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

  • Members of the Group of 20 during the G20 leaders summit in Antalya, Turkey, November 15, 2015

    Commentary

    Foreign Policy Challenges on the Campaign Trail

    Foreign and security policy will play a significant role in the run-up to the November U.S. presidential election. The campaign offers voters a wide spectrum of responses to the challenges of militant Islamism, ties with China and Russia, dealings with rogue states like North Korea, and free trade.

    Feb 4, 2016

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a statement that sanctions will be lifted on Iran after the IAEA verified that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear deal, January 16, 2016

    Commentary

    Iran, Terrorism, and Nonproliferation After the Nuclear Deal

    As Iran re-enters global markets, the Obama administration needs a strategy that accounts for the nuclear deal's potentially adverse implications for U.S. counterterrorism policy as well as its advantages for nonproliferation policy.

    Jan 28, 2016

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin greets spectators at the World Judo Championships in Chelyabinsk

    Commentary

    The Tide Is Going Out on Putin

    Russia is losing ground in domestic politics, economics, and foreign policy. It could take steps to strengthen its position, such as withdrawing from Ukraine, privatizing inefficient state enterprises, and improving the investment climate.

    Jan 25, 2016

  • A protester holding a picture of Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed in Saudi Arabia, walks past a picture of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a rally in Tehran January 8, 2016

    Commentary

    Saudi-Iranian Tensions

    The U.S.-Iran nuclear accord has induced a sense of abandonment in Riyadh. The Saudis may fear that Washington might one day replace its alliance with Saudi Arabia with a new partnership with Iran; or perhaps more realistically, that it might come to depend less on Riyadh given improving ties with Iran.

    Jan 22, 2016

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif after the IAEA verified that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear deal, January 16, 2016

    Commentary

    Iran Nuclear Deal Is Working, but Challenges Persist

    The nuclear agreement with Iran made sanctions relief contingent on Iran's first having verifiably undertaken steps to dismantle its nuclear program. It has completed these tasks, and it is now the United States' turn to implement its obligations under the deal.

    Jan 19, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington, January 12, 2016

    Blog

    State of the Union 2016: Insights on Obama's Last Address

    RAND research, analysis, and expertise provide context for many of the issues discussed in President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address, including the threat of ISIS, global climate change, and bringing peace to Syria.

    Jan 13, 2016

  • Pakistani Taliban fighters, who were arrested by Afghan border police, stand during a presentation of seized weapons and equipment in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 5, 2016

    Commentary

    Pakistan Holds the Key to Peace in Afghanistan

    Sustained and intensified U.S. pressure on Pakistan offers the only viable path to advancing the Afghan reconciliation process in a way that does not turn Afghanistan into a launching pad for terrorism and extremism.

    Jan 11, 2016

  • Hans Binnendijk and Andy Hoehn at the SAIS event on Strategic Rethink

    Multimedia

    Hans Binnendijk on America's Partners and Adversaries

    Hans Binnendijk argues that the United States may need to follow a more collaborative approach to foreign affairs, engaging and sharing burdens with partners who until now have not pulled their weight.

    Jan 6, 2016

  • News Release

    United States Needs a Collaborative Approach to Manage Its Adversaries and Strengthen Partnerships Abroad

    As national security challenges mount, the U.S. may need to follow a more collaborative approach to foreign affairs, engaging and sharing burdens with partners who until now have not pulled their weight.

    Jan 5, 2016

  • American and world flags as gears

    Report

    Friends, Foes, and Future Directions: U.S. Partnerships in a Turbulent World

    How should the United States manage its relationships with partners and adversaries in a world of shrinking defense budgets and reduced political will for international engagement?

    Jan 5, 2016

  • Georgy Kvirikashvili, who was nominated for the post of Georgia's prime minister on December 25 after Irakly Garibashvili resigned, delivers a speech on December 28, 2015

    Commentary

    Georgia Needs Support from the U.S. and the West

    Georgia is poised to make big changes to reinvigorate its democracy and economy, but it needs support to deter risks and advance progress. With one-fifth of its territory occupied by Russia and facing risks every day, Georgia needs more Western aid, including military training, technology, and defensive arms.

    Jan 5, 2016

  • Uniformed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, march outside a Ukrainian military base, March 5, 2014

    Commentary

    Struggle in the Gray Zone and World Order

    Recent experience suggests that the targets of gray zone campaigns recognize them for what they are — aggressive efforts to overturn the status quo. Gray zone aggression often prompts exactly the sort of reactions it's meant to avoid.

    Dec 22, 2015

  • Participants are seen in silhouette as they look at a screen showing a world map with climate anomalies during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 8, 2015

    Commentary

    Paris Gets the (Decision) Science Right

    The framework for the Paris negotiations is in sync with what science tells us about how to make effective public policy decisions. This alone makes them historic and may provide a model for both local and global action on more than climate alone.

    Dec 18, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov before a meeting of Foreign Ministers about Syria in New York, December 18, 2015

    Commentary

    A Realistic Peace Plan for Syria Needs to Begin with an Immediate Cease-Fire

    To reach peace in Syria, the International Syria Support Group should concentrate on securing an immediate cease-fire and arranging for its enforcement, followed by further negotiations on the shape of a reconstituted Syrian state.

    Dec 18, 2015

  • News Release

    Immediate Ceasefire and 'Safe Zones' Best Option for Syrian Peace

    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.

    Dec 17, 2015

  • Boys help members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent unload parcels of medical and humanitarian aid in Damascus, Syria, July 23, 2015

    Report

    A Peace Plan for Syria

    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.

    Dec 17, 2015

  • Environmentalists hold a banner which reads in part, "For the Climate," near the Eiffel Tower during the World Climate Change Conference 2015

    Commentary

    COP21: Ambition and Momentum

    Negotiators in Paris achieved a historic breakthrough by adopting a fundamentally different, and likely more effective, institutional framework to address climate change. It builds on two concepts missing from past attempts to forge a global treaty: voluntary participation and adaptive policymaking.

    Dec 17, 2015

  • t-call-experts-hr

    Multimedia

    A Peace Plan for Syria

    Experts discuss, “A Peace Plan for Syria," a new RAND paper suggesting that 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.

    Dec 16, 2015

  • U.S. President Obama departs after his remarks and a tour of the Philippine Navy's BRP Gregorio Del Pilar at Manila Harbor, Philippines, November 17, 2015

    Commentary

    Obama Doubles Down on Maritime Capacity Building in Southeast Asia

    By contributing to coast guard capacity building by donating ships and funding, the United States has found an important and politically viable avenue to bolster maritme security to partners and allies in Southeast Asia.

    Dec 15, 2015

  • Civilians walk past a damaged building in the rebel-controlled area of Maaret al-Numan town in Idlib province, Syria, October 28, 2015

    Commentary

    Will Syria's Civil War Turn Out Like Spain's Did?

    The similarities between the Syrian and Spanish civil wars, including foreign involvement and the level of brutality against civilians and captives, suggest that the Syrian war, like the Spanish one before it, could potentially foreshadow future conflicts.

    Dec 2, 2015