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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    Unlike Bush and Obama, Trump’s zero-sum worldview is severely hampering America’s counterterrorism efforts

Unlike Bush and Obama, Trump’s zero-sum worldview is severely hampering America’s counterterrorism efforts

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In his inaugural address in January, President Trump vowed to “eradicate completely… Radical Islamic Terrorism”. Jonny Hall writes that while Trump’s rhetoric against terrorism is not an enormous change from that of the Bush or Obama administration, what is very different is how Trump’s perspective informs American counterterrorism policy. Trump’s zero-sum worldview, he argues, largely ignores the ’causes’ of […]

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    Seattle’s public funding for candidates experiment may be both good and bad for democracy

Seattle’s public funding for candidates experiment may be both good and bad for democracy

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Next week sees Seattle residents go to the polls to elect a new mayor and City Councillors. Tory Mallett writes that what makes this election worth watching is that in Seattle, voters are able to ‘spend’ up to $100 on contributions to candidates’ campaigns via a property-tax funded voucher scheme. While the system may appear to enhance democracy by […]

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    Donald Trump’s interim Opioid Commission report did not mention drug courts. Here’s why that’s a positive step.  

Donald Trump’s interim Opioid Commission report did not mention drug courts. Here’s why that’s a positive step.  

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Last week, President Trump declared America’s opioid crisis to be a “public health emergency”, announcing measures to tackle the problem including expanding access to treatment. John Collins writes that, in a positive and perhaps surprising move, in its interim report, Trump’s Commission did not mention drug courts, a politically popular approach to tackling substance-abuse. He argues that drug courts, […]

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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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