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.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, in Minsk, August 26, 2014

    Blog

    A Diplomatic Solution for Ukraine

    Despite uncertainty about Russian military plans and the outcome of Ukrainian operations against pro-Russian separatists, it's not too soon to consider how to lay the foundations for a negotiated solution. If Moscow were unwilling to reach a fair settlement, the West would have options to increase its leverage.

    Aug 27, 2014

  • People walk along the street soon after, what locals say, was recent shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Donetsk on August 20, 2014

    Blog

    Make Russia an Offer on Ukraine It Can't Refuse

    An international initiative that does not appear to emanate from NATO or the EU could help bring Russia to the table, in part by accepting that Moscow, too, has a role. An international peacekeeping force could open the way for a negotiated end to the conflict.

    Aug 20, 2014

  • U.S. President Barack Obama meets with the National Security Council in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington

    Blog

    Taking It One Crisis at a Time

    The main difference between the immediate post-Cold War decade and the post-9/11 era as regards the variety of international challenges is that during that earlier period these challenges were faced and dealt with seriatim, rather than allowed to accumulate.

    Aug 19, 2014

  • NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during an interview with Reuters at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, August 11, 2014

    Blog

    NATO's Crucial Summit

    President Obama can take action now to ensure the September NATO summit in Wales underscores transatlantic resolve and capability in the face of Russian aggression and provide the strong, decisive U.S. leadership NATO needs in this time of crisis.

    Aug 15, 2014

  • Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping shake hands before the opening ceremony of the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia summit in Shanghai May 21, 2014

    Report

    China's Strategy Toward South and Central Asia

    China's response to the complex challenges on its western borders during the past two decades has been to adopt an "Empty Fortress" strategy, whereby China boldly projects an image of considerable strength in Central and South Asia to mask serious frailty. China is not a major threat to U.S. interests there and is unlikely to pose one in the near future.

    Aug 11, 2014

  • A woman walks out of the office of the Moscow Exchange in Moscow, August 1, 2014

    Blog

    Step It Up, Europe

    Despite the latest sanctions on Russia, the European Union will need to do more to achieve its objectives in Ukraine. In addition to much tougher economic sanctions, NATO could help Ukrainians by providing military assistance, weapons, training, and intelligence, and deploying air and naval forces closer to the conflict.

    Aug 6, 2014

  • Capt. James T. Jones, commanding officer of the USS Shiloh, greets Rear Adm. Zhang Wendan of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy

    Multimedia

    China: The Reluctant Partner

    There's a high probability that the establishment of a U.S. Global SOF Network will reinforce Beijing's extreme insecurities about Washington's intentions towards China, and heighten Chinese perceptions of enhanced US military encirclement capabilities. However, if China is invited to partner with U.S. Special Operations Forces, this may alter Chinese thinking on military cooperation.

    Jul 30, 2014

  • A demonstrator, her face painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag, outside the Israeli Embassy in London, July 26, 2014

    Blog

    Gaza and the Nuclear Negotiations

    Whether a deal materializes that meets Iranian demands for a civilian nuclear program, but is limited enough to satisfy the U.S. and its partners remains to be seen. But the longer the Gaza conflict continues, the harder it'll be to insulate the negotiations from broader regional trends.

    Jul 28, 2014

  • A convoy of hearses bearing the remains of the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 leaves Eindhoven airport in the Netherlands, July 24, 2014

    Blog

    A Missile's Deadly Message

    Putin's stubbornness on Ukraine has attracted international scorn, threatened Russia's already shaky economy, and focused NATO on countering potential Russian aggression. It's also sparked anti-Russian and pro-NATO sentiments in Central and Eastern Europe. The tragic loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 only intensifies these sentiments.

    Jul 25, 2014

  • Palestinians mourn their relatives, whom medics say were killed by Israeli shelling, at a hospital morgue in the southern Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014

    Blog

    With the Death Toll Rising in Gaza, Is There Any Hope for Peace?

    Casualties are rising in the conflict between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Are there any realistic expectations for peace in the region? Who could broker a settlement between Hamas and Israel?

    Jul 22, 2014

  • Shi'ite volunteers, who've joined the Iraqi army against militants from the radical Islamic State, take part in weapons training, July 18, 2014

    Blog

    Defeating the Islamic State: Crafting a Regional Approach

    While ISIL may achieve temporary tactical gains from declaring the caliphate, it made the strategic error of declaring all other Sunni political actors illegitimate. This may provide an opening to build a coalition that can create and implement a regional strategy to attack ISIL.

    Jul 22, 2014

  • 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

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    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

  • 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

  • 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