Private International Law

International law governs the relationships among nations and international organizations and includes humanitarian, criminal, military, maritime, trade, and environmental laws and treaties such as the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. RAND research has helped to clarify issues of global governance with regard to the environment, counterterrorism and security, piracy, human and drug trafficking, and finance.

  • Journal Article

    Blunt Defenders of Sovereignty: The Rise of Coast Guards of East and Southeast Asia

    Rather than employing coast guards as tools of regional peace, countries are using them, as opposed to naval forces, as aggressive instruments of state power to assert territorial claims—a new and destabilizing phenomenon in maritime territorial disputes.

    Mar 16, 2017

  • Philippine Coast Guard's Special Operations Group secures mock pirates during a rescue drill exercise with Japan's Coast Guard off Manila Bay, Philippines, July 13, 2016

    Commentary

    The Era of Coast Guards in the Asia-Pacific Is Upon Us

    Coast guards, not navies, are the new asset of choice in East and Southeast Asia to assert sovereignty over disputed waters. China has been expanding its coast guard fleet and many states, like Vietnam and the Philippines, lack the funds to match it.

    Mar 8, 2017

  • China's President Xi Jinping and Vietnam's Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong shake hands at the Central Communist Party Office in Hanoi, Vietnam, November 5, 2015

    Commentary

    China Tolerating Vietnam's South China Sea Activities, for Now

    China has probably tolerated Vietnam's South China Sea construction activities because it feels confident in its military position in the region. Chinese leaders might change their stance if they believe Vietnam is trying to enlist the support of the U.S. or other partners to settle bilateral disputes.

    Mar 3, 2017

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Tipping Points in the Arctic

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, a panel of experts discuss several potential economic, environmental, and political "game changers" that could affect strategic decisions in the Arctic region.

    Mar 2, 2017

  • The sun sets on Ice Camp Sargo during Ice Exercise 2016 at the Arctic Circle, March 8, 2016

    Report

    How to Maintain Arctic Cooperation with Russia

    Despite tensions between Russia and the West, Arctic cooperation has remained intact. But America should prepare for changes that may alter Moscow's incentives. These include rising interest in Arctic resources and greater maritime access due to climate change.

    Mar 2, 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

  • 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

    Maritime Issues in the East and South China Seas: Summary of a Conference Held January 12–13, 2016

    This conference summary presents key insights from a January 2016 conference focusing on maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas.

    Dec 12, 2016

  • A Korea Coast Guard ship

    Commentary

    South Korea Cracks Down on Illegal Chinese Fishing, with Violent Results

    In the Yellow Sea and elsewhere, Chinese fishermen have shown an increasing willingness to challenge attempts by coast guards to enforce fishing laws. Earlier this week, after repeated warnings, the Korea Coast Guard opened fire on a Chinese vessel fishing illegally in Korean waters.

    Nov 4, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama (right) stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during an arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington, September 25, 2015

    Commentary

    China's Actions Are Causing U.S. 'Militarization' of the Pacific

    Beijing's aggression in the Asia-Pacific is threatening key U.S. allies, causing America to respond. Any change in U.S. policy must be based on changes in Chinese behavior.

    Nov 3, 2016

  • Moral compass image from RR1505

    Project

    Understanding the Moral Dimension of Conflict

    Cyber and autonomous capabilities challenge the core principles of morality frameworks in a number of ways. While a prominent question in the public debate is whether morality can be reduced to an algorithm, the body of academic work on the subject is more nuanced.

    Oct 24, 2016

  • Report

    The moral component of cross-domain conflict

    The study considers the body of work on morality and armed conflict in the future operating environment and provides insights on the ways in which new ways of fighting may challenge traditional moral principles.

    Oct 20, 2016

  • News Release

    U.S. Interests Abroad Face Steep Challenges

    The United States' interests abroad are facing challenges because the alliances, economic institutions, and political relationships that have made up the international order since the end of World War II are under threat from global upheaval.

    Oct 19, 2016

  • Globes on Chicago Museum Campus

    Project

    Building a Sustainable International Order

    Experts are assessing challenges to the post-war international order and how U.S. strategy might adapt to today's changing world.

    Oct 19, 2016

  • Report

    Building a Sustainable International Order: Summary of the First Workshop in the International Order Project Series

    This conference summary reflects key insights from a January 2016 workshop discussion that informed the next stages of a project titled "Building a Sustainable International Order."

    Oct 19, 2016

  • Report

    American Grand Strategy and the Liberal Order: Continuity, Change, and Options for the Future

    This Perspective examines continuity and change in U.S. engagement with the liberal international order over time, outlines four alternatives for a future U.S. approach to grand strategy, and proposes criteria for choosing among these options.

    Oct 19, 2016

  • A globe and marbles balancing

    Report

    U.S. Interests Abroad Face Steep Challenges

    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.

    Oct 19, 2016

  • A Chinese Coast Guard vessel is pictured on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea, March 29, 2014

    Commentary

    The Crucial South China Sea Ruling No One Is Talking About

    The PCA found in July that China's coast guard had breached several UNCLOS articles governing safety and navigation at sea. Hopefully, this will help build a legal case that abiding by basic maritime safety principles is in the interest of all countries, including China.

    Sep 16, 2016

  • News Release

    U.S. Rules for Targeted Killing Using Drones Need Clarifying

    Current U.S. policies on using drones for targeted killing are characterized by ambiguities in interpretations of international law and too many generalities, despite recent efforts by the Obama administration to clarify the policies.

    Sep 8, 2016

  • A U.S. Air Force remotely piloted aircraft

    Report

    Clarifying the Rules for Using Drones in Targeted Killing

    U.S. international legal policies involving the use of drones in targeted killing need more clarity, specificity, and consistency. Policymakers must define an approach that protects civilians and human rights, while allowing latitude to fight terrorism.

    Sep 8, 2016