LSE Comment

In this section you can read recent expert commentary from LSE academics on important issues around American Politics and Policy. This section also contains reviews of recent books by LSE academics and book reviews from LSE staff and alumni.

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    A generous welfare state can help reduce unemployment – if there are good job opportunities for the jobless.

A generous welfare state can help reduce unemployment – if there are good job opportunities for the jobless.

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Are state unemployment benefits a safety net or a hammock for the lazy? In new research, Thomas Biegert explores the effects of benefits on job seekers in 20 European countries and the US. He finds that in some countries, generous benefits are linked with high unemployment rates, while in others, the opposite is the case. This difference, he […]

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    Nuclear weapons dominate North Korea’s foreign and domestic policy; diplomatic engagement is the only way to encourage regime change.

Nuclear weapons dominate North Korea’s foreign and domestic policy; diplomatic engagement is the only way to encourage regime change.

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Recent months have seen rising rhetoric between Washington DC and Pyongyang over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. But why is the North Korean regime so keen on developing such weapons? Vuk Vuksanovic argues that for North Korea’s Kim Jong Un nuclear weapons act as a deterrent to international intervention, an instrument of foreign policy, and as a way of […]

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    Trump’s return to ‘drug war’ rhetoric is unlikely to succeed in a region that has largely rejected its effectiveness

Trump’s return to ‘drug war’ rhetoric is unlikely to succeed in a region that has largely rejected its effectiveness

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Under Donald Trump, US federal drug policy has undergone a fairly dramatic reversal. The Obama administration’s criticisms of the ‘war on drugs’ are gone, replaced by a seeming return to eradication policies in key drug producer countries. John Collins, Executive Director of the US Centre’s International Drug Policy Unit, writes that the Trump administration’s return to unilateral aggressive supply […]

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    It’s not a lack of information that stops many Americans from adapting to flood risks; it’s a lack of cash.

It’s not a lack of information that stops many Americans from adapting to flood risks; it’s a lack of cash.

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The devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey on the south coast of the US have raised new questions about how Americans deal with flood risk. Drawing on her research on how New York responded to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Rebecca Elliott argues that giving people in flood prone areas more information about flood risk is not enough; policymakers […]

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    Trump’s response to Charlottesville and the web of disbelief

Trump’s response to Charlottesville and the web of disbelief

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In the aftermath of the Unite the Right march in Charlottesville which caused the murder of Heather Hayes, Donald Trump has issued contradictory statements. Diana Popescu argues that on top of the moral harm done by not condemning white supremacy unequivocally, Trump’s reaction to the events engenders an epistemic harm of further radicalising his supporters, widening the gap between […]

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    The extension and successes of California’s cap-and-trade programme suggests the future of US climate policy may not be so bleak

The extension and successes of California’s cap-and-trade programme suggests the future of US climate policy may not be so bleak

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Despite President Trump withdrawing from the Paris Agreement in June, Bob Ward highlights that an extension on California’s cap-and-trade programme represents a bipartisan demonstration of climate leadership and cause for optimism for future US climate policy.

California’s Governor and its lawmakers deserve praise for providing some rare good news from the United States about the fight against climate change.

On 17 […]

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    Visa overstayers in Northern Arizona reveal complex motivation behind undocumented migration

Visa overstayers in Northern Arizona reveal complex motivation behind undocumented migration

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Much of the media and public debate concerning immigration focuses on illegal border crossers. In this post, Susannah Crockford, who spent two years in Arizona completing ethnographic fieldwork, looks at the motivations behind people who overstay their visas. Unlike the common stereotype of ‘illegal immigrants’, many overstayers come from wealthy, ‘developed’ nations such as Canada and the UK, and […]

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    The Trump administration’s arguments for withdrawing from the Paris Agreement are based on flawed assumptions

The Trump administration’s arguments for withdrawing from the Paris Agreement are based on flawed assumptions

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The Trump administration is facing a key foreign policy decision: whether or not the United States should remain in the Paris Agreement on climate change. Bob Ward argues that the administration’s argument to retrench is based on flawed and false assumptions. The target set by the Obama administration as the contribution of the United States to the Agreement is […]

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    Why building a wall on the US-Mexico border is a symbolic monument, not sensible immigration policy

Why building a wall on the US-Mexico border is a symbolic monument, not sensible immigration policy

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One of Donald Trump’s signature policies is to “build a wall” in order to better secure the border with Mexico. Susannah Crockford has spent nearly two years in Arizona conducting an ethnographic study; many in the area feel that constructing the wall is unnecessary. She writes that the real function of the wall is not to keep people out, […]

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    Make America Cruel Again?: A pragmatic analysis of why torture does not work

Make America Cruel Again?: A pragmatic analysis of why torture does not work

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Jennifer Brown reviews some of the psychological evidence challenging the assumption that torture works as an interrogation technique. In light of Donald Trump’s recent comments on the use of torture, she suggests that the moral case is more effective in persuading people to oppose torture than pragmatic arguments.

‘Does it work? Does torture work?’ and the answer was ‘Yes, absolutely’. […]

This work by LSE USAPP blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported.