Scott Warren Harold

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Associate Director, Center for Asia Pacific Policy; Political Scientist; Faculty Member, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Washington Office


Ph.D., M.A. in political science, Columbia University; B.A. in international relations, Michigan State University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Scott Warren Harold is associate director of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy, a political scientist at the RAND Corporation, and a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. He specializes in Chinese foreign policy, East Asian security, and international affairs.

Prior to joining RAND in August 2008, Harold worked at the Brookings Institution's John L. Thornton China Center from 2006 to 2008. In addition to his work at RAND, Harold is an adjunct professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where he has taught since 2006. He has also taught Chinese politics at Columbia University.

Harold is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations from 2012 to 2017. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. His doctorate is in political science from Columbia University, where he wrote a thesis on China's foreign policy decisionmaking with respect to joining the World Trade Organization.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Adjunct Professor of Security Studies, Security Studies Program, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Recent Projects

  • China and Iran: Economic, Political, and Military Relations
  • China's Expanding Role in Global Mergers and Acquisitions Markets
  • New Opportunities and Challenges for Taiwan's Security

Selected Publications

Scott Warren Harold, Alireza Nader, China and Iran: Economic, Political, and Military Relations, RAND Corporation (OP-351), 2012

Scott W. Harold, "Ieodo as Metaphor?" Asian Perspective, 36(2), 2012

Scott W. Harold, ed., "Special Issue: The Modernization of the People's Liberation Army and Its Implications," China Perspectives, 4, 2011

Scott W. Harold, Cheng Li, "China's New Military Elite," China Security, 2007

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Asia News Weekly; BBC World Service; Huffington Post Live; John Batchelor Show; Voice of America


  • U.S. President Barack Obama reviews an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan, April 24, 2014

    Obama Should Visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    During his upcoming visit to Japan, President Obama will have an opportunity to do something that none of his predecessors have ever done: visit the first and last cities to suffer atomic bombings.

    Apr 28, 2016 Newsweek

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe  for a State Dinner in their honor at the White House in Washington

    Shinzo Abe Visit Caps New Dawn in U.S.-Japan Relations

    A shift toward “collective self-defense” will allow Japan to take joint military action with its allies even when it is not directly attacked and thereby participate in security measures beyond its borders. Prime Minister Abe's trip to Washington this week is intended to cement Japan's deepening bilateral security alliance with the U.S.

    Apr 30, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • Pro-democracy lawmakers protest as Li Fei (on screen), deputy general secretary of the National People's Congress standing committee, speaks during a briefing session in Hong Kong Sept. 1, 2014

    Big Trouble in Little China

    As China's central government and Hong Kong residents consider next steps after last week's decision on the 2017 chief executive election, they will do so against a background of deteriorating trust, declining social acceptance of integration, and a worsening of relations between Hong Kong and mainland Chinese society.

    Sep 9, 2014 Foreign Affairs

  • Chinese naval soldiers stand guard on China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning

    Thoughts on China's New Air Defense Zone Policy

    In response to an inquiry from The Nelson Report, RAND's Scott Harold offered some thoughts on China's new air defense zone policy and how Japan and South Korea could be brought closer together by their respective responses.

    Dec 4, 2013 The RAND Blog

  • Secretary Kerry Meets With South Korean President Park Geun-hye

    Obama-Park Summit a Critical Opportunity for the US-Korea Alliance

    To preserve and protect the peace and freedom that has seen Asia develop into a third engine of the global economy, the United States and South Korea should take steps to deepen their security cooperation in three areas: bilateral alliance management, defense force modernization, and improved regional diplomatic coordination.

    Apr 18, 2013 PacNet, CSIS and Asia Times

  • a handshake

    A Russia-China Alliance Brewing?

    Three major areas appear to have been the focus of Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin's recent summit: managing expectations about the relationship; expanding bilateral trade in energy and arms; and cooperation on international security affairs.

    Apr 12, 2013 The Diplomat

  • Senior members of the People's Liberation Army met the U.S. Pacific Command aircrews when they delivered relief supplies to the earthquake-stricken Sichuan province in May 2008

    China's Defense Spending Mystery

    China's decision to expand defense spending also carries clues about the Party's need to keep the military happy, the new leadership's confidence and new President Xi Jinping's ability to put his own stamp on policy from the start, writes Scott Harold.

    Mar 13, 2013 CNN

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

    What to Expect from Obama and Abe's U.S.-Japan Summit

    To make the meeting between President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe successful, Washington and Tokyo will need to gain greater clarity on three broad areas: security, trade, and common values, writes Scott Harold.

    Feb 22, 2013 U.S. News & World Report

  • President Barack Obama greets Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of Thailand during the ASEAN Summit in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Nov. 18, 2011.

    Obama Trip Could Be Bellwether for U.S.-Asia Relations

    Specific areas of focus for President Obama's visit are likely to include expanding trade and investment opportunities for U.S. businesses in Southeast Asia, increasing defense cooperation with Thailand, and offers of disaster recovery assistance to Burma in the wake of its recent earthquake, writes Scott Harold.

    Nov 15, 2012 and

  • Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta shakes hands with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping prior to a meeting in Beijing China, Sept. 19, 2012

    Panetta Walks Fine Line During China Visit

    Panetta's visit should make clear that China's lawless domestic behavior will not be allowed to be repeated abroad, because if it is, it could lead to armed conflict between China and the U.S.-Japan alliance, writes Scott Harold.

    Sep 19, 2012

  • world map with China colored red like its flag

    Will China's Nationalism Come Back to Bite Leaders?

    It is possible that at some point, anti-Japan protests could slip beyond the regime's control, and Party leaders worry that mishandling such tensions could affect the regime's legitimacy—and ultimately erode its grip on power, writes Scott Harold.

    Sep 5, 2012 CNN

  • aircraft carrier USS George Washington

    Beijing Unflustered by Cool Ties With Seoul

    In light of deeply-rooted policy differences, so clearly on display in China’s treatment of South Korea over the past two years, no amount of tweaking around the margins of policy, inspired by internet polling, is likely to lead to dramatic improvements in the bilateral relationship.

    Aug 20, 2012 YaleGlobal

  • Questions After the First U.S. Bank Takeover by a Chinese State-Controlled Company

    In considering foreign application to acquire U.S. companies, the United States needs to consider both risks as well as benefits in both defense and economic dimensions, write Charles Wolf, Jr., Brian Chow, Gregory Jones, and Scott Harold.

    May 15, 2012 and