Foreign Affairs


RAND's international affairs research comprises a range of cross-cutting issues, including global economies and trade, space and maritime security, diplomacy, global health and education, nation building, and regional security and stability. RAND also analyzes the policies and effectiveness of international organizations such as the UN, NATO, European Union, and ASEAN.

  • Meeting to discuss Iran nuclear deal at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne March 29, 2015, photo by Brendan Smialowski/Pool/Reuters


    The Days After a Deal with Iran

    Jul 14, 2015

    Now that a nuclear agreement has been struck, what will be the implications for U.S. regional strategy, Iran's own foreign policy orientation, the response from regional partners, the global non-proliferation regime, and the role of Congress in implementation of the agreement?

  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a news conference during a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels, February 5, 2015, photo by Francois Lenoir/Reuters


    NATO Needs a Comprehensive Strategy for Russia

    Mar 25, 2015

    Russia's intervention in Ukraine has shattered the vision of a stable, secure, and economically healthy Europe that's guided NATO and EU policy for two decades. NATO, working closely with the EU, needs to regain the initiative to proactively seek peace and stability in Europe and find a coherent, cohesive way forward.

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  • President Francois Hollande delivers a speech for the 70th General Conference of UNESCO in Paris, France, November 17, 2015


    France Is Right to Stay the Course

    President Hollande announced that 30,000 Syrian refugees would be welcomed in France, honoring the commitment France made to its European partners before the Paris attacks. Altering its policy would only give the terrorists what they want.

    Nov 25, 2015

  • A man applies a sticker which reads 100% electric next to the logo of the upcoming COP21 Climate Change Conference on a Nissan LEAF electric car in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, November 16, 2015


    COP 21 Not a Silver Bullet on Climate Change

    The Paris climate conference cannot provide the engine that will drive a solution to the world's climate change challenge. Rather, it can best serve as a mediator that will help guide and structure the swirling, bottom-up process of radical change that is the best hope of preserving Earth's climate.

    Nov 24, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Returns to Education in Developing Countries: Evidence from the Living Standards and Measurement Study Surveys

    This study uses 61 nationally representative household surveys from 25 developing countries between 1985 and 2012 to assess whether returns to education are systematically higher in developing countries.

    Nov 18, 2015

  • French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (L), French President Francois Hollande (C), French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (R), and students observe a moment of silence at the Sorbonne University, Paris, France, November 16, 2015


    Insights on the Paris Terror Attacks from RAND Experts

    RAND experts weigh in on what the wave of coordinated terror attacks across Paris means for France, the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, the global refugee crisis, and more.

    Nov 17, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R), and UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura address the media in Vienna, Austria, November 14, 2015


    Bosnia Was Hard, Syria Is Harder

    To find peace in Syria, cooperation among outside powers will be an essential first step. But before going forward, the great powers should soberly assess prospects for an enduring peace accord, as well as the resources required.

    Nov 16, 2015

  • Elementary students in a classroom with a teacher


    Implementing Education Reforms to Enhance School Performance

    Although countries differ greatly in how their education systems are structured, financed, and the extent to which they are centralized, they share common obstacles that undermine reform success. Beyond the obvious steps of providing adequate resources and professional development, there are ways to improve the implementation of school-wide reforms.

    Nov 13, 2015

  • Soledad O'Brien, Chuck Hagel, Michael Rich, and Michael Lynton at One Night with RAND, November 11, 2015


    What Is America's Role in the World?

    One Night with RAND brought together leaders in business, philanthropy, government, academia, and media for a discussion about the international strategic choices that will shape the U.S. role in the world for years to come.

    Nov 12, 2015

  • The remains of a Russian airliner that crashed are found near Al-Arish, Egypt, October 31, 2015


    Could the Russian Jet Crash in Egypt Prompt a Change of Direction for Putin and Russia?

    If ISIS was responsible for the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268, a Russian passenger jet, this may alter the strategic equation for Moscow.

    Nov 9, 2015

  • Portrait of young schoolboy leaning at desk with teacher teaching in background


    Understanding the Factors Associated with Academic Achievement

    RAND Europe and University of Cambridge researchers are seeking to determine how currently-available proxies for socio-economic deprivation compare to the rich measures of socio-economic circumstances in terms of their power to predict pupils’ achievement.

    Nov 9, 2015

  • Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani and U.S. President Barack Obama after their joint news conference in Washington March 24, 2015


    Saving Afghanistan: More Than Just Troops

    President Obama's decision to preserve troop strength in Afghanistan is a major step in the right direction. But his commitment to continued support for President Ghani and the national unity government as they pursue critical reforms will determine whether the U.S. troop commitment has any value.

    Nov 5, 2015

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks in Tehran after returning from the annual UN General Assembly, September 29, 2015


    The Impact of Sanctions Relief on Iran

    The Iran nuclear deal will provide Iran with significant sanctions relief and ease some of its economic stresses. But several factors will limit the regime's ability to grow the economy and use the new resources to achieve its foreign policy objectives.

    Nov 5, 2015

  • The Foreign Office building by Sir George Gilbert Scott, viewed from Horse Guards Road


    Cornish Supports 'Strengthening Britain’s Voice in the World'

    To remedy the growing imbalance between its spending on defence, development and diplomacy, the UK government must reverse cuts to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s budget, according to a Strategic Defence and Security Review to which Paul Cornish is a signatory.

    Nov 3, 2015

  • A money changer displays U.S. and Iranian banknotes at the Grand Bazaar in central Tehran, October 7, 2015


    Unlocking Iran's Economy

    While Rouhani and his team want Iran's gradual opening, reactionary forces aligned with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, much of the security establishment, and the clergy are likely to stand guard against “anti-revolutionary” tendencies and policies.

    Nov 2, 2015

  • A schoolgirl walks past damaged buildings in Maarrat al-Numan, Syria, October 28, 2015


    Partition Syria to Crush the Islamic State

    The Islamic State will never join in any settlement. Peace in Syria therefore requires that everyone else stop fighting each other and join in suppressing the Islamic State.

    Nov 1, 2015

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin at a session of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi, October 22, 2015


    The West Needs to Take a Tougher Line with Putin

    By responding more robustly to Russia's interventions, the West could reduce military asymmetries in Ukraine and Syria and improve prospects for negotiated outcomes.

    Nov 1, 2015

  • USS Lassen conducts exercises with Korean and Turkish navy ships


    How Will China Respond to Future U.S. Freedom of Navigation Ops?

    On October 27, the USS Lassen carried out the first freedom of navigation patrol to challenge China's territorial claims in the South China Sea. In assessing China's potential response to follow-on operations, the extremes of either complete inaction or a military attack can be ruled out.

    Oct 29, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with U.S. Marines during his visit to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad March 24, 2013


    Benghazi: Questions Unasked and Opportunities Missed

    Instead of asking whether a video precipitated the attack or whether Ambassador Stevens should have been in Benghazi on that fateful night, the right question to ask is under what conditions the United States should have a diplomatic presence in high-risk areas.

    Oct 22, 2015

  • People shopping at the electronic market outside The SEG Plaza, a skyscraper named after the Shenzhen Electronics Group, in Shenzhen, China, February 1, 2015


    How Do China's Philosophies Shape Its Policies?

    Outwardly, China is promoting a “new type of great power relations” between itself and the U.S., and a “community of shared interests” within Asia. Inwardly, it is guided by the “Chinese Dream,” a vision for increased prosperity, greater social stability, and a higher quality of life for its people.

    Oct 20, 2015

  • Staff raise Pakistan's flag in front of the Great Hall of the People ahead of a welcome ceremony for Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Beijing, July 5, 2013


    Pakistan and China's Almost Alliance

    Policymakers in the United States and throughout Asia should take note of why the Sino-Pakistani relationship has endured for so long, what each partner gets from the other, and what inherent limitations prevent the union from developing into a true alliance.

    Oct 16, 2015

  • Laborers carry bricks at a brick factory on the outskirts of Agartala, India, January 7, 2015


    Attacking Poverty Through Employability Interventions

    The UN's goal to end poverty is a worthy undertaking but less clear to policymakers is what the most efficient options are to reduce poverty through employment or training. An analysis of efforts in South Asia finds that investments in interventions that combine business training with financing could yield positive results.

    Oct 16, 2015