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RAND's international affairs research comprises a range of cross-cutting issues, including global economies and trade, space and maritime security, diplomacy, global health and education, nation building, and regional security and stability. RAND also analyzes the policies and effectiveness of international organizations such as the UN, NATO, European Union, and ASEAN.

  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and UAE's deputy commander-in-chief of the armed forces, meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, December 14, 2015, photo by Fred Dufour/Reuters/Pool

    Report

    China Invests Warily in the Middle East

    Dec 5, 2016

    China endeavors to protect its expanding interests in the Middle East by not taking sides in conflicts and controversies. The United States should encourage China to get more involved in efforts to improve regional stability while reassuring partners of its own commitment to the region.

  • ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson speaks during the 26th World Gas Conference in Paris, France, June 2, 2015, photo by Benoit Tessier/Reuters

    Commentary

    Rex Tillerson's Many Challenges

    Dec 24, 2016

    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.

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  • U.S. Army sergeant helps direct an M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle off a flatbed on Tapa Army Base, Estonia, June 4, 2015

    Testimony

    What It Will Take to Deter Russian Aggression in the Baltics

    The U.S. and NATO confront three challenges in deterring Russian aggression in the Baltics. Solving all three is vital to achieving core American objectives in Europe, which have been consistent and strong since 1945. The first step is to keep NATO in the game.

    Mar 1, 2017

  • A U.S. Army Soldier assigned to 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, provides security during Decisive Action Rotation 16-06 at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif

    Testimony

    How to Build the Army America Will Need

    The world has changed since 2014, when the size and capabilities of today's U.S. forces were set. As the Trump administration develops its defense policy and strategy, it must assess whether further growth in ground force size, capabilities, and posture are needed.

    Mar 1, 2017

  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) listens to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (2ndR) at the start of a meeting at the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany, February 16, 2017

    Commentary

    U.S. Should Test Russia on Islamic State

    The United States should consider accepting Russia's offer to help on ISIS, especially if the Trump administration is considering sending more troops or establishing safe zones in Syria.

    Feb 28, 2017

  • Brexit concept, with British and EU flags painted on a cracked wall

    Project

    Defence and Security after Brexit

    Photo by lukbar/Getty Images Background On 23rd June 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU), a decision known as ‘Brexit’. In the months since the referendum decision, debates on the forthcoming Brexit negotiations have focused on topics such as trade, sovereignty and immigration. However, the ...

    Feb 27, 2017

  • U.S. Marines were among 4,000 soldiers from 11 NATO countries who participated in Exercise Iron Sword 16 in Lithuania

    Commentary

    America's NATO Partners Should Engage Trump in Brussels

    At May's NATO summit in Brussels, President Trump will be looking for a symbolic victory rather than a confrontation with 27 other national leaders. Therefore, Europe needs to create a positive outcome for him in advance.

    Feb 27, 2017

  • Japan Coast Guard vessel PS206 Houou sails in front of Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea, August 18, 2013

    Commentary

    The New 'Normal' in the East China Sea

    China and Japan are engaged in a long-term test of wills over disputed waters and territory in the East China Sea. The Japanese government has acknowledged the challenge it faces and has begun to invest in infrastructure and personnel projects to address it.

    Feb 27, 2017

  • A mother and daugher ride on an urban bike path

    Essay

    What Are the Social Determinants of Health?

    Health care alone can only go so far to promote health. Evidence suggests that where and how people live plays at least as big a role in how well and how long they live.

    Feb 24, 2017

  • Estonian soldiers in a military parade celebrate Estonia's Independence Day near the Russian border in Narva, February 24, 2015

    Report

    The Potential for Russian Hybrid Warfare in the Baltics

    Russia would likely have trouble using nonviolent tactics to destabilize the Baltics. Covert violent action is also unlikely to succeed on its own. Thus, the Baltics' main vulnerability is Russia's local superiority in conventional forces.

    Feb 23, 2017

  • Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen waves during National Day celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan, October 10, 2016

    Commentary

    Why China Should Feel Good About Taiwan

    Chinese leaders should seek to engage in good-faith discussions with Taiwanese counterparts. Beijing should also recognize that Tsai's tentativeness about the new U.S. administration could change if cross-Strait military tensions escalate.

    Feb 22, 2017

  • 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

    A pivotal moment could be nearing for China's global role and its relationship with the United States. And America may be able to seize a historic opportunity to test Beijing's willingness to act as the co-sponsor of a stable world order.

    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

  • Journal Article

    Evaluating a Complex Research Capacity-Building Intervention: Reflections on an Evaluation of the African Institutions Initiative

    This article shares learning from the experience of conducting a participatory, real-time, 'theory driven' evaluation of the African Institutions Initiative, a Wellcome Trust-funded programme that aimed to build sustainable health research capacity in Africa at institutional and network levels, across seven research consortia.

    Feb 13, 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

  • New shoe and old shoe side by side.

    Commentary

    Trends in Inequality and the World's Eight Richest Men

    While Oxfam reports have done a good job of bringing attention to the problem of inequality, they may give the false impression that global inequality has been rising instead of falling. Global inequality has actually been on the decline while inequality within the developed world is increasing.

    Feb 10, 2017

  • U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force special forces personnel participate in a training exercise at Naval Station Pascagoula, Mississippi, October 26, 2016

    Commentary

    The Mission to Counter WMD: Avoiding Missteps While Transitioning Responsibility

    U.S. Special Operations Command will soon lead the Pentagon's anti-WMD efforts. SOCOM is well positioned to contain and reduce threats, but will need new expertise to prevent the acquisition of related material and respond to crises.

    Feb 10, 2017

  • Displaced people who fled ISIS arrive at a military checkpoint before being transported to camps in eastern Mosul, Iraq, January 25, 2017

    Commentary

    Stabilizing Mosul After the Battle Against ISIS

    U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have retaken the east bank of Mosul and are planning to take the west soon. The military operations that oust ISIS are crucial to the city's liberation but failing to get the civilian response right risks a widening civil war.

    Feb 9, 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

  • 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

  • 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