• NATORecord Number of NATO Allies to Hit 2% Defense Spending Goal

    By Henry-Laur Allik

    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has announced that more NATO member states than originally expected were set to fulfill the 2% target of GDP defense spending this year. The NATO defense investment target was agreed upon in 2014. Across the alliance, all member states aside from Slovenia and Italy have upped their defense budget.

  • NATOJoining NATO Binds Countries to Defend Each Other – but This Commitment Is Not Set in Stone

    By Dan Reiter and Brian Greenhill

    At the root of debates over policy toward alliances such as NATO is the assumption that NATO requires its members to step in and help with defense if another member of the alliance is attacked, but it is important to understand that, in reality, alliance agreements are more flexible than people think. In practice, it is possible for the U.S. and other Western countries to stay out of a conflict that involves a NATO country without having to break their alliance commitments.

  • NUCLEAR WEAPONSRole of Nuclear Weapons Grows as Geopolitical Relations Deteriorate: SIPRI

    The nine nuclear-armed states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and Israel—continued to modernize their nuclear arsenals and several deployed new nuclear-armed or nuclear-capable weapon systems in 2023.

  • NUCLEAR WEAPONSGlobal Annual Nuclear Weapons Spending in 2023: $91.4 Billion

    In 2023, the nine nuclear-armed states spent a combined total of $91,393,404,739 on their arsenals – equivalent to $2,898 a second. A new report shows that $10.7 billion more was spent on nuclear weapons in 2023 than in 2022.

  • TERRORISMHow Much of a Threat Does Hamas Still Pose to Israel?

    By Bruce Hoffman

    In 1969, at the height of the United States’ war in Vietnam, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger famously wrote, “The guerrilla wins if he does not lose. The conventional army loses if it does not win.” Israel is arguably in the same situation now.

  • DOMESTIC TERRORISMModern-Day Outlaws, “Sovereign Citizens” Threaten the Rule of Law

    By Christine Sarteschi

    The FBI considers sovereign citizens a domestic terrorism threat. My research into sovereign citizens has found they have long been active in the U.S. and other countries. At the core of their beliefs is the denial of the government’s legitimacy. They commonly do not register their vehicles, acquire driver’s licenses or car insurance, or pay taxes. And they pose a significant threat to the public.

  • ELECTION INTEGRITYElection Administration Performance Linked to Counties’ Economic, Racial Makeup

    By Sara Zaske

    “The federal government and states may set general directives about how elections are to be administered, but a lot of those actions are carried forth by county-level governments.,” says Professor Michael Ritter, lead author of a new study on election administration.

  • THE RUSSIA CONNECTIONEuropean Populists Back Putin as They Roll Out Their Anti-Ukraine Positions

    By Natasha Lindstaedt

    Vladimir Putin looks to be a big winner from the populist far-right gains in the recent European Parliament election. Russia inspires, encourages and funds extremist actors because they can disrupt democratic, liberal Western countries – and the more authoritarian the world is, the less likely it is that democratic voices within Russia will be supported by other nations. The rise of the populist far right is further evidence of not just the genuine angst brewing over cost of living and identity issues, but also of Russia’s expertise in psychological and information warfare.

  • ELECTION INTEGRITYVoter Advocacy Groups Ask Feds to Step in After Texas Allowed Some Voters’ Ballots to Be Identified

    By Natalia Contreras

    The request comes as state and local officials undermined ballot secrecy in their bids for election transparency. After Texas lawmakers changed several laws to increase transparency, researchers demonstrated that the secret choices voters make in the voting booth can be identified using public, legally available records.

  • WATER SECURITY‘Time for a Reckoning.’ Kansas Farmers Brace for Water Cuts to Save Ogallala Aquifer.

    By Kevin Hardy and Allison Kite

    in this region of Kansas where water is everything, they’ll have to overcome entrenched attitudes and practices that led to decades of overpumping. After decades of local inaction, Kansas lawmakers are pushing for big changes in irrigation.

  • CHINA WATCHIs China Exporting Its Political Model To The World? A New Report Says Yes.

    By Reid Standish

    Debate has raged for decades over whether Beijing is actively exporting its authoritarian system abroad, but a new report based on a trove of previously unexamined government documents shows how China is experimenting with spreading its model to other countries.

  • DISINFORMATIONBanning Fake News Traffickers Online Improved Public Discourse

    When Twitter banned more than 70,000 traffickers of false information from its platform in the wake of the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the impact went beyond the silencing of those users. A new study found that the crackdown by Twitter also significantly reduced the number of misinformation posts by users who stayed on the platform but had been following those who were kicked off.

  • DISINFORMATIONJoint Efforts Needed to Combat Disinformation

    By Janosch Delcker

    The spread of fake news is destabilizing societies and fueling anti-democratic movements around the world. Collaborative efforts are needed to tackle the problem, says a new report.

  • AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWALFormer CENTCOM Commander: President Picked ‘Worst’ Choice in Afghanistan Withdrawal

    By Carla Babb

    President Joe Biden picked the “worst of all possible worlds” when deciding how to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, the former commander who oversaw the U.S. withdrawal there told VOA.

  • CLOAK & DAGGERSpies Are Not Who You Think They Are

    By Tony Ingesson

    For the vast majority of the public, their perception of intelligence work has been shaped by the ever popular genre of spy fiction – Ian Flemin’s invention, James Bond, is but one example. This archetype, familiar from spy novels, films, and TV series, is completely misleading, and at the same time not entirely removed from the truth.