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.

  • Report

    Looking Backward and Forward: Policy Issues in the Twenty-first Century

    This collection features twenty-five essays written between 2002 and 2007, covering a wide range of worldwide economic, political, security, and diplomatic issues.

    Nov 20, 2014

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi hold a press conference after their meeting in Yangon, Myanmar, November 14, 2014

    Commentary

    Myanmar's Slow Path to Democracy

    The U.S. and its allies must act decisively and provide a strong foundation for Myanmar's long-term transformation. A failure to carefully guide the country's transition to a civilian rule would be a missed opportunity for the Obama administration and, more important, for Myanmar's 51 million citizens.

    Nov 17, 2014

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping during a welcoming ceremony of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, in Beijing, November 11, 2014

    Commentary

    A Thaw in Asia

    Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe raised hope for the near term that the leaders of both countries can ease tensions between Asia's two largest economies. This marked a welcome turn from the past few years, which saw a serious downturn in China-Japan relations.

    Nov 17, 2014

  • Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to the crowd in the holy city of Qom, October 2010

    Commentary

    Ignore Flap Over Obama Letter

    While it is not surprising that the alleged letter from President Obama to Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei has upset domestic critics of the nuclear negotiations, the alleged correspondence has also unsettled Israel and Saudi Arabia, which fear a “bad” deal with Iran and even secret collusion between Washington and Tehran. But such concerns seem unfounded.

    Nov 14, 2014

  • Afghan policemen in Kabul

    Commentary

    Afghanistan After America: A Fragile Stability

    Since 2011, the United States, the Afghan government, and the Taliban have engaged in intermittent and often indirect talks about peace negotiations. It may be stalemate on the battlefield that eventually forces the parties to break this stalemate over the shape of a peace process.

    Nov 14, 2014

  • Multimedia

    Using Network Analysis Methods to Support the Global SOF Network

    This video explores how network analysis metrics -- in particular

    Nov 13, 2014

  • Multimedia

    SOF Partner Assessment: Introduction to Country Characteristics

    Part one of a four-part video series describes the use of consistent metrics to assess countries' political attractiveness and reliability as partners in the U.S. Special Operations Command's proposed Global Special Operations Forces (SOF) Network.

    Nov 13, 2014

  • Afghan men attend an election campaign by Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai in Kabul, June 8, 2014

    Commentary

    Are Ethnic Politics Afghanistan's Great Hope?

    Afghanistan's ethnic politics have tended to absorb inter-communal struggle more than exacerbate it. Afghan politicians have consistently opted for an ethnic balance of power once the votes are counted. The unity government deal brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry aims to restore the ethnic balance that persisted under Hamid Karzai for more than a decade.

    Nov 11, 2014

  • A destroyed T-72 tank, which presumably came from Russia, is seen on a battlefield near separatist-controlled Starobesheve in eastern Ukraine October 2014

    Commentary

    Hitting the Pause Button: The 'Frozen Conflict' Dilemma in Ukraine

    “Frozen conflicts” describe places where fighting took place and has come to an end, yet no overall political solution, such as a peace treaty, has been reached. Ukraine is likely to host such conflicts for some time. Georgia's experience offers lessons for Ukraine.

    Nov 7, 2014

  • U.S. and China flags

    Commentary

    Engagement and Assurance: Debating the U.S.-Chinese Relationship

    The risks of strategic rivalry with China deserve serious attention. But the best way to avoid the destabilizing effects of military competition is sustained U.S. engagement with China and the region—precisely what U.S. policy has been seeking to achieve.

    Nov 6, 2014

  • Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells the 69th U.N. General Assembly on September 29 that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a far greater threat to the world than Islamic State militants

    Commentary

    Not to Worry, Israel

    Some Israelis worry that America's fight against the Islamic State is distracting from the Iranian nuclear challenge. But the idea that the U.S. would make additional concessions to Iran in the nuclear negotiations because of the anti-Islamic State group effort is not based on realities on the ground.

    Oct 23, 2014

  • A scholar with a book and glasses

    Announcement

    James Dobbins and Katherine Kahn Receive Distinguished Chairs

    RAND Distinguished Chairs are researchers recognized for distinction in their field and for groundbreaking efforts to solve some of the world's most challenging problems. Michael Rich, RAND's president and CEO, has just appointed two new distinguished chairs: James Dobbins as Distinguished Chair in Diplomacy and Security and Katherine Kahn as Distinguished Chair in Health Care Delivery Measurement and Evaluation.

    Oct 20, 2014

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov shake hands at a news conference in Moscow, August 29, 2014

    Commentary

    Why Iran Can't Walk Away from Nuclear Talks So Easily

    If the public inflexibility of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif isn't mere diplomatic posturing, they would be gambling not only with their own political futures, but the futures of 80 million Iranians as well.

    Sep 26, 2014

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani

    Commentary

    Afghanistan's Best Bet

    On Sunday, Ashraf Ghani was declared the victor in a contest to determine Afghanistan's next president. The process has been infuriating but the end product of this mess was the best possible outcome: best for Afghanistan, best for the region, and best for the United States.

    Sep 24, 2014

  • People walking near the Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia

    Commentary

    One Day in the Life of Russia

    Russia faces major challenges, some self-inflicted. Freedoms vital to the creation of a modern civil society are declining. Dominant, state-controlled energy and aerospace companies are losing ground, weakening a strained economy.

    Sep 23, 2014

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance at the October 8 Factory in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang August 31, 2014

    Commentary

    What Does North Korea Want?

    Currently, three U.S. citizens — Matthew Todd Miller, Jeffrey Fowle, and Kenneth Bae — are being detained in North Korea. It is likely that North Korea wants someone like a former U.S. president to come to North Korea instead of U.S. Ambassador Bob King, whose visits were cancelled.

    Sep 18, 2014

  • Russia's Prime Minister Medvedev and President Putin attend a meeting with members of the Russian Parliament in Yalta, Crimea, August 14, 2014

    Commentary

    Crimean Adventure Will Cost Russia Dearly

    Moscow may have overreached, as it appears ill-prepared to come up with the necessary funds to cover Crimea-related costs. Infrastructure improvements, development aid, government operations, and other costs will be a multi-billion drain — as much as $4.5 billion per year — on Russia's already strained budget.

    Sep 8, 2014

  • A soldier from the Ukrainian self-defense battalion "Azov" stands guard at a checkpoint in the southern coastal town of Mariupol, September 8, 2014

    Commentary

    The Damage Already Done in Ukraine

    The conflict in Ukraine calls for capable diplomacy, open channels of communication, and clear strategies. At least the latter two appear to be absent, but they can be developed in time. Ending the conflict, however, calls for clear mutual intent to solve problems, build trust, and move forward.

    Sep 8, 2014

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani during a meeting in Ankara, June 10, 2014

    Commentary

    Nuclear Deal or No Deal, Don't Expect Iran Changes

    The impeachment of Iranian science minister Faraji-Dana, the latest in the struggle between Iran's so-called moderates and hard-liners, is likely a sign of troubling times ahead. Rouhani is the West's best hope of the nuclear issue being addressed, but a deal could energize his rivals in their bid to stave off change.

    Sep 8, 2014

  • Report

    Portfolio Assessment of the Department of State Internet Freedom Program

    Employing portfolio analysis techniques, the authors assessed the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL)'s Internet freedom program for FY 2012-2013 to determine its project portfolio's effectiveness in performance, balance, and synergy.

    Sep 4, 2014