International Diplomacy

Diplomacy, the practice of international relations, is an area in which RAND has significant research experience. Among RAND's many experts are former ambassadors whose research and commentary on both long-term efforts and current events shed light on how diplomatic ventures can be integral to national security goals and activities, including traditional military interventions, nuclear arms control, and nation-building efforts.

  • Wreckage from a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 plane that was downed in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, July 18, 2014

    Blog

    Like Flight 370, the MH17 Crash in Ukraine Could Remain a Mystery

    Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was reportedly shot down yesterday near the Russia-Ukraine border. But like Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished in March, what happened to MH17 is shrouded in mystery.

    Jul 18, 2014

  • Followers of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who fought U.S. troops under the banner of the Mehdi Army during the 2003-11 occupation, have returned as Sadr's new "Peace Brigades"

    Blog

    Iraq Makes Strange Bedfellows

    In seeking to quell the unrest in Iraq, the United States must balance its own interests with those of a diverse cast of players that includes Iraq, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, an unpredictable and violent jihadist front and others.

    Jul 15, 2014

  • A Free Syrian Army fighter throws a Molotov cocktail in West Aleppo December 2013

    Report

    Getting to Negotiations in Syria

    It appears that there is almost no prospect for a negotiated solution to the civil war in Syria in the near term. This is because the Syrian factions believe — perhaps rightly — that they have more to gain by carrying on the fight than by negotiating toward peace.

    Jul 14, 2014

  • t-call-experts-hr

    Multimedia

    Media Conference Call on Iran's Nuclear Program — U.S. Policy Choices and the Challenges Ahead

    RAND international security experts Lynn E. Davis and Alireza Nader hosted a media conference call on Monday, July 14, 2014 to discuss the July 20 deadline for the P5+1 (United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, Germany) to reach a deal with Iran on its nuclear program, and the policy choices confronting the United States should an agreement be reached. Media relations manager Joe Dougherty moderated the call.

    Jul 14, 2014

  • U.S. President Barack Obama announcing an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, November 23, 2013

    Blog

    How the United States Can Use Its Non-Military Power

    Because the United States has relied so heavily on force, we tend to equate it with power. Some results can only be achieved through force, but coercion can be an effective substitute. A superpower, by definition, has many options to have its way without always needing to send troops into battle—a smart superpower will use those options.

    Jul 10, 2014

  • Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks live on television after casting his ballot in the Iranian presidential election in Tehran June 12, 2009

    Blog

    Can U.S. and Iran Work Together in Iraq?

    The presence of Iranian and American troops in Iraq may necessitate clear and direct communications between the two sides, at least to prevent misunderstanding and greater chaos. But Washington should tread carefully and focus on nuclear negotiations for now.

    Jul 3, 2014

  • Members of Iran's Basij militia march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war, September 22, 2010

    Blog

    The Fallacy of Iranian Leverage

    Rather than helping Iran in the nuclear negotiations, Iran's battle against the ISIS could actually hurt it. The broader strategic dynamics were already working against Iran, and the situation in Iraq has only made that more true.

    Jun 27, 2014

  • Afghan security forces leave the site of burning NATO supply trucks after an attack by militants near the Pakistani-Afghan border, June 19, 2014

    Blog

    Is Afghanistan the Next to Crumble?

    Amid the stunning rout of Iraqi forces in northern Iraq, many have asked whether a similar reversal of American foreign policy goals is possible in Afghanistan. The answer is a qualified yes. Now is the time for the United States to understand Afghanistan's coming struggle, and to help Afghans build a path to stability.

    Jun 24, 2014

  • Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah holds up his ink-stained finger as he casts his vote at a polling station in Kabul June 14, 2014

    Blog

    Victory, Afghan Style

    A good outcome in Afghanistan seems less likely now than a few weeks ago, but there is still cause for guarded optimism: before this electoral season, few would have guessed that the final showdown would be between a pair of level-headed pro-Western moderates rather than two foul, bloodstained warlords.

    Jun 23, 2014

  • Volunteers, who have joined Iraqi security forces to fight against militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), gather in Najaf, June 18, 2014

    Blog

    Iraq Observations

    Will the Obama administration be blamed for losing Iraq if it does not order military intervention? Or will history judge the president wise for keeping U.S. forces out of war? As Americans debate assisting Iraq, including the possibility of military intervention, here are 10 things to keep in mind.

    Jun 19, 2014

  • View of Moscow Kremlin and Moscow River

    Blog

    Jeremy R. Azrael Scholarship Supports Students from Former Soviet States

    Jeremy Azrael was an expert on the Russian economy who devoted his career to promoting better understanding between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. A scholarship in his name supports a first-year Pardee RAND Graduate School student from a former Soviet state.

    Jun 19, 2014

  • Protesters outside Nigeria's parliament demand security forces search harder for the 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram

    Blog

    The Risks of Rescue

    As appealing as a successful mission to rescue the 200 school girls held hostage by Boko Haram in Nigeria might appear, the use of U.S. military assets to mount a rescue attempt would be a mistake.

    Jun 13, 2014

  • Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam at an interview with Reuters on May 22, 2014, where he demanded that China withdraw an oil rig off the coast of Vietnam in waters also claimed by Hanoi

    Blog

    China Unlikely to Blink in Maritime Dispute with Vietnam over Oil Rig

    Tensions are rising in the South China Sea, where China moved a state-owned oil rig, reportedly accompanied by six warships, into disputed waters last month, triggering anti-Chinese demonstrations in Vietnam that resulted in four deaths.

    Jun 12, 2014

  • t-call-experts-hr

    Multimedia

    Media Conference Call on the Growing Tensions in the East and South China Seas

    RAND Asia experts Andrew Scobell, David Shlapak, and Scott Harold hosted a conference call with national and international media on Wednesday, June 11 to discuss the growing tensions in the East and South China Seas. Media relations manager Joe Dougherty moderated the call.

    Jun 11, 2014

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani arrives at a news conference

    Report

    The Days After a Deal with Iran: U.S. Policies of Hedging and Engaging

    Is the emerging consensus on a set of policies toward Iran and U.S. regional partners the best approach? Or might these policies eliminate opportunities for the United States to alter the U.S.-Iran relationship — and potentially undercut support in Iran for the agreement?

    Jun 10, 2014

  • An Iranian flag flutters in front of the UN headquarters in Vienna June 17, 2014 as six world powers and Iran began their fifth round of nuclear negotiations

    Report

    The Days After a Deal with Iran

    An analysis of the possible effects on Iranian foreign policy stemming from a final nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 details Rouhani's likely hopes for a post-deal foreign policy, the domestic constraints on his goals, and how a final deal might affect Iran's relations with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and the U.S.

    Jun 10, 2014

  • U.S. President Barack Obama waves after delivering a speech at Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Belgium March 26, 2014

    Blog

    What Can Obama's $1 Billion Investment in European Security Actually Buy?

    If the attention to the challenge posed by Russia dwindles as the immediate crisis in Ukraine fades out of the headlines, the problem will only get worse and more costly. A $1 billion investment will not solve the problem itself, but it's an important step in the right direction.

    Jun 9, 2014

  • The United Nations headquarters building is pictured in Vienna where six world powers and Iran launched the decisive phase of diplomacy over Tehran's nuclear work on May 14, 2014

    Event

    Israeli, Saudi, and Iranian Responses in the Days After a Deal With Iran: What Are the U.S. Options?

    RAND experts will discuss the likely concerns and reactions of Israel and Saudi Arabia and the internal power dynamics and motivations of the Iranian government. Understanding these factors and U.S. options to address them will be critical for policymakers to implement a final nuclear agreement.

    Jun 4, 2014

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani attends a news conference after the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit, in Shanghai May 22, 2014

    Blog

    Let's Make a Deal: Iran Edition

    Washington will strive to achieve the best deal for U.S. and allied interests. Iran may not like that; after all, Khamenei may want to preserve most of Iran's nuclear-weapons capability. But his regime is simply in no position to make such maximalist demands. Iran has to lower its expectations if it wants a deal.

    Jun 2, 2014

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif after the P5+1 and Iran concluded negotiations about Iran's nuclear capabilities on November 24, 2013

    Content

    The Days After a Deal With Iran

    With the possibility of a nuclear deal between the United States and its P5+1 allies, RAND researchers are examining potential policy outcomes on U.S.-Iran relations and the effects that a nuclear agreement would have around the Middle East.

    Jun 1, 2014