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.

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, September 4, 2016, photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

    Commentary

    Taking Stock of the U.S. Rebalance and the Contest for Influence in Asia

    Jan 19, 2017

    Since 2011, the U.S. has carried out measures designed to bolster its influence in Asia, a region that is projected to play a central role in driving global economic growth. Despite steady progress, with increased diplomatic outreach to China and its neighbors, doubts about the U.S. pivot to Asia have persisted.

  • A globe and marbles balancing, illustration by Dori Walker/RAND Corporation

    Report

    U.S. Interests Abroad Face Steep Challenges

    Oct 19, 2016

    Global upheaval is threatening the alliances, economic institutions, and political relationships that have made up the international order since 1945. This is creating challenges for U.S. interests.

Explore International Diplomacy

  • China's President Xi Jinping watches during a gift handover ceremony at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, January 18, 2017

    Commentary

    China's Opportunity—and Ours

    If the U.S. administration is interested in a collaborative but still firm way to influence Chinese behavior, China's halting efforts to join the U.S. as a sponsor and guarantor of the international order may offer a better approach than an accelerating confrontation.

    Feb 19, 2017

  • Report

    Improving Implementation of the Department of Defense Leahy Law

    The Leahy laws prohibit U.S. assistance to foreign security forces that have committed gross violations of human rights. This report analyzes the vetting process that helps the Department of Defense implement these laws and recommends improvements.

    Feb 17, 2017

  • Taiwanese Coast Guard patrol ship, Kaohsiung (CG 129), during a rescue drill near the coast of Itu Aba in the South China Sea, November 29, 2016

    Commentary

    History and Current Developments Regarding Taiwan's Coast Guard

    As Asia-Pacific countries develop policies to regulate maritime zones of jurisdiction, the importance of coast guards as instruments of state policy has been growing. Taiwan's Coast Guard is an increasingly effective force facilitating the protection and regulation of Taiwanese maritime rights and interests in the East and South China Sea.

    Feb 15, 2017

  • Report

    The Concert of Europe and Great-Power Governance Today: What Can the Order of 19th-Century Europe Teach Policymakers About International Order in the 21st Century?

    This Perspective describes the key principles of the Concert of Europe, analyzes its effects, and draws implications for future U.S. policy toward the international order.

    Feb 13, 2017

  • People fleeing violence in ISIS-controlled al-Bab, Syria arrive in the town's rebel-held outskirts, February 3, 2017

    Report

    Finding a Way Forward in Syria

    After six years of fighting in Syria, the odds of removing the Assad regime are worse than ever. But the new U.S. administration could help de-escalate the conflict by focusing on a realistic outcome: a decentralized Syria with agreed regional zones backed by external powers.

    Feb 8, 2017

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference following the talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest, Hungary, February 2, 2017

    Commentary

    Dealing with a Revanchist Russia

    The deployment of additional U.S. forces and other NATO units to Poland, Norway, the Baltics, and other states symbolically reinforces the West's commitment to the alliance. But countering Russia's influence will require a fundamental reformulation of EU and U.S. political strategy.

    Feb 8, 2017

  • U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis (left) meets with South Korea's acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn in Seoul, February 2, 2017

    Commentary

    Mattis' Mission in Asia

    U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis made his first overseas trip this week, visiting Japan and South Korea. He reassured them that U.S. alliances in East Asia will remain strong, while also clarifying Washington's expectations.

    Feb 6, 2017

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump listens during their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017.

    Commentary

    Politics Across the Pond

    Donald Trump and Theresa May can't actually get much done on U.S.-U.K. trade in the short term. Whatever Trump and May say or agree to during this visit will be for political effect. Any real bargaining on the economics will take place years in the future.

    Jan 31, 2017

  • Report

    Cross-Cutting Challenges and their Implications for the Mediterranean region

    This publication is part of a series of four RAND Perspectives (PE) each focusing on different challenges in the Mediterranean region. The focus of this PE is on cross-cutting challenges and their implications for regional stability and security.

    Jan 25, 2017

  • Two U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 35th Fighter Squadron land in sync after a training sortie Feb. 13, 2014, at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea.

    Commentary

    A Political Earthquake in Seoul and Its Repercussions for U.S. Policy

    With new administrations in the U.S. and South Korea, it's time to find a middle ground and set up a new common policy toward North Korea. The pressures felt by both countries make the relationship all the more vital to the historical allies.

    Jan 25, 2017

  • U.S. and Polish soldiers meet after a welcoming ceremony for U.S. troops deployed as part of a NATO buildup in Eastern Europe, Zagan, Poland, January 14, 2017

    Report

    How Are European Countries Vulnerable to Russia?

    Russia's aggression against Ukraine has highlighted potential threats to NATO and the EU. But European countries differ in how susceptible they are to possible Russian actions.

    Jan 18, 2017

  • Multimedia

    Trump and Russia: Challenges and Opportunities

    In this Call with the Experts, our panel discusses the risks and opportunities that lie ahead with respect to U.S.-Russian relations.

    Jan 13, 2017

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) talks with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani as they meet during a summit of Caspian Sea regional leaders in the southern city of Astrakhan September 29, 2014

    Commentary

    Iran Is at Putin's Mercy

    Russia and Iran have forged an unprecedented but fragile alliance in the Middle East. But there's no guarantee that Putin won't sell Iran out if he manages to forge better U.S. relations under Trump.

    Jan 12, 2017

  • President Barack Obama talks about cyber hacking during the U.S. presidential election as he holds his final news conference of the year at the White House in Washington, December 16, 2016

    Commentary

    How to Deter Foreign Cyberattacks on U.S. Elections

    Deterring future cyber-meddling in U.S. elections will require convincing adversaries — Russia and others — that any future such meddling will either be ineffective and/or too costly to be worthwhile.

    Jan 5, 2017

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C), Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L), and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia December 29, 2016

    Commentary

    No Quick Fix with Russia

    A series of small steps is more likely to improve Western and Russian security than an attempt at a total reset. At the same time, sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine, and NATO actions to reassure and protect allies, must continue.

    Jan 3, 2017

  • The Dome of the Rock on the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, and the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, October 10, 2006

    Commentary

    Hidden Dangers of Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

    Moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would antagonize partners in the Islamic world who are key to fighting ISIS and other extremists. And any potential cooperation that might have developed between Israel and Arab states over common concerns about Iran could suffer.

    Dec 28, 2016

  • ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson speaks during the 26th World Gas Conference in Paris, France, June 2, 2015.

    Commentary

    Rex Tillerson's Many Challenges

    If confirmed as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson will face a broad array of challenges. One may be to lend the administration consistency, while closing at least some of the deals that President-elect Trump has promised.

    Dec 24, 2016

  • A woman rides a bike past Taiwan and China national flags during a rally held by a group of pro-China supporters calling for peaceful reunification, Taiwan May 14, 2016.

    Commentary

    Walking Away from One-China Policy Imperils Taiwan

    The U.S. One-China policy has helped keep the peace for decades. Abandoning it now could result in stiffer Chinese resolve. Such a strategy may even backfire by triggering an otherwise avoidable crisis.

    Dec 22, 2016

  • Japan's Self Defence Force holds an opening ceremony of a new military base on the island of Yonaguni in the Okinawa prefecture, March 28, 2016

    Commentary

    The Risks of an Accelerating Rivalry Between China and Japan

    China and Japan have a long history of antagonism but their competition for influence in Asia has recently expanded in the economic, diplomatic, and security domains. The U.S., although a staunch ally of Japan, has served as a mediator. Weakening the U.S. role could aggravate Sino-Japanese tensions to a destabilizing degree.

    Dec 12, 2016