RealClearPublicAffairs is a new series of sponsored curation designed to provide coverage of important and trending public policy issues. It's a deep dive into curated content that we think will engage our audience and deepen their understanding of topical concerns facing our nation's decisionmakers.

“America well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own…she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.” So cautioned John Quincy Adams on the Fourth of July in 1821.

Have generations of Americans since heeded the counsel of our sixth president?

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It’s been three-quarters of a century since the Axis powers were defeated, nearly 30 years since the Iron Curtain was lifted, and 19 years since terrorists weaponized planes on U.S. soil, killing nearly 3,000 Americans. Today, America is neither entrenched in a great war, nor frozen in the kind of nuclear game of chicken that induced Baby Boomers to undergo fire drills that had them hiding under their elementary school desks. We are not anticipating another 9/11-style terrorist attack.

Yet the U.S. military is still operating in 40 percent of the nations of the world. It is has been engaged in nation-building efforts in Afghanistan for the better part of two decades. Some $5.9 trillion has been spent to fight the “war on terror” in that time only to see the pool of jihadists grow ever-larger. Little wonder that nearly half of Americans believe U.S. foreign policy over the last 20 years has made the country less safe.

The newest addition to the RealClearPublicAffairs family seeks to address and answer the profound questions raised by this experience: Is there a realistic alternative to this expansive, global military footprint? Would a different approach better ensure America’s security and prosperity? If America cannot be the world’s policeman, what grand strategy should guide U.S. foreign policy? The mission of these pages is to provide a curated and serious examination of these vital questions.

RealClearPublicAffairs is a new series of sponsored curation designed to provide coverage of important and trending public policy issues. More About

Why Repealing the 1991 and 2002 Iraq War Authorizations Is Sound Policy

Bottom Line: Congress should repeal outdated authorizations of military force. Failing to do so weakens Congressional authority, does not advance U.S. security interests, and opens t...

A Survey of the Afghan People: Afghanistan in 2019

Bottom Line: While Afghanistan has persistent economic, social and security problems, optimism about the country’s future increased in 2019 as Afghans point to confidence in democrac...

Dealing With the Remnants of ISIS

Bottom Line: The United States no longer needs to deploy forces against ISIS, which it functionally defeated in 2019. It’s time for the United States to reevaluate its “priorities an...

Ineffective, Immoral, Politically Convenient: America’s Overreliance on Economic Sanctions and What to Do about It

Bottom Line: Sanctions are rarely effective, often counterproductive, and often have serious humanitarian costs. But domestic political interests make them a consistent feature of Am...

The Failure of Forcible Regime‐​Change Operations

Instead of promoting more democracy and advancing American security, forcible regime change undermines the effectiveness of other foreign policy tools. Such operations ultimately harm America’s ability to achieve its policy goals.

Afghanistan: The Limits of American Military Might

Our military-first approach has done more harm than good - at great cost to the U.S. and Afghans themselves.

Show Me the Money

In this episode, Chris Preble and Melanie Marlowe are joined by Thomas Spoehr of the Heritage Foundation to talk about President Trump’s FY2021 defense budget request

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Electronic cigarettes were a product a long time in the making, with many architects. The concept dates in a serious way to the 1920s; the first patents were issued to American inventor Henry A. Gilbert in the mid-1960s; in the late 1990s, former NASA engineer and microprocessor pioneer Phil Ray experimented with a new, non-smoking technology. Although Ray’s efforts didn’t go anywhere commercially, they did deliver the word “vape” to the lexicon.

The big breakthrough arrived 15 years ago. It was achieved by a Chinese chemist named Hon Lik, whose motivations were a combination of intellectual curiosity and entrepreneurial rewards -- and human welfare. Cigarette smoking had hastened his father’s death. Hon Lik had a heavy tobacco habit himself, and was experimenting with ways to quit.

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Public health is the dominant underlying context for the arrival of e-cigarettes. In the United States alone, they are credited with helping millions of people quit or reduce smoking cigarettes. According to a recent report from Public Health England, e-cigarettes are currently the most popular stop-smoking aid in England. American smoking rates continue to decline as well, according to the National Health Interview Survey, with the biggest drop among young adults.

A significant role in this success story is played by e-cigarettes, a product measurably safer than combustible cigarettes. Yet, the long and sometimes partisan tobacco wars took its toll on the U.S. media, which retains a residual skepticism of new products in the overall inhaling marketplace. The same is true among the American public. Two-thirds of adults think vaping is equally or more dangerous than smoking, for instance, a belief unsupported by the best available evidence.

This erroneous perception suggests a knowledge gap, one which these curated pages seek to address. Reasonable minds can differ on the public policy questions raised by vaping. What restrictions on market e-cigarettes are reasonable? Which are counterproductive? How can the government and the private sector maximize the health benefits of weaning smokers off tobacco without marketing vaping to young people who were non-smokers to begin with? The aim of these curated pages is to expose those who think critically to viewpoints they might otherwise not see–to give readers information necessary for informed judgments.

RealClearPublicAffairs is a new series of sponsored curation designed to provide coverage of important and trending public policy issues. More About

The Effects of E-Cigarette Taxes on E-Cigarette Prices and Tobacco Product Sales: Evidence from Retail Panel Data

Bottom Line: E-cigarette taxes raise e-cigarette prices, reduce e-cigarette sales, and increase sales of traditional cigarettes, which are a direct substitute of e-cigarettes. E-ciga...

Federal Health Agencies' Misleading Messaging on E-Cigarettes Threatens Public Health

Bottom Line: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are pursuing a political rather than a public health agenda by falsely claiming that e-ci...

Taxing Nicotine Products: A Primer

Bottom Line: Taxing e-cigarettes could be counterproductive to public health as there is consensus about the benefits of them as substitutes for non-combustible nicotine or tobacco p...

Policy Tip Sheet: Tobacco Harm Reduction 101: Alabama, California, Indiana, Massachusetts

Bottom Line: This series of economic and fiscal impact summaries of e-cigarettes in Alabama, California, Indiana, and Massachusetts reveal that vaping has created thousands of jobs a...

Vaping: What People Are Getting Wrong

A backlash against vaping is perpetuating myths about nicotine-based e-cigarette products that are not backed up by scientific research

How Vaping 'Might Just Save Your Life!'

In the panic to ban and regulate electronic cigarettes, media and politicians are ignoring the benefits of vaping.

The Truth About the Vaping Crisis

A recent outbreak of illness and death has gotten everyone’s attention — including late-to-the-game regulators. But would a ban on e-cigarettes do more harm than good?

Vaping May Be Unhealthy, But Banning Them Could Be Worse

Jacob Rich from Young Voices joined Jim Lokay on The Final 5 to talk about how a ban may be counterproductive, and what people should really know about vaping products

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Free speech, freedom of association, viewpoint diversity, and open inquiry--these principles are essential to the educational mission of the university, and to the health of civil society.

RealClearPublicAffairs' Free Speech on Campus page is designed to be the leading online forum where conversation on these critical issues can take place.

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In 1974, Yale University published a document officially titled the Report on the Committee of Free Expression at Yale. Widely known as the Woodward Report, after its chairman C. Vann Woodward, it contained this unequivocal line:

“The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.”

This was not a new insight. Although he died 150 years before the American Revolution, Francis Bacon hit unerringly on the requirements of a genuine education: reading, writing, and debate. Today, however, college campuses in the United States and much of the western world are replacing debate with coerced conformity. 

The result is an environment that once would have been considered an anathema to the very purpose of higher education: Rigorous exchanges of competing ideas have been replaced by university speech codes, constricted speech zones, commencement speaker “disinvitations, and “no-platforming,” which is university-speak for the heckler’s veto.

Some institutions are pushing back against this trend. By the summer of 2019, 67 U.S. institutions of higher learning had adopted the so-called “Chicago Statement” or a “substantially similar” statement guaranteeing freedom of speech on campus. That leaves nearly 1,600 schools that haven’t, including, ironically, Yale.

A majority of college students, according to a seminal Brookings Institution survey, do not fully support the precepts of the First Amendment; and one-fifth of them believe it’s acceptable to use physical force to silence a speaker who is making “offensive and hurtful statements.”

These students are tomorrow’s judges, jurors, legislators, journalists, and teachers. Operating under the conviction that freedom of speech is essential to the educational mission of the university, and ultimately to the survival of civil society, this page is designed to provide a platform for conversation on this critical topic.

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Entrepreneurship is the process of bringing an idea to life and sharing it in the marketplace. The principal sources of innovation and job creation are new, young, and growing companies, responsible for nearly all of the net new job creation in the U.S. economy. As a result, entrepreneurship cannot be considered an afterthought. Whatever one’s politics, it is a national priority.

Having finally recovered from the Great Recession, the national entrepreneurship rate is at its highest level in two decades. The purpose of this page to gather the best thinking on what can be done to keep it growing. Declines in entrepreneurship reduce productivity and job formation – and with them economic growth, wages, and living standards for all Americans.

Recent research suggests that policymakers seeking to promote entrepreneurship in their city or state achieve the best results when they turn from past strategies and embrace a new economic model that recognizes the changing nature of work and need for an educational system that supports it. Steve Jobs put this concept simply. “Let’s go invent tomorrow,” he said, “rather than worrying about what happened yesterday.”

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Creating an environment to encourage that quintessentially American approach to life means intelligently identifying and targeting existing barriers to entrepreneurship. These range from lack of access to capital and geographic concentration to racial and gender inequities. Americans have the fundamental right to turn an idea into an economic reality, regardless of who they are or where they're from, with zero barriers in the way. It’s our natural impulse, too, and in these pages, we will try and highlight best practices, success stories, and learned lessons that will light future innovators’ path.

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Proxy Advisor firm recommendations are important tools for institutional investors, particularly passive investors with hundreds or thousands of proxy shareholder votes to submit annually and an increasing pressure to reduce fees for clients. Despite having little regulatory authority, they have succeeded in gaining an outsized role in our corporate governance system, with huge influence over the future of America’s public companies and their shareholders. Despite this influence, proxy firms have been criticized on a number of other issues, including: 

  • Conflicts of interest that can impact the objectivity of voting recommendations made to institutional investors. 
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  • A one-size-fits-all approach to voting recommendations that ignores the unique characteristics and operations of individual companies. 

  • A lack of willingness to constructively engage with companies, particularly small and midsize companies that are disproportionately impacted by proxy advisory firms. 

  • A lack of transparency throughout the research and development of voting recommendations. 

  • Frequent and significant errors in analysis and an unwillingness to address errors.

In addition to fiduciary concerns, these issues are cited as a hurdle by businesses to going and staying public. Over the last 20 years, the number of public companies in the U.S. has fallen by roughly half. This jeopardizes economic growth and limits investment opportunities for retail investors who rarely have the chance to invest in innovative private companies.

Recently these problems with the proxy advisor industry have garnered the attention of U.S. and global regulators, Republican and Democrat members of Congress, institutional investors, academics, and others.

RealClearPublicAffairs is a new series of sponsored curation designed to provide coverage of important and trending public policy issues. More About