International Diplomacy

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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.

  • Boys help members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent unload parcels of medical and humanitarian aid in Damascus, Syria, July 23, 2015, photo by Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

    Report

    A Peace Plan for Syria

    Dec 17, 2015

    The best chance for peace in Syria is for external parties to persuade stakeholders to accept a ceasefire, with further negotiations on a political settlement to follow later. The alternative is the indefinite continuation or even escalation of a devastating war.

  • A Chinese Coast Guard vessel in the South China Sea maneuvers to block a Philippine supply ship with members of the media aboard, March 29, 2014, photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters

    Commentary

    China's Island-Building Stirs Fears, but Creates Openings for the United States

    May 18, 2015

    News of proposed Navy patrols nearby disputed islands claimed by China suggests that the United States is toughening its response to Beijing's assertive territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Explore International Diplomacy

  • ISmoke billows from a building after a Taliban attack in Gereshk district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, March 9, 2016

    Blog

    Strategic Reversal in Afghanistan

    A new contingency plan considers what an unraveling of Afghanistan's political and security situation over the next 18 months would mean — and what can be done to prevent it.

    Jun 24, 2016

  • President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during an award ceremony marking the Day of Russia at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 12, 2016

    Commentary

    Russia and America: The World Is Big Enough for Both of Us

    The United States' approach to Russia — and any other great power — over the coming decade will ultimately be more effective if grounded in the rules, norms, and institutions that have come to characterize the postwar global system.

    Jun 23, 2016

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (center) listens as President Barack Obama meets with veterans and Gold Star Mothers about the Iran nuclear deal at the White House in Washington, DC, September 10, 2015

    Commentary

    Before Obama Leaves Office, Here's What He Should Do About Iran

    The United States needs to pursue policies designed to preclude regional hegemony and create a balance of power in the Middle East, while also expressing support for human rights and engaging Iran diplomatically.

    Jun 17, 2016

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, April 26, 2016

    Commentary

    Putin Is Trying to Bully Europe into Dropping Sanctions

    Seeking relief from Western sanctions, the Kremlin is waging a campaign of public distortion and intimidation to split Europe from America, and Europeans from each other. But many of its tactics are clumsy and self-defeating.

    Jun 11, 2016

  • Children hold up letters spelling the word 'peace' during a day of activities and prayers at the Zaitoune historic church in old Damascus, Syria, June 1, 2016

    Report

    Decentralization of Governance Could Help Syria

    With the international community trying to bring peace to Syria, decentralization of governance could be part of the solution. Devolution of authority to localities could help lower the stakes of the conflict and provide security to Syrians who have lost trust in the state.

    Jun 7, 2016

  • Yousef Al Otaiba, United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States, speaks at RAND's headquarters campus in Santa Monica, California, June 1, 2016

    Blog

    A New Middle East: Rhodes Scholars, Not Radicals

    United Arab Emirates Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba visited RAND to discuss what he sees as the UAE's progress as an emerging power in the Middle East and a reliable ally of the West. Despite threats to the region, the next generation of young people is spreading a culture of optimism, opportunity, and openness.

    Jun 2, 2016

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    A Conversation with His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, Ambassador Al Otaiba describes his vision for a stable, tolerant, and prosperous Middle East.

    Jun 1, 2016

  • The Ukrainian national guard Azov regiment and activists of the Azov civil corp protest local elections in pro-Russian rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine under the Minsk peace agreement, May 20, 2016

    Commentary

    Russia's Great Power Choice

    The Donbas occupation is straining Russia's economy, world power status, and relationship with the West. Only by pulling out of eastern Ukraine and reforming its economy can Russia gain broader acceptance and reach its potential as a great power.

    Jun 1, 2016

  • International flags

    Commentary

    Will the New President Risk the Stability of the World?

    America's next leader will confront one of the most profound tasks of any post-war U.S. president: reimagining a threatened international order. Mishandled, the challenge could throw world politics into a tailspin. Done right, it could help keep the peace for another half-century.

    Jun 1, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama puts his arm around Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after they laid wreaths in front of a cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan, May 27, 2016

    Commentary

    President Obama's Visit to Japan and the Transformation of Japan's Defense Policy

    Washington and Tokyo have moved to actively shape and reinforce the values, norms, institutions, and regional order that have served to enable the Asia-Pacific to emerge as an engine of growth and bastion of freedom and democracy over the past nearly 40 years.

    May 31, 2016

  • Paratroopers parachute into the opening ceremony of Exercise Noble Partner in Vaziani, Georgia, May 10, 2015

    Commentary

    Georgia's Delicate Foreign Policy Dance

    Given the dangerous environment and the small size and relative military weakness of Georgia, it wisely pursues a good neighbor policy in all directions. Still, the country must improve its defense posture and for Georgia, the main security balancer is the United States.

    May 25, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama attends a press conference with Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang at the Presidential Palace Compound in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 23, 2016

    Commentary

    Why Has Obama Lifted the Arms Sales Ban on Vietnam?

    The lifting of the Vietnam arms embargo needs to be understood as part of the long process of normalizing relations with a former U.S. enemy and building toward a more cooperative, economically dynamic, and strategic future-oriented relationship.

    May 25, 2016

  • Doves fly over the Peace Memorial Park with a view of the gutted A-bomb dome at a ceremony in Hiroshima, Japan

    Commentary

    5 Things That Should Happen When Obama Visits Hiroshima

    On May 27, President Barack Obama will be the first sitting U.S. president to visit the city of Hiroshima. The visit is a sign of respect and friendship between the American and Japanese people, and should make the two countries' ties even stronger.

    May 23, 2016

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presides over a rally and parade in Pyongyang's main ceremonial square, North Korea, May 10, 2016

    Commentary

    Behind North Korea's Bid for a 'Peace Treaty'

    By insisting on a peace treaty with America, North Korea is probably seeking war. Its leaders likely hope a treaty would lead to a withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea, setting the stage for an invasion by the North.

    May 18, 2016

  • Icebreaker Yamal during removal of manned drifting station North Pole-36, August 2009

    Commentary

    Friends if We Must: Russia and China in the Arctic

    Russia's rebalancing toward China is particularly important in the Arctic, a region in which Russia has great ambitions, but also struggles with major vulnerabilities. Russia needs China as an investor, as a technological partner, and as a key consumer of energy to support its flagging, energy-dependent economy.

    May 6, 2016

  • U.S. and Iraqi officers checking IDs in Baghdad, Iraq, October 2006

    Commentary

    Iraq Reconciliation Requires American Help

    It is time for the United States to step in and take the lead on the crucial process of reconciling the Sunnis with their government in order to bolster the tactical fight against ISIL and to ensure Iraq does not further destabilize.

    May 5, 2016

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a video conference with Arctic oil drilling platform West Alpha in Sochi, August 9, 2014

    Commentary

    Will the Arctic Remain a Warm Spot in Chilly U.S.-Russia Relations?

    The United States should continue with its policy of engagement with Russia within Arctic institutions. This is the only way to keep building on a track record of successful agreements that make the Arctic safer for all.

    Apr 28, 2016

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

    Commentary

    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

  • Russia's and NATO's Defence Ministers at a NATO-Russia defence ministers council at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, October 23, 2013

    Commentary

    A Risky Move in Brussels

    In the last two years, NATO's relations with Russia have collapsed to their post-Cold War nadir. The decision to convene a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels on April 20 has been met with an unusual amount of controversy and could prove to be a mistake.

    Apr 19, 2016

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a meeting dealing with the commissioning of military products at the National Defense Control Center in Moscow, March 11, 2016

    Commentary

    How Russia Undermines Nuclear Security

    Russian aggression in Ukraine and nuclear saber rattling are jeopardizing the very global nonproliferation efforts that this week's Nuclear Security Summit in Washington seeks to further. Moscow's actions deserve a stronger response than they have received.

    Apr 1, 2016