Baghdadi’s Death Will Make Global Affiliates More Independent

Baghdadi’s death could also lead to an uptick in Islamic State-inspired attacks in the near term, primarily as a reaction to the news that he was killed by U.S. special operations forces. But over the longer term, the death of Baghdadi could have an attenuating effect on the group’s inspirational pull, given the way that Baghdadi specifically resonated with legions of supporters throughout the West and the broader Islamic world. Previous announcements of his death never had this effect, but mostly because these rumors were squashed relatively soon after they spread.

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Colin P. Clarke — RAND

Politics in India—Not Business as Usual


View from the US.

Worsening matters, the media has struggled to play an impartial role in the face of religious polarization. India ranked 138th of 200 countries in the annual World Press Freedom Index 2018 rankings. A sting operation against large media houses by a small media group, Cobrapost, exposed some potentially alarming findings in its latest release on May 26th. Code-named “Operation 136” (so-named after India’s rank in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index), the sting operation appeared to show that the business operations of several of the country’s largest media houses were ready to accept funding for advertising religion-based political ideologies of groups. In some cases, these media houses seemed even open to influencing their reporters into incorporating such polarization into editorial content. Needless to say, both activities, if proven true, run afoul of Indian law.

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Rafiq Dossani — RAND

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Why Unretirement Is Working for Older Americans


It is difficult to adjust to life post retirement. Keeping yourself occupied in ways you find meaningful helps.

Older workers are more likely to be in management, legal, and community or social service work than their younger peers, according to the Pew Research Center. They are more than twice as likely to be self-employed as midcareer workers (16 percent versus 7 percent), according to a 2013 study in The Gerontologist. This jibes with a National Bureau of Economic Research report that suggests older workers are more likely to participate in “alternative work arrangements” like consulting, freelancing, and on-call work than their younger counterparts (24 percent versus 14 percent).

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Melissa Bauman — RAND

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What Were China’s Objectives in the Doklam Dispute?


A third party perspective on the Doklam dispute between India and China.

If China regards Doklam as a success, it may be tempted to reuse the same template elsewhere, whether at an atoll in the Pacific or at a copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. That is why Washington mustn’t relax now. It should pay close attention to the aftermath of the dispute, which is the most serious Sino–Indian confrontation in a generation. Although troops are backing off their mountain-top positions, only time will tell whether their rumblings have actually subsided or rather, created the conditions for an avalanche.

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Jonah Blank — RAND

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America and the World Are at a Crossroads


The “end of history” that [Francis] Fukuyama contemplated as the Cold War was winding down seems in retrospect to be something of a quaint dream. Instead of the democratic peace that many thought so possible, it is looking more like a dim and distant hope. Populism is clearly on the march, here in the United States and across the globe. Many of the certainties of even the recent past seem much less so now. Including the idea of the United States maintaining a leadership role in the world.

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Andrew R. Hoehn — Rand

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