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.

  • 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

    Blog

    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

    Blog

    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

    Blog

    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

    Blog

    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

    Blog

    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

    Blog

    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

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

    Blog

    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

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

    Blog

    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

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

    Blog

    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

  • 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

  • Journal Article

    A Promising Thaw

    The relationship between New Zealand and the United States has seen ups and downs over the past 60 years, but the two countries have entered a new era characterized by the ability to agree to disagree.

    Sep 1, 2014

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, in Minsk, August 26, 2014

    Blog

    A Diplomatic Solution for Ukraine

    Despite uncertainty about Russian military plans and the outcome of Ukrainian operations against pro-Russian separatists, it's not too soon to consider how to lay the foundations for a negotiated solution. If Moscow were unwilling to reach a fair settlement, the West would have options to increase its leverage.

    Aug 27, 2014

  • People walk along the street soon after, what locals say, was recent shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Donetsk on August 20, 2014

    Blog

    Make Russia an Offer on Ukraine It Can't Refuse

    An international initiative that does not appear to emanate from NATO or the EU could help bring Russia to the table, in part by accepting that Moscow, too, has a role. An international peacekeeping force could open the way for a negotiated end to the conflict.

    Aug 20, 2014

  • U.S. President Barack Obama meets with the National Security Council in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington

    Blog

    Taking It One Crisis at a Time

    The main difference between the immediate post-Cold War decade and the post-9/11 era as regards the variety of international challenges is that during that earlier period these challenges were faced and dealt with seriatim, rather than allowed to accumulate.

    Aug 19, 2014

  • NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during an interview with Reuters at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, August 11, 2014

    Blog

    NATO's Crucial Summit

    President Obama can take action now to ensure the September NATO summit in Wales underscores transatlantic resolve and capability in the face of Russian aggression and provide the strong, decisive U.S. leadership NATO needs in this time of crisis.

    Aug 15, 2014

  • Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping shake hands before the opening ceremony of the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia summit in Shanghai May 21, 2014

    Report

    China's Strategy Toward South and Central Asia

    China's response to the complex challenges on its western borders during the past two decades has been to adopt an "Empty Fortress" strategy, whereby China boldly projects an image of considerable strength in Central and South Asia to mask serious frailty. China is not a major threat to U.S. interests there and is unlikely to pose one in the near future.

    Aug 11, 2014

  • A woman walks out of the office of the Moscow Exchange in Moscow, August 1, 2014

    Blog

    Step It Up, Europe

    Despite the latest sanctions on Russia, the European Union will need to do more to achieve its objectives in Ukraine. In addition to much tougher economic sanctions, NATO could help Ukrainians by providing military assistance, weapons, training, and intelligence, and deploying air and naval forces closer to the conflict.

    Aug 6, 2014

  • Capt. James T. Jones, commanding officer of the USS Shiloh, greets Rear Adm. Zhang Wendan of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy

    Multimedia

    China: The Reluctant Partner

    There's a high probability that the establishment of a U.S. Global SOF Network will reinforce Beijing's extreme insecurities about Washington's intentions towards China, and heighten Chinese perceptions of enhanced U.S. military encirclement capabilities. However, if China is invited to partner with U.S. Special Operations Forces, this may alter Chinese thinking on military cooperation.

    Jul 30, 2014

  • A demonstrator, her face painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag, outside the Israeli Embassy in London, July 26, 2014

    Blog

    Gaza and the Nuclear Negotiations

    Whether a deal materializes that meets Iranian demands for a civilian nuclear program, but is limited enough to satisfy the U.S. and its partners remains to be seen. But the longer the Gaza conflict continues, the harder it'll be to insulate the negotiations from broader regional trends.

    Jul 28, 2014

  • A convoy of hearses bearing the remains of the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 leaves Eindhoven airport in the Netherlands, July 24, 2014

    Blog

    A Missile's Deadly Message

    Putin's stubbornness on Ukraine has attracted international scorn, threatened Russia's already shaky economy, and focused NATO on countering potential Russian aggression. It's also sparked anti-Russian and pro-NATO sentiments in Central and Eastern Europe. The tragic loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 only intensifies these sentiments.

    Jul 25, 2014