Blog

The Democrats Directing Foreign Policy

Posted: 10th September 2012
By: CHRIS
 The Democrats Directing Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy magazine recently published an impressive list of what it describes as the 50 most powerful Democrats on foreign policy. There’s quite a bit to sift through in this list from the varying levels of administrative access to knowledge specialization to political loyalties.

One starts to wonder, what can we learn by looking at the affiliations and actions of this group described by online media? Are there recognizable trends for the group in aggregate or distinctions that can be identified for particular individuals?

What we’ve done to test this hypothesis is use Recorded Future’s index of events extracted from thousands of online media channels to take the first twenty people from FP’s list and explore:

Where They Are Traveling

What Issues Are They Discussing?

With Whom Are They Meeting?

News Analysis Findings

What is immediately evident from the visualizations? The map of expected travel events for this group during the next 60 days show that China and the Middle East (particularly issues concerning Israel and Egypt) are high priority at least with regards to publicly visible events.

The word cloud derived from quotations made during the last two weeks by any of these 20 key figures confirms several of the subjects in the travel map, but also describes high impact current events – Syria and Turkey, the party conventions, and drones in Pakistan. The network shows that two figures – Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta – really dominate the media’s portrayal of foreign policy issues whether it properly reflects their internal influence or not.

What’s the Idea?

Examining the actions and reporting on this group of leaders in aggregate helps better understand policy plans and the strategic importance of particular global initiatives. We’ve conducted similar experiments on the actions of an individual, see the analysis of Mitt Romney’s campaign language, and on isolated sets of documents, see our work on the Bin Laden letters released earlier this year by the Counterterrorism Center.

Leave us a comment detailing other groups that you’d like to see detailed on this blog or stop by Recorded Future and sign up for free to conduct similar analysis.