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.

  • 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?

  • 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


    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

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands following a joint news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington September 25, 2015


    Define Acceptable Cyberspace Behavior

    While a U.S.-China cyberspace agreement is a welcome step, it also underscores the greater issues facing the United States and the international community in this largely ungoverned space. A precondition for securing U.S. networks should be the development of an overarching cyber doctrine that defines acceptable behavior and allows the U.S. to defend its networks against threats.

    Sep 27, 2015

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Boeing in Everett, Washington, September 23, 2015


    The U.S.-China Summit Is More Significant for Xi Jinping Than Obama

    The Xi-Obama summit will provide the opportunity to discuss contentious issues like cybersecurity and the South China Sea, as well as other issues, such as climate change and economic cooperation. For Xi, the visit underscores the tremendous importance of messaging to a Chinese audience the narrative of a continued stable and robust partnership with the country that matters most to China politically and economically.

    Sep 24, 2015

  • News Release

    U.S. Faces Gap Between Objectives and Reality in Syria and Iraq

    There is a substantial gap between American national objectives and a realistic appreciation of the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq. These objectives need to be based on frank appraisals of the situation, even if those assessments defy Americans' sense of progress.

    Sep 24, 2015

  • Iraqi volunteers fix weapons for the Hashid Shaabi militia at a shop on the outskirts of Basra, June 16, 2015


    The United States Faces a Gap Between Objectives and Reality in Syria and Iraq

    There is a large gap between U.S. objectives and a realistic appreciation of the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Frank appraisals of the situation in the region must inform U.S. objectives, even if such assessments defy Americans' sense of progress.

    Sep 24, 2015

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan arrive at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, September 22, 2015


    Xi's Visit Exposes Mismatch in U.S and Chinese Expectations

    Chinese President Xi Jinping's U.S. visit this week appears to face serious headwinds. Contrasting U.S. and Chinese priorities will likely lead to disappointment on both sides.

    Sep 23, 2015

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and China's President Xi Jinping listen to national anthems during a ceremony in Beijing, November 12, 2014


    Nuclear Weapons Should Be on the U.S.-China Summit Agenda

    At the impending U.S.-China summit, it would make sense for Obama to put on the table official discussions of strategic nuclear issues between U.S. and Chinese government or military representatives.

    Sep 23, 2015

  • U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) addresses a rally against the Iran nuclear deal at the U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC, September 9, 2015


    Congress Should Monitor Iran Deal, Not Keep Trying to Kill It

    If Iranian compliance with the nuclear accord is Congress's goal, then legislators should focus on ensuring that the deal is effectively implemented.

    Sep 12, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the Iran nuclear agreement in Washington, July 28, 2015


    The Only Iran Deal Alternative Worth Considering

    Now is the time for Washington to prove its leadership and implement the Iran nuclear deal. The alternative is a major diplomatic defeat for America and an unrestricted Iranian nuclear program.

    Aug 30, 2015

  • Iran flag above Tehran skyline


    A Better Deal for Iran

    It is critical for lawmakers to understand there will be serious consequences for rejecting the Iran deal. And those consequences look a lot worse for the United States and its partners than for Iran.

    Aug 24, 2015

  • Palestinians walk past Israel's controversial barrier as they make their way to attend the fourth Friday prayer of Ramadan in Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque, at Qalandia checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah July 10, 2015


    U.S. Could Push One-State Solution to Bring About Israel-Palestine Peace

    If the next U.S. administration were to conclude that perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian status quo for another eight years was unacceptable or unachievable, they might begin speaking of the one-state solution not as its preferred outcome, but as one more acceptable than no solution at all.

    Aug 18, 2015

  • A U.S. Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter flies over Kalam Valley during humanitarian relief efforts in Pakistan, August 2010


    Pakistan's Shocking Strategic Shift

    Pakistan's security policies have experienced striking but underappreciated shifts since 2001 along three dimensions: aggressive behavior, strategic orientation, and self-examination.

    Aug 12, 2015

  • Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and China's President Xi Jinping meet at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, June 11, 2015


    Aung San Suu Kyi's Trip to China: Sino-Myanmar Relations as the Countdown to the November Elections Begins

    For Aung San Suu Kyi and the rest of the National League for Democracy (NLD) delegation, meeting with Chinese leadership provided a forum for bilateral engagement with one of Myanmar's most important neighbors in the region, relations that will expand given the NLD's likely success at the polls in November.

    Aug 10, 2015

  • Iranians celebrate after the announcement of a nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 countries, Tehran, July 14, 2015


    Opening Iran After the Nuclear Deal

    The nuclear accord paves the way for Iranian-Americans to help Iranians know the United States not for past perceived misdeeds, but future possibilities.

    Aug 3, 2015

  • Protesters wave Armenian national flags during a rally against a hike in electricity prices in Yerevan, Armenia July 1, 2015


    It's Time to Reboot Our Relationship with Russia and Iran's Neighbors

    In implementing the prospective Iran nuclear agreement, the West cannot forget its engagement in the vulnerable South Caucasus. The Iran deal changes the equation for all three countries and perhaps opens new opportunities.

    Jul 28, 2015

  • congressional-podcast-teaser-highres


    Strategic Rethink: Choices for America in a Turbulent World

    In this July 2015 Congressional Briefing, Ambassador James Dobbins discusses the report he coauthored with Howard Shatz and David Ochmanek, Choices for America in a Turbulent World. This is the first paper in the "Strategic Rethink" project, in which RAND researchers examine the most consequential choices that are likely to face this president and the next.

    Jul 24, 2015

  • Glowing globe


    The RAND Strategic Rethink Project

    The RAND Strategic Rethink project explores important strategic questions facing the United States, producing a guide for policymakers, citizens, educators, and the media on the most critical global choices and challenges facing the country.

    Jul 23, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015


    Iran Deal or No Deal

    A U.S. rejection of the Iran nuclear agreement would send the wrong message, not only to Iran but also to America's closest allies, and it would not serve American interests in the region.

    Jul 22, 2015

  • Anti-government protesters at the site of clashes with riot police in Kiev on January 25, 2014


    Reports of Our Global Disorder Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

    Deterring Russia, channeling growing Chinese power, and working with others to dismantle the Islamic State are daunting challenges — but not greater than rebuilding post-World War II Europe, containing the Soviet Union, ending the Cold War, and promoting democratic governance throughout much of the modern world.

    Jul 22, 2015

  • Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a July 14, 2015 news conference that Israel would not be bound by the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran


    Peace in the Middle East: America's New Post-Iran Deal Challenge

    It is no surprise that the final Iran nuclear deal was met with opposition in Israel and Saudi Arabia. For all the talk about whether or not this is a good deal, negotiating with Iran was the original sin from their perspective.

    Jul 20, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reacts as he delivers a statement on the Iran deal at the Vienna International Center, Austria, July 14, 2015


    Iran Deal Not a Panacea, but a Pragmatic Necessity

    The nuclear agreement is not perfect and certainly does not attain the ideals of either side. But it prevents Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability in the near future while giving some space for Iranian proponents of change.

    Jul 15, 2015