Congressional Research Service. August 26, 2014.

On September 4-5, the leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) 28 member
states will meet in Wales for the alliance’s 2014 summit. This will be their first meeting since
Russia began providing large-scale military support to separatist forces fighting in Ukraine, and
their last before the planned completion by the end of 2014 of NATO’s mission in Afghanistan,
the longest and most ambitious operation in NATO history. As such, some analysts portray the
summit as an opportunity to consider a possible strategic shift for NATO, away from the broad,
“out of area” focus embodied by the Afghanistan mission, toward a more narrow focus on
territorial defense and deterrence, largely in response to a resurgent Russia. Although the allies
are considered unlikely to make such decisive declarations, summit deliberations are expected to
center on responding to Russian aggression in Ukraine and elsewhere in the region. [PDF format, 17 pages].

Pew Research Internet Project. August 26, 2014.

A major insight into human behavior from pre-internet era studies of communication is the tendency of people not to speak up about policy issues in public, or among their family, friends, and work colleagues, when they believe their own point of view is not widely shared. This tendency is called the “spiral of silence.” Some social media creators and supporters have hoped that social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter might produce different enough discussion venues that those with minority views might feel freer to express their opinions, thus broadening public discourse and adding new perspectives to everyday discussion of political issues. [Note: contains copyrighted material]. [PDF format, 44 pages].

Center for Global Development. August 21, 2014.

Opinion polls on global warming haven’t been much help in pressing for action to reduce climate change risk, in part because polls consistently show that many respondents are uninformed of, doubt, or outright reject climate science. Politicians take these results as reason to avoid tackling a complex problem, and public debate revolves around whether to take action rather than what action to take. Deliberative Polling addresses this pair of problems, lack of knowledge and thoughtfulness on one hand and lack of representativeness on the other, in a manner that is especially well suited to ascertaining public preferences about complex issues such as climate change. The essay explains how Deliberative Polling works and offers examples of how it has led to unexpected policy successes. [Note: contains copyrighted material]. [PDF format, 5 pages].

Congressional Research Service. August 20, 2014.

This report surveys existing law for legal issues that have arisen, or may arise in the future, on account of climate change and government responses thereto. The report takes as its point of departure the current scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and, to the degree it continues, will cause sea level rise and extreme weather events. Inclusion of some legal issues was based further on the predominant scientific view that human activities are contributing to climate change. [PDF format, 42 pages].

The Brookings Institution. August 19, 2014.

Robert Einhorn served as the Secretary of State’s Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control from 2009 to June 2013. In that capacity he helped craft the Obama administration’s diplomatic strategy on Iran and participated in negotiations between the P5+1 and Tehran. [Note: contains copyrighted material]. [HTML format].