Research Briefs


Testimony on Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

“The Muslim Brotherhood is a religious organization and political party in a poor, dependent country. Nothing more, nothing less. It is not particularly friendly to American power or culture, but neither is it in a position to threaten either of these things. It has a vision for Egypt that we might consider retrograde, but it claims to want to achieve this vision through the electoral process, and so far its behavior has borne this out. Whether Egyptians will be receptive to the Brotherhood’s agenda is an open question, but evidence from previous elections reveals that Egyptians have a wide range of political preferences and affiliations and the Brotherhood cannot claim to represent a majority of them. My belief is that we should be concerned less with gauging the Muslim Brotherhood “threat” than with helping to ensure that Egypt’s democratic institutions are healthy, durable, and invulnerable to any group (Islamist or not) that may try to subvert them.”

Tarek Masoud, Testimony on Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

U.S. Math Performance in Global Perspective

“The percentages of high-achieving math students in the U.S.— and most of its individual states — are shockingly below those of many of the world’s leading industrialized nations. Results for many states are at the level of developing countries. In sum, the U.S. trails other industrialized countries in bringing its students up to the highest levels of accomplishment in mathematics. It is not a story of some states’ high performance being offset by the low performance of other states. Nor is it a story of immigrant or disadvantaged or minority students hiding the good performance of better-prepared students. Comparatively small percentages of white students in the states achieve at a high level. And only a small proportion of the children of our college- educated population is equipped to compete with students in a majority of OECD countries.”

Paul Peterson, U.S. Math Performance in Global Perspective

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The Military Interventions We Don’t Plan For — Those to Protect Civilians

“Unlike battles to win territory, efforts to save civilians cannot be refought,” writes Sarah Sewall in a Washington Post op-ed with retired Marine general Anthony Zinni. “Failure is permanent.” But military planners resist thinking about or planning military interventions aimed at protecting civilians, despite the history of these interventions in places such as Somalia and the Balkans. “No one argues that planning for wars makes them more likely. Yet this seems to be the underlying reason for the military’s allergy to planning for civilian protection. U.S. armed forces should start treating civilian protection missions as seriously as they take wars. It’s only prudent to study mass-atrocity response operations, plan for them and, perhaps most important, conduct exercises with the civilian leaders who would make decisions about potential interventions. . . . Military planners like to say that hope is not a strategy. Neither is denial.”

Sarah Sewall, The Military Interventions We Don’t Plan For — Those to Protect Civilians

Deliberative Polling as the Gold Standard

“In the larger sphere of public ‘will-formation,’ deliberative polls have an important role right now, in places in the deliberative system that are not binding but generate important signals for both elected representatives and the public at large. Although these deliberations are short and cannot encompass the detail that the elected representatives and appointed members of government who specialize in these matters can master, they go way beyond anything we have had before in depicting what the larger public, given good conditions for deliberation, would think. It will take a while for the public and for the deliberative system as a whole to give deliberative polls the credibility and the respect that they deserve. When they earn that respect, as I hope and believe they will, this new institution will be a boon to democracy, in underscoring the intelligence and capacity of the citizenry, in giving the citizens involved the experience of responsibility for others, and in guiding the policy toward better outcomes.”

Jane Mansbridge, Deliberative Polling as the Gold Standard

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