United Nations

The United Nations plays a significant role in the development and maintenance of international security, humanitarian laws, and social progress. RAND has examined the efficacy and effectiveness of the United Nations in such areas as nation-building, peacekeeping, and stability operations.

  • Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah holds up his ink-stained finger as he casts his vote at a polling station in Kabul June 14, 2014

    Blog

    Victory, Afghan Style

    A good outcome in Afghanistan seems less likely now than a few weeks ago, but there is still cause for guarded optimism: before this electoral season, few would have guessed that the final showdown would be between a pair of level-headed pro-Western moderates rather than two foul, bloodstained warlords.

    Jun 23, 2014

  • Libyans protesting against the General National Congress in Benghazi February 28, 2014

    Report

    Libya Needs More International Support

    The international community's limited approach to post-conflict stabilization of Libya has left the nation struggling and on the brink of civil war. The essential tasks of establishing security, building political and administrative institutions, and restarting the economy were left almost entirely up to Libya's new leaders. No international forces were deployed to keep the peace, in contrast with NATO interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

    Mar 17, 2014

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sits between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the United Nations Headquarters after the P5+1 member nations concluded a nuclear deal with Iran in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 24, 2013.

    Blog

    A First Step in Geneva

    The Geneva agreement is only a first step toward a comprehensive deal but it is an important achievement. Iran's ability to move toward a nuclear weapons breakout capability has been halted in return for limited sanctions relief.

    Nov 25, 2013

  • Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan addresses a news conference after his release on October 10

    Blog

    Libya Needs Outside Help to Avoid Perpetual War

    If steps are not taken to get control of security, there is little hope for Libya's future. Qaddafi's fateful warning that Libya would become a “Somalia on the Mediterranean” without him could come true. The investment that NATO and its partners made in toppling Qaddafi would then be almost entirely wasted.

    Oct 11, 2013

  • Norway's newly elected prime minister Erna Solberg

    Blog

    Could Norway Be Key to a Future Syria Strike?

    If Syrian acceptance of the Russia-backed plan that is supposed to see it give up its chemical weapons turns out to be a stalling tactic — as many believe it is — support for strikes from allies like Norway will be all the more important to the White House, writes Christopher S. Chivvis.

    Sep 26, 2013

  • U.N. chemical weapons experts investigating a gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians in the suburbs of Damascus

    Blog

    The Hidden Conclusions in the U.N.'s Syria Gas Report

    The lethality of the munitions used in Syria point directly to an actor with significant capacities and long experience using chemical weaponry and artillery, writes James T. Quinlivan. And that fingers the notoriously abusive Assad regime, not the outmatched, outgunned and frantically improvising rebels.

    Sep 25, 2013

  • U.S. soldier provides pens to Iraqi boy

    Blog

    Unlearning the Lessons of Iraq

    Trepidation about boots-on-the-ground engagement has unnecessarily forestalled even small-scale efforts to repair Libya's fractured security environment....Meanwhile, in Syria, the over-learned lessons of Iraq are taking an even more serious toll, writes Christopher Chivvis.

    Mar 14, 2013

  • Cambodian garment factory workers travel home from work in Kampong Chhnang province, north of Phnom Penh

    Report

    The Benefits of Nation-Building Interventions Have Exceeded the Costs

    Most interventions in the past 25 years have been followed by improved security, some degree of democratization, and significant economic growth—with only a modest commitment of international military and civilian manpower and economic assistance.

    Feb 4, 2013

  • Farmer in Kirkuk, Iraq voices his concerns to a U.S. Army soldier

    Blog

    U.S. Role in Kirkuk Could Promote Peace, Prevent Conflict in Northern Iraq

    No matter which presidential candidate occupies the White House in January, he should make a concerted effort to address Iraq's most combustible hotspot: the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, writes Larry Hanauer.

    Nov 5, 2012

  • Report

    Resolving Kirkuk: Lessons Learned from Settlements of Earlier Ethno-Territorial Conflicts

    Past efforts to resolve ethno-territorial conflicts in Brčko, Mostar, Northern Ireland, and Jerusalem provide insights that could facilitate a negotiated settlement of the status of the disputed Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

    May 9, 2012

  • Report

    The Challenges of International Intervention in the Wake of Conflict

    Governments intervening in post-conflict states face challenges and dilemmas regarding stabilization and reconstruction, where measures that may improve conditions in one respect may undermine them in another. A review of relevant literature seeks to inform strategic planning at the whole-of-government level.

    Oct 10, 2011

  • Report

    Managing Arab-Kurd Tensions in Northern Iraq After the Withdrawal of U.S. Troops

    Continuing tensions between Arab and Kurdish communities in Iraq could lead to inadvertent armed conflict unless Iraqi leaders resolve outstanding disputes regarding federalism, the legal and political status of disputed territories, and the management of northern Iraq's oil and gas resources.

    Jul 25, 2011

  • Blog

    Odd Man Out at Sea

    The United States has yet to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. As a result, the U.S., the world's leading maritime power, is at a military and economic disadvantage, write Thad W. Allen, Richard L. Armitage, and John J. Hamre.

    Apr 25, 2011

  • Blog

    Industry Insights: What's So Hard About Stopping Piracy?

    Containing persistent maritime disorder might be more fruitful and could lay the foundations for a successful transition to better use of the sea once the societal factors—an even longer term problem—have been resolved, writes Laurence Smallman.

    Apr 11, 2011

  • Blog

    The Allies in Libya: A New Paradigm for Intervention?

    What has been happening in North Africa this year, in what seems to be the leading edge of a great wind of change sweeping the Arab world, will require the Europeans (along with the U.S. and others) to be deeply and durably engaged there — economically, politically and in humanitarian terms, writes Robert E. Hunter.

    Apr 10, 2011

  • News Release

    European Union Has Developed a Nascent, but Growing Capacity to Deploy and Employ Armed Force

    Over the past few years, the European Union has demonstrated the capacity to deploy and employ armed force outside its borders in support of broader common policy objectives, creating a new player in nation-building operations.

    Jul 8, 2008

  • Blog

    An Independent Kosovo Was a Part of the U.N.'s Plan

    Diplomatic wrangling over Kosovo’s declaration of independence this week has created a good deal of misunderstanding about the U.N. Security Council Resolution that defines that society’s current status and future evolution, writes James Dobbins.

    Feb 25, 2008

  • Testimony

    A Comparative Evaluation of United Nations Peacekeeping

    James Dobbins discusses the performance of the United Nations in peacekeeping missions in testimony presented before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs' Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight.

    Jun 11, 2007

  • Blog

    What's to Stop Kim Now?

    Published commentary by RAND staff: What's to Stop Kim Now?, in International Herald Tribune.

    Oct 17, 2006

  • Journal Article

    Law and Order in an Emerging Democracy: Lessons from the Reconstruction of Kosovo's Police and Justice Systems

    This study examines the reconstruction by the United Nations of Kosovo's internal security infrastructure from 1999 to 2004.

    Dec 31, 2005