hoffnung Alexander H. Noyes zufolge mittlerweile gründlich enttäuscht. "After two years in power, to what extent has Mnangagwa delivered on his promises? In short, it's bleak. In a RAND study published this week — based on interviews I conducted in Harare, Zimbabwe, with politicians across the political spectrum — I systematically assess Zimbabwe's political and economic reform efforts that Mnangagwa has been touting over the past two years. I found very little genuine progress, along with an uptick in repression and a rapidly declining economy that is near collapse. On the political front, reform promises are severely lagging. The report assesses five main reform areas, including elections, legislation, the security sector, judiciary, and repression. The research revealed very few tangible steps toward reconfiguring Zimbabwe's autocratic system. Repression has increased and the military is ascendant. Despite some progress in certain areas, Mnangagwa's economic reform efforts are either incomplete or falling short across a variety of sectors."

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"Abandoning West Africa Carries Risks for U.S."

Michael Shurkin kritisiert den angekündigten Rückzug von US-Truppen aus Westafrika und verweist auf zwei mögliche Folgen einer weiteren Destabilisierung der Region. Obwohl diese Folgen die USA nicht direkt betreffen würden, wäre ein Rückzug seiner Ansicht nach "leichtsinnig". "For the United States and others not directly affected by the crisis, there are two primary concerns. The first is that Islamist-controlled territory might become an incubator for international terrorist attacks. The second risk — potentially far more dangerous — is population displacement. A mass refugee crisis would destabilize countries throughout the region and even in Europe, where immigration debates already have poisoned politics and strengthened far-right parties in France, Germany, Italy, and elsewhere. Both concerns are serious, but admittedly less so for the United States. (…) As far as U.S. interests go, the significance of the crisis in the Sahel ultimately depends on how much one values having friends and allies, and how much one equates their stability with the well-being of the United States. Not caring about Ghana's fate is deplorable but understandable; not caring about France is at best reckless."

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"Al Qaeda Is Ready to Attack You Again"

Colin P. Clarke und Charles Lister von der RAND Corporation analysieren die Hintergründe der Verlagerung des strategischen Schwerpunkts der Al-Qaida nach Syrien. Trotz des dort demonstrierten neuen Pragmatismus auf lokaler Ebene strebe die Terrororganisation weiterhin Anschläge gegen Ziele im Westen an. "Eighteen years have passed since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and al Qaeda is worse for the wear. The terrorist organization looks remarkably different today than the group that killed thousands of U.S. citizens on American soil. Intensive counterterrorism pressure in Afghanistan and Pakistan has left behind an aging and increasingly disconnected central leadership. The emergence of the Islamic State as a peer competitor, meanwhile, has left al Qaeda with a brand that, at times, has struggled to compete for global jihadist primacy."

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"An Attack Against Them All? - Drivers of Decisions to Contribute to NATO Collective Defense"

Anika Binnendijk und Miranda Priebe haben in einer Studie für die RAND Corporation untersucht, unter welchen Umständen NATO-Staaten im Falle eines russischen Angriffs gegen Bündnispartner im Baltikum tatsächlich den Bündnisfall ausrufen und sich einem militärischen Gegenschlag anschließen würden. In der Zusammenfassung der Studienergebnisse heißt es: "Public opposition could restrain national leaders from participating in an operation to counter Russian aggression, but other domestic factors, such as elite consensus and an electorally secure governing coalition, might overcome public opposition. Countries that perceive Russia as ambitious, opportunistic, or threatening to their homeland are more likely to participate, while members with favorable views of Russia or lower threat perceptions are more likely to worry about Russian economic or military retaliation. Countries that place the greatest value on NATO's continuity are more likely to participate. However, allies are less likely to join if other major allies — particularly the United States — do not participate, if they perceive allies' goals as diverging from one another, or if they are not confident in their ability to restrain other allies from unnecessarily escalating a conflict with Russia."

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"Defining and Understanding the Next Generation of Salafi-Jihadis"

Eine neue Studie der RAND Corporation hat sich mit dem möglichen Einfluss radikalislamischer Ideologien in der zwischen 1997 und 2012 geborenen "Generation Z" beschäftigt. "As the first members of Generation Z, or Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2012), enter adulthood, how might Salafi-jihadism manifest differently in Gen Z than in previous generations? How will the political upheavals of the Middle East, socioeconomic trends throughout the Muslim world, and rising digital connectivity affect susceptibility to radicalization in Gen Z? In this Perspective, the authors explore the unique characteristics and expected drivers of Salafi-jihadism in Gen Z, elucidate potential threats and challenges from the next generation of Salafi-jihadis, and put forward recommendations for counter violent extremism programming to address the future threat. A review of the literature suggests that many of the overarching factors that drove past generations of Salafi-jihadis will remain salient in the coming generational cohort, although the manifestations of these factors will vary across localities. However, Gen Z's unprecedented familiarity with and connection to the internet and modern technology differentiate these members from previous Salafi-jihadis and portend an adaptive, tech-savvy future terrorist threat."

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"Russia Is a Rogue, Not a Peer; China Is a Peer, Not a Rogue"

James Dobbins, Howard J. Shatz und Ali Wyne empfehlen der US-Regierung in diesem Forschungspapier, China und Russland als unterschiedliche strategische Herausforderungen zu behandeln. "Russia and China represent distinct challenges to U.S. national security. Russia is not a peer or near-peer competitor but rather a well-armed rogue state that seeks to subvert an international order it can never hope to dominate. In contrast, China is a peer competitor that wants to shape an international order that it can aspire to dominate. Both countries seek to alter the status quo, but only Russia has attacked neighboring states, annexed conquered territory, and supported insurgent forces seeking to detach yet more territory. Russia assassinates its opponents at home and abroad, interferes in foreign elections, subverts foreign democracies, and works to undermine European and Atlantic institutions. In contrast, China's growing influence is based largely on more-positive measures: trade, investment, and development assistance. These attributes make China a less immediate threat but a much greater long-term challenge."

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"Four Problems on the Korean Peninsula"

Eine neue RAND-Studie warnt in einer Analyse der komplexen Sicherheitslage auf der koreanischen Halbinsel vor den Folgen eines ungebremsten Ausbaus des nordkoreanischen Atomwaffenarsenals. Dabei weisen die Autoren auf vier nach wie vor ungelöste Probleme hin: "Problem 1: North Korea is on a trajectory of nuclear development that has transformed it into a fundamentally different kind of strategic challenge — a state with a significant nuclear arsenal, an increasing range and number of delivery systems, and a nuclear doctrine of early or even preemptive use. Problem 2: North Korea has medium- and long-range artillery that can hold South Korean population centers hostage to a massive conventional and chemical barrage. Problem 3: If North Korea employs chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons or conventional artillery against Seoul, up to 25 million South Koreans, 1 million Chinese, and 500,000 other foreign citizens — including 150,000 Americans — might be in immediate danger. This could trigger mass panic and prompt a massive civilian evacuation of Seoul and other population centers. Problem 4: A regime collapse could occur with little warning and have disastrous implications. Possible consequences include a civil war; a massive humanitarian crisis; and the potential for the theft, proliferation, and use of North Korea's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons."

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"Trends in the Draw of Americans to Foreign Terrorist Organizations from 9/11 to Today"

Heather J. Williams, Nathan Chandler und Eric Robinson haben in dieser empirischen Studie für die RAND Corporation untersucht, welche US-Bürger sich in den vergangenen Jahren radikalislamischen Terrorgruppen angeschlossen haben. "The portrait that emerges from our analysis suggests that the historic stereotype of a Muslim, Arab, immigrant male as the most vulnerable to extremism is not representative of many terrorist recruits today. Instead, recruits are more likely to be Caucasian/white or African American/black; they are more likely to be U.S. born; and they are more likely to have converted to Islam as part of their radicalization process. Although they are still primarily male, they are increasingly likely to be female. And, perhaps most important, at present they are more likely to be drawn to or influenced by ISIL rather than al Qaeda or its affiliates during their process of radicalization and journey to terrorism. The core question driving this study initially was to examine empirically whether ISIL has been more successful than al Qaeda in recruiting Americans, in part because it was reaching a different demographic profile. Our data analysis implies the answer to that question is yes. But this finding begs another question: Why? Although identifying the underlying reasons behind these trends was beyond the scope of our primary research question, we offer some possible explanations and contributing factors that could be investigated more systematically in future research."

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"Taking Stock of a Shifting World Order"

Ali Wyne schreibt in diesem Beitrag, der zuvor auch in der bpb-Veröffentlichung "Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte" erschienen ist, dass die heutige Krise der "liberalen Weltordnung" besser verstanden werden kann, wenn sie als Krise der von den USA geschaffenen Nachkriegsordnung analysiert wird. Dem aus seiner Sicht kaum aufzuhaltenden Niedergang dieses internationalen Systems müsse allerdings nicht zwangsläufig eine Rückkehr der 1930er Jahre folgen. "(...) the postwar order is eroding, but it would be premature to contend that we are returning to the interwar period, where there were countries, such as Japan and Germany, that were militarily and ideologically revisionist. In addition, the past 70 years have produced a range of multilateral institutions and supply chains that bind countries' fortunes together far more closely than ever before. 'Unlike in the 1930s,' Financial Times columnist Edward Luce reminds us, 'there is still a global order to defend.' Nor would it be accurate to suggest that we have entered into a new Cold War simply because great-power competition is becoming more salient. (...) No less the architect of containment, George Kennan, warned that America's post-Cold War foreign policy would run astray if it aimed to chart 'a highly unsettled and unstable world' by contriving a successor to its 'fixation on the Soviet Union.' In short, guidance on navigating today's uncertainty is wanting. It has often taken cataclysmic events to inaugurate new eras of geopolitical order — the Thirty Years' War, the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and the two world wars, for example. One hopes that the postwar order will instead be reinvigorated through farsighted statecraft."

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"China and the International Order"

Michael J. Mazarr, Timothy R. Heath und Astrid Stuth Cevallos haben in einer Studie für die RAND Corporation Chinas Position zur liberalen Weltordnung analysiert und kommen zu dem Schluss, dass Peking das bestehende internationale System weiterhin grundsätzlich unterstütze, aber künftig noch entschiedener größeren Einfluss fordern werde. "This report offers four major findings about the relationship of China to the international order. First, China's behavior over the past two decades does not mark it as an opponent or saboteur of the order, but rather as a conditional supporter. Since China undertook a policy of international engagement in the 1980s, the level and quality of its participation in the order rivals that of most other states. Second, looking forward, the posture China takes toward the institutions, norms, and rules of a shared order is now in significant flux; various outcomes — from continued qualified support to more-aggressive challenges — are possible. Third, partly because of this uncertainty, a strengthened and increasingly multilateral international order can provide a critical tool for the United States and other countries to shape and constrain rising Chinese power. Finally, modifications to the order on the margins in response to Chinese preferences pose less of a threat to a stable international system than a future in which China is alienated from that system."

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"Truth Decay"

Die RAND Corporation hat sich in einer neuen Studie mit dem Bedeutungsverlust von Fakten und Analysen im öffentlichen Diskurs in den USA beschäftigt. Die untersuchte Entwicklung hat demnach keineswegs erst mit Trump begonnen, sondern ist bereits seit 20 Jahren zu beobachten. "Over the past two decades, national political and civil discourse in the United States has been characterized by 'Truth Decay,' defined as a set of four interrelated trends: an increasing disagreement about facts and analytical interpretations of facts and data; a blurring of the line between opinion and fact; an increase in the relative volume, and resulting influence, of opinion and personal experience over fact; and lowered trust in formerly respected sources of factual information. These trends have many causes, but this report focuses on four: characteristics of human cognitive processing, such as cognitive bias; changes in the information system, including social media and the 24-hour news cycle; competing demands on the education system that diminish time spent on media literacy and critical thinking; and polarization, both political and demographic. The most damaging consequences of Truth Decay include the erosion of civil discourse, political paralysis, alienation and disengagement of individuals from political and civic institutions, and uncertainty over national policy."

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"How to Help Syrians — Without Helping Assad"

Die US-Regierung hat klar gemacht, dass sie sich am Wiederaufbau Syriens nach einem Ende des Krieges ohne einen Regimewechsel nicht beteiligen wird. Philip Gordon, James Dobbins und Jeffrey Martini zeigen Verständnis, warnen aber auch davor, dass eine ausbleibende Unterstützung für die vom IS befreiten Gebiete nicht nur zu einer erneuten Zunahme der Flüchtlingszahlen führen, sondern letztlich auch Russland und den Iran stärken würde. "How could the United States and others provide reconstruction assistance without legitimizing the Assad regime and its sponsors in Moscow and Tehran? We recommend a conditional, bottom-up approach, based on local elections to the communal councils that were called for in the Syrian constitution but never formed. The United States and its allies could offer to provide reconstruction assistance to any community that held internationally monitored local elections — as long as the resultant local council remained an effective partner in the delivery of this aid."

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"U.S. Helping Niger Halt Spread of Terror in Region"

Michael Shurkin verteidigt den Einsatz des US-Militärs in Niger, der seit dem Tod von vier US-Soldaten ins Licht der Öffentlichkeit gerückt und von einigen Beobachtern kritisch hinterfragt worden ist. "The wolves at Niger's heels, it is true, pose only a negligible direct threat to the U.S. It would be naïve, however, to believe that the region's slide into anarchy and the unchecked progress of violent Islamist groups do not matter to the larger world or to the U.S. Some of the terrorists in the region set their sights well beyond local borders and are keen on the larger, global jihad. In addition, the violence and instability they generate locally threaten the entire region and beyond. (...) Helping Niger (and France) should not be controversial. It is the right thing to do. Putting soldiers there, where they might come under fire, also should not be controversial."

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"How Salafism's Rise Threatens Gaza"

Der zunehmende Einfluss dschihadistischer Gruppen in Gaza könnte den aktuellen Annäherungskurs zwischen der Fatah und der Hamas zum Scheitern bringen, warnt Colin P. Clarke. "Although these groups have not traditionally been a major force in Palestinian politics, this has changed in the past several years. (...) Reducing the threat posed by Gaza's Salafists will necessarily entail limiting the potential pool of recruits. The current generation of Gaza's youth has come of age during three successive wars with Israel; unemployment is rampant and hope is in short supply. These young Palestinians have been labeled 'the Hamas generation.' But if the economic situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate — resulting in part from an economic blockade enforced by Egypt — the young Palestinians may eventually become known as 'the Salafi generation.'"

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"When the Islamic State Comes to Town"

Eine neue Studie der RAND Corporation hat die schwerwiegenden wirtschaftlichen Folgen der Besatzung irakischer und syrischer Städte durch den "Islamischen Staat" untersucht. Im Durchschnitt sei die Wirtschaftsleistung der Städte um 23% eingebrochen, so ein Ergebnis der Analyse. "At times, ISIL was able to build a dense governing apparatus that helped maintain stable local commercial activity, particularly in its strategic capitals in Raqqah and Mosul. At other times, ISIL mismanaged key resources or sought to punish its citizenry rather than govern it. However, this report suggests that decaying economic conditions in ISIL-held territory are also a product of ISIL's inability to insulate its territory from opposing military forces. Outside pressure against ISIL successfully prevented the group from realizing its governing ambitions across significant parts of its caliphate, with major consequences for its ability to support functioning local economies."

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"'Game of Thrones' Dragons, Nuclear Weapons, and Winning Whatever the Cost"

Michael Shurkin meint, dass die populäre TV-Serie "Game of Thrones" trotz ihres grundsätzlichen Fantasie-Charakters Fragen über Macht und Krieg aufwirft, die auch in realen sicherheitspolitischen Debatten eine Rolle spielen. "Many critics have compared Daenerys' dragons to nuclear weapons, a comparison that author Martin and Matt Shakman, director of 'The Spoils of War,' have also made. Timothy Westmyer, a nuclear weapons expert, wrote a thoughtful article on the comparison in 2014 in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The comparison is easy to understand; dragons are a game changer for warfare in Westeros. But if Daenerys uses them to 'melt castles and burn cities,' as potential ally Jon Snow warns her against doing, there's no going back. As a military analyst and historian, I can see two sides to the issue — the argument for holding back out of some sort of humanitarian or political consideration, and the argument for doing whatever it took to bring conflict to a quick and decisive conclusion."

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"The U.S.-France Dustup Over Counterterrorism in the Sahel"

Michael Shurkin berichtet über einen Streit zwischen Frankreich und den USA in der UNO. Frankreich wolle mit Unterstützung der Afrikanischen Union in der Sahelzone eine 5.000 Mann starke regionale Antiterroreinheit errichten. "The U.S. along with the U.K. opposes France's resolution. The reasons are not entirely clear, though the French media singles out money: The Trump administration is keen on cutting the U.N.'s peacekeeping budget and does not want to pay for a new force. To this, we must add the administration's skepticism regarding the efficacy of multilateral operations in Africa, as well as the fact that the U.S. regards the capabilities of the African military in the Sahel as limited at best, despite the U.S. having spent millions of dollars for more than a decade trying to improve them. (...) What the clash in the U.N. shows is that it is time for Paris and Washington to get together — with the G5 nations, of course — and draft together a strategy for achieving shared objectives in the Sahel. The French cannot do it alone or even with the support of the G5. The U.S. would be penny wise but pound foolish to stay aloof or even just uphold the status quo."

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"The Limits of Going It Alone in Syria"

Über eine Woche nach dem amerikanischen Raketenangriff auf einen syrischen Militärflugplatz stellt Dalia Dassa Kaye fest, dass eine fundamentale Kehrtwende in der Syrienpolitik der US-Regierung trotz widersprüchlicher Aussagen einiger Offizieller bisher nicht zu erkennen sei. Realistische politische Ziele in Syrien könnten nur mit neuen diplomatischen Initiativen erreicht werden, so Kaye. "It will also be important to recognize that adversaries like Russia and Iran will not simply bend to U.S. demands because of an airstrike, and will remain critical to finding a political solution to end the Syrian war whether we like it or not. (...) Following military strikes with a concerted and sustained international effort is far more likely to achieve success, not to mention bring more legitimacy and resources to nonproliferation efforts. If the American unilateral strikes in Syria are not followed by such a sustained effort, future unconventional threats from Syria will likely resume. (...) So yes, cheer for the notion that war crimes should trigger a response. But temper expectations that a limited U.S. military strike can solve Syria."

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"Why a Dying Islamic State Could Be an Even Bigger Threat to America"

Seth G. Jones und James Dobbins erläutern, warum ein militärisch geschwächter "Islamischer Staat" für die amerikanische Sicherheit eine noch größere Bedrohung darstellen könnte. "Those foreign fighters that aren't killed will likely flee from Iraq and Syria, returning to their homelands, seeking refuge in other countries, or flocking to new jihadist battlefields. Islamic State supporters and leaders in Iraq and Syria will go underground, seeking to regroup and renew the fight by turning to guerrilla tactics. And the Islamic State will continue to orchestrate an ideological campaign on the internet and social media sites to inspire radicalization and encourage attacks. (...) If the Islamic State is to be defeated and stay defeated, military measures will need to be combined with economic, technical, and political assistance designed to improve state and local capacity. Popular grievances that have given rise to extremist movements need to be better addressed. These are not steps the United States should take alone, but Washington should lead in assembling and guiding donor coalitions working with each of the affected countries."

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"Maintaining Arctic Cooperation with Russia"

Trotz der aktuellen Konfrontation zwischen dem Westen und Russland empfiehlt die RAND Corporation in dieser Studie, die Kooperation mit Moskau in der Arktis weiter aufrecht zu erhalten. "This report examines potential transformations that could alter Russia's current cooperative stance there. It analyzes four current security challenges in the Arctic: increased maritime access because of climate change; increased interest in Arctic resources; upcoming decisions on claims set forward by several Arctic states regarding the limits of their continental shelf; and Russia's perception of a threat from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the Arctic. This report suggests some ways in which these could undermine Arctic cooperation. It concludes with recommendations for the U.S. government to manage the risks to cooperation posed by these various factors."

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"China's Opportunity — and Ours"

Seit dem Amtsantritt Donald Trumps sind die Warnungen vor einer offenen Konfrontation zwischen den USA und China wieder lauter geworden. Michael J. Mazarr von der RAND Corporation verweist dagegen auf eine Rede des chinesischen Präsidenten auf dem World Economic Forum in Davos, in der Xi Jinping die chinesische Bereitschaft zur Kooperation in einer regelbasierten Weltordnung betont habe. "Most initial reactions to Xi's statement were fairly skeptical, for good reason. But this new Chinese approach offers a critical opportunity for the United States to test China's willingness to serve as the co-sponsor of a stable world order. (...) The speech is an inspiring call for shared, equitable and sustainable growth under agreed international norms. Rather than scoffing at Xi's motives, the United States and its friends and allies could say: 'We take you at your word and welcome growing Chinese influence to promote these values within a shared order — but under specific conditions.' The idea would be to gradually but more formally accept China as a leading co-sponsor of the world order, while using its emergence into that role as leverage to encourage and where necessary enforce key standards."

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A Peace Plan for Syria III

James Dobbins, Philip Gordon und Jeffrey Martini empfehlen der US-Regierung in diesem Strategiepapier der RAND Corporation, die Beendigung des Krieges in Syrien allen anderen Zielen, so auch dem Regimewechsel in Damaskus oder der regionalen Eindämmung Irans und Russlands, voranzustellen. "Continuing to pursue those goals unsuccessfully would be a recipe only for more, and more devastating, conflict, whereas doing 'whatever it takes' to achieve them would carry enormous costs and almost certainly result in unwanted and unintended consequences — including the likely escalation of the war, even greater refugee flows, and chaos instead of moderate governance in Damascus. The alternative we propose — an indefinite, national ceasefire; the emergence of a decentralized Syria based on agreed zones of control backed by outside powers; the delivery of significant reconstruction and humanitarian assistance; mutual prisoner releases; and agreement on a plan for the international administration of Raqqa province pending broader agreement on the country’s political future — offers no guarantees but provides a far more realistic way forward than any alternative."

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"War with China - Thinking Through the Unthinkable"

David C. Gompert, Astrid Cevallos und Cristina L. Garafola haben in dieser Studie für die RAND Corporation das "undenkbare Szenario" eines offenen Krieges zwischen den USA und China analysiert. "Premeditated war between the United States and China is very unlikely, but the danger that a mishandled crisis could trigger hostilities cannot be ignored. Thus, while neither state wants war, both states' militaries have plans to fight one. As Chinese anti-access and area-denial (A2AD) capabilities improve, the United States can no longer be so certain that war would follow its plan and lead to decisive victory. This analysis illuminates various paths a war with China could take and their possible consequences."

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"The Made-in-America Global Security and Economic System Still Serves U.S. Interests"

Howard J. Shatz und David A. Shlapak erinnern daran, dass das nach 1945 unter amerikanischer Führung geschaffene internationale Institutionengefüge nicht nur der globalen Sicherheit, sondern auch amerikanischen Interessen diene. Auch wenn die USA (z.B. in der NATO) oft den Hauptteil der Belastungen tragen, wäre der nächste US-Präsident ihrer Ansicht nach deshalb gut beraten, das System trotz seiner zahlreichen Mängel weiter zu stützen. "In the security sphere, it's true that the United States by most measures pays the lion's share for NATO's defense. But without NATO and America's web of Asian security partners, it is doubtful the United States would be able to achieve any important strategic goal as cheaply as it does now. After all, the only time the collective defense provision of the NATO treaty has ever been invoked was after 9/11, when U.S. allies responded in America's hour of need to help the United States. NATO forces fought, and died, alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan. American forces based on the territory of NATO allies have participated in every significant military action outside the Western Hemisphere since 1990, and bases in Europe—military hospitals in Germany and air bases in Turkey, for example—have been and remain critical to supporting counterterrorism operations throughout the Middle East and Central Asia."

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"U.S. More Able Than Ever to Combat Terrorism"

Trotz einiger Anschläge von Einzeltätern in diesem Jahr meint Brian Michael Jenkins, dass die US-Behörden gelernt hätten, die Terrorgefahr in den USA in den letzten Jahren deutlich zu senken. Bei Bombenexplosionen wie in New York und New Jersey handele es sich um vereinzelte Fälle eines "puren Terrorismus", die nie verhindert werden könnten. "Yet such attacks are statistically rare, representing a relatively tiny addition to the total volume of violent crime in the United States. Americans are safer now than they were in the immediate shadow of 9/11 when intelligence had failed and more 9/11-scale attacks were expected. Prompt military action to scatter al-Qaeda masterminds, massive investments in intelligence and unprecedented international cooperation degraded al-Qaeda's operational capabilities and rendered the terrorists' operating environment more hostile. Worst-case post-9/11 scenarios have not materialized. (...) many people would be surprised to learn that since 9/11, jihadist terrorists have killed fewer than 100 people in the United States."

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"A Persistent and Resilient Adversary: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula"

Die Terrororganisation "Al-Qaida auf der arabischen Halbinsel" habe nie den von Osama bin Laden vorgegebenen Weg, den weit entfernten Feind USA zu bekämpfen, verlassen, konstatiert Brian Michael Jenkins, leitender Berater des Präsidenten der RAND Corporation. "The United States views AQAP [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] as the most dangerous of al Qaeda's affiliates, yet its pursuit of the group has been inconsistent. Today, amid the tumult, the United States is backing Saudi Arabia in its efforts to prop up the beleaguered Yemeni government. At the same time, the United Arab Emirates has made modest progress as the leading U.S. ally in the fight against AQAP. Unlike al Qaeda's other affiliates, which have generally concentrated on local contests, AQAP, while engaging its foes in Yemen, has never abandoned Osama bin Laden's line of attacking the far enemy—the United States."

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"President Obama's Controversial Legacy as Counterterrorism-in-Chief"

Im Rand-Blog kommentiert Brian Michael Jenkins das Vermächtnis von US-Präsident Barack Obama im Kampf gegen den Terror. "While he will be judged in part for his domestic achievements during his eight years in office, the actions Obama took, and didn't take, in the realm of counterterrorism are a major component of his legacy. It is a controversial one. Critics have portrayed the president as weak, vacillating, overly cautious and unwilling to recognize the threat posed by radical Islamists — even resistant to uttering the term. This hesitation, critics charge, makes bad situations worse and encourages aggression by America's foes. Had the president moved more quickly to bring down the Assad regime in Syria or been less tentative in his support of Syria's rebels, ISIS would not have risen so forcefully, they claim."

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