›January 21, 2016 // By Richard Cincotta
Venezuela seems suspended at a critical juncture. Following national elections in December, the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable was set to occupy two thirds of the 167-seat National Assembly, an upset that would reduce the late Hugo Chávez’s United Socialist Party to a distant second place for the first time and given opposition legislators the power to enact sweeping political changes.
›May 12, 2015 // By Richard Cincotta
Among the few bright spots in the 2015 Freedom in the World Report, the brightest may be Tunisia, which for the first time was assessed as “free” – Freedom House’s highest “freedom status” and for many political scientists the definitive indication of a liberal democracy. Tunisia is the only North African state to have been assessed as free since Freedom House began its worldwide assessment of political rights and civil liberties in 1972, and only the second Arab-majority state since Lebanon was rated free from 1974 to 1976.
›March 9, 2015 // By Schuyler Null
“Political demography is a discipline whose time has come,” said Rob Odell of the National Intelligence Council at a gathering of demographers and researchers in New Orleans. “You can sense this inherent dissatisfaction” with a lot of analytical and predictive tools in international relations, he said, and “political demography provides policymakers a way to think about long-term trends.”
Last week, the Islamic State’s ignorance of the role of demography in their local success may have led them to overplay their hand. Seeking to dissuade Jordanians from following their government in actively supporting the alliance arrayed against them, they executed a captured Jordanian pilot in horrendous fashion, burning him alive. Yet Jordan is not like Syria or Iraq, where violence against westerners or Shi’a or other minorities has helped split people from their allegiance to the government. Instead, this act of violence seems to have unified Jordan’s Sunnis against the Islamic State for their actions against a fellow Sunni Muslim. Jordan has expanded its assault, striking dozens of targets in Iraq for the first time.
“You can look into the future a couple decades and get a very good idea about where countries are going,” said Richard Cincotta during a presentation at the National Defense University last summer – at least when it comes to demography.
›April 28, 2014 // By Elizabeth Leahy Madsen
Democracy is fickle. Many of the competing theories on the best ways to foment and consolidate plural, inclusive governance or predict its rise and fall focus on political and economic forces. Yet a small group of demographers have explored population age structure as a catalyst for and reflection of a host of changes in societies that can affect governance.
›April 7, 2014 // By Richard Cincotta
Just months after popular uprisings toppled Tunisia and Egypt’s authoritarian regimes, a trio of complex-system researchers published a brief article linking these demonstrations with high levels of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s international Food Price Index. Marco Lagi, Karla Bertrand, and Yaneer Bar-Yam’s model, which predicts outbreaks of deadly social conflict when the index tops 210, has since become a popular explanation wielded by many for bouts of popular unrest, including the Arab Spring and overthrow of Ukraine’s government. But were food prices really an underlying “hidden” cause for the start of a wave of instability that is still being felt today?
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