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 Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping at the Mar-a-Lago estate after a bilateral meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Commentary

    Rocky Road Ahead Likely for U.S.-China Relations

    Apr 11, 2017

    The first summit with President Trump and China's President Xi Jinping downplayed contentious issues like Taiwan and the South China Sea. But the differences run deep, and frustration is palpable on both sides. Moreover, the competition for international leadership continues.

  • People fleeing violence in ISIS-controlled al-Bab, Syria arrive in the town's rebel-held outskirts, February 3, 2017, photo by Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

    Report

    Finding a Way Forward in Syria

    Feb 8, 2017

    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.

Explore International Diplomacy

  • Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) shakes hands with U.S President Donald Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, May 16, 2017

    Commentary

    A Turning Point in U.S-Turkish Relations?

    While Turkish President Erdoğan and U.S. President Trump emphasized the positive aspects of bilateral relations after their meeting, there remain points of contention. The stakes at this meeting and its outcome are high for both Turkey and the United States, and could mark a major milestone in the relationship.

    May 21, 2017

  • News Release

    Russia Perceives U.S.-Led International Order as a Threat to Its Security and Interests, but Also Seeks Cooperation

    Russia sees the international order as dominated by the United States and as a threat to its interests. While U.S. and Russian interests overlap and cooperation is feasible in some areas like counterterrorism, others conflict, such as U.S. support for liberal democracy and the expansion of NATO. What are U.S. policy options?

    May 18, 2017

  • The Kremlin appears on top of a map of the Mediterranean region

    Report

    How Does Russia View the International Order?

    Russia sees the U.S.-led international order as a threat to its interests. U.S. and Russian interests overlap in some areas, such as counterterrorism. But they are directly opposed in others. What are America's policy options?

    May 18, 2017

  • People in the Taiwanese tourism industry take part in a march calling for the government to tackle the falling number of Chinese tourists visiting the island since Tsai Ing-wen took office, in Taipei, September 12, 2016

    Commentary

    Correspondence: Stability or Volatility Across the Taiwan Strait?

    Prolonged tensions — even possibly amounting to a cross-strait cold peace — are likely if China's President Xi Jinping and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen cannot reach basic agreement on Taiwan's sovereignty.

    May 10, 2017

  • People pass a large picture of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the late leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khomeini during a ceremony marking the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, February 11, 2016

    Report

    Iranian Domestic Issues Could Challenge the Nuclear Deal

    The Iran nuclear agreement has proven successful so far, but challenges from within Iran may emerge. The deal could be affected by factional divisions in Iran, the May 19 election, the death of the supreme leader, or heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.

    May 10, 2017

  • A screen, showing Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual end-of-year news conference, is on display in Simferopol, Crimea, December 23, 2016.

    Commentary

    Russia in Action, Short of War

    Western countries and organizations need to work more quickly and coordinate better to offset Russia's capabilities, aggressiveness and success. Responding to Russia's hostile influence involves predicting Russia's targets, identifying the tools it is likely to use, and then playing the long game rather than focusing on near-term events.

    May 9, 2017

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a welcoming ceremony at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia, March 27, 2017

    Commentary

    Could Iran's Rouhani Lose?

    In this month's presidential election Rouhani is running against Ebrahim Raisi, a trusted member of the revolutionary establishment. The Iranian population continues to live under duress and may be open to new candidates. The Iran nuclear deal hasn't resulted in the great economic windfall Rouhani promised.

    May 3, 2017

  • Refugees, who were rescued in international waters off the Libyan coast, are transferred from one boat to another, December 2016

    Essay

    Migrant Crisis in the Mediterranean: What You Need to Know

    The countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea are facing unprecedented stress. A former lieutenant with the Italian Navy is now a RAND researcher, working to help others appreciate the scope of the crisis.

    May 2, 2017

  • The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, left, along with ships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, transit the East China Sea, March 9, 2017

    Commentary

    U.S.-China Tensions Are Unlikely to Lead to War

    The U.S.-China relationship today may be trending towards greater tension, but the relative stability and overall low level of hostility make the prospect of an accidental escalation to war extremely unlikely.

    May 1, 2017

  • Multimedia

    Direction of Foreign Policy in Trump Administration's First 100 Days

    In this Call with the Experts, RAND senior fellow, James Dobbins, as well as RAND senior international policy analyst, Linda Robinson, discuss the Trump administration's emerging foreign policy strategy as it approaches the symbolic 100-day milestone.

    Apr 26, 2017

  • Estonian and U.S. soldiers conduct live-fire training during a combat exercise near Tapa, Estonia, April 6, 2017

    Commentary

    How Trump Can Deter Russia and All of America's Other Enemies

    There is no such thing as blanket deterrence. Rather, one must deter a specific adversary from taking a specific action. A holistic approach should include ramping up U.S. capabilities to anticipate emerging threats, including events that are unlikely to happen.

    Apr 26, 2017

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to people attending a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang April 15, 2017.

    Commentary

    China's Role in Dissuading North Korea from a Chemical Weapons Attack

    North Korea's brash pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and disregard for chemical weapons norms are enormously troubling. China's engagement will be essential in convincing Kim Jong Un that the use of chemical weapons is a red line that cannot be crossed.

    Apr 24, 2017

  • Locals read promotional boards about planned economic zones along the China-North Korea border in Nanping, China, March 27, 2017

    Commentary

    Despite Promising Signs, China's North Korea Policy Unchanged

    Official statements and public discussions on China's willingness to punish or otherwise influence North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a direction favorable to U.S. interests have been optimistic lately. But China's continued support of the North should temper expectations.

    Apr 24, 2017

  • Dalia Dassa Kaye speaks at a RAND Policy Circle event at RAND's headquarters campus in Santa Monica, California, September 19, 2016

    Q&A

    What to Expect in the Middle East: Q&A with Dalia Dassa Kaye

    Dalia Dassa Kaye explains why there's more to the Middle East than what appears in daily headlines, how RAND is working to help people in the region, and more.

    Apr 24, 2017

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left) meet with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem in Moscow, June 29, 2015

    Commentary

    How the West Can Press Putin to Keep Assad in Order

    Moscow has achieved tactical successes in Syria, but without Western and regional help, its long-term strategic interests could be at risk. Denying strong evidence that the regime of Bashar al-Assad attacked civilians with sarin gas makes it harder for Moscow to obtain the Western and regional help it needs to secure its interests there.

    Apr 24, 2017

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech to Conservative Party members in Walmsley Parish Hall in Bolton, April 19, 2017

    Commentary

    The Snap Election, What's in It for Theresa May?

    Why would Theresa May take the risk of a national election, which otherwise wouldn't be needed until 2020, and what does she expect to gain from it? Calling an election now enables May to take decisive control of her party and should strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations.

    Apr 23, 2017

  • Multimedia

    Media Conference Call on the North Korea Crisis

    RAND experts Bruce Bennett, Mike Mazarr, and Andrew Scobell host a conference call with news media discussing the latest developments between North Korea, the United States, and China. Senior Media Relations Officer Khorshied Samad moderates the call.

    Apr 20, 2017

  • The guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a Tomahawk land attack missile April 7, 2017

    Commentary

    (Withholding) Judgment of the U.S. Missile Strike on Syria

    Will the U.S. missile strike in Syria constrain the Assad regime from future chemical weapons use? Rather than pass judgment, analysts should establish the benchmarks by which they will assess this decision once the facts are in.

    Apr 19, 2017

  • Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) shakes hands with his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin during talks on the crisis in eastern Ukraine, in Minsk, Belarus, November 29, 2016.

    Commentary

    The Ukraine Crisis: Why Everyone Loses

    The Ukraine conflict has left every major actor involved worse off than it was before, and a resolution seems as elusive as ever. An inclusive dialogue on the regional order could be the first step toward defusing the conflict.

    Apr 19, 2017

  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley prepares to speak at a Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, April 12, 2017

    Commentary

    The Limits of Going It Alone in Syria

    Very little on the ground in Syria has changed since the U.S. missile strikes against the Assad regime. To translate this military action into policy gains, it will be necessary to follow up with increased diplomatic coordination with international partners and institutions.

    Apr 18, 2017