International Affairs Issues

This page offers an easy way for policymakers to access International Affairs research and analysis that is relevant to current Congressional agendas. For additional information, to request documents, or to arrange a briefing, contact the RAND Office of Congressional Relations at or (703) 413-1100 x5643.

Recent Findings

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping, before a meeting in Beijing, China, April 25, 2019, photo by Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool/Reuters


    China's Military Aid Is Probably Less Than You Think

    Jul 26, 2022

    The first comprehensive assessment of Chinese military aid shows that China's $560 million total during 2013–2018 pales in comparison to the U.S. total of over $35 billion in the same period. This should offer advantages in the intensifying U.S.-China strategic competition.

  • U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Ukraine's Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov in a Ukraine Defence Contact group meeting in Brussels, Belgium, June 15, 2022, photo by Yves Herman/Pool/Reuters


    Potential Pathways to Russian Escalation Against NATO

    Jul 26, 2022

    A Russia-NATO war is far from an inevitable outcome of the current conflict in Ukraine. U.S. and allied policymakers should be concerned with specific pathways and potential triggers, but they need not operate under the assumption that every action will entail acute escalation risks.

  • Hanging lightbulb with connecting dots in foreground, many hanging lightbulbs out of focus in background, photo by onurdongel/Getty Images


    Embracing Intrinsic Cultural Advantages in Innovation

    Jul 15, 2022

    The United States has long enjoyed the benefits of novel technology, but it could lose ground soon as other countries advance. Could it be time for the United States to embrace the advantages in innovation that it holds relative to near-peers like China?

  • Smoke rises from a residential building after shelling from Russian positions in northern Kharkiv as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine, March 31, 2022, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters


    Obstacles to Lasting Peace Between Ukraine and Russia

    Jul 7, 2022

    The current situation in Ukraine suggests that neither side will be able to achieve a decisive military victory that settles the disputes that led to the war. Ukraine and Russia theoretically could reach an agreement to stop the fighting, but the politics between the two sides and centuries of confrontational history do not suggest a lasting peace.

  • A student listens through headphones to an exercise in a Spanish class in Steveange, UK, photo by Ian Miles/Flashpoint Pictures/Alamy


    The Economic Returns of Foreign Language Learning

    Jul 7, 2022

    If just 10 percent more students in the United Kingdom mastered Arabic, Mandarin, French, or Spanish, the economic returns could be measured in billions of British pounds. Removing the language barrier reduces trade costs.

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    Alerts & Newsletters

    RAND periodically sends alerts and newsletters to update Congress on highlights of recent work about international affairs.

    • Red Square in Moscow, Russia, photo by mnn/Adobe Stock

      Competing Against Russia

      May 28, 2019

      The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently held a hearing on countering a resurgent Russia, and legislation has been introduced that seeks to address Moscow's destabilizing activities. What policies could the United States adopt to stress Russia’s military, its economy, or the regime's political standing at home and abroad?

    • In Case You Missed It: Russia and China in the Middle East

      May 23, 2019

      The Middle East is important to Russia, China, and the United States because of its strategic location and vast energy resources. What are the United States' strengths in this new era of strategic competition?

    • In Case You Missed It: Policy Options for Navigating Potential Arctic Scenarios

      May 21, 2019

      RAND’s Abbie Tingstad discusses findings from a recent study on Coast Guard capability gaps in the Arctic. Researchers found gaps in three major areas: communications, domain awareness, and response abilities.

    • In Case You Missed It: The U.S.-European Partnership Since World War II

      Apr 4, 2019

      How has the relationship between the United States and Europe advanced U.S. and global security over the past 70 years? RAND's Christine Wormuth explains why NATO is still relevant today and why this relationship is critical to U.S. security now and in the future.

    • In Case You Missed It: Approaches to Counter Russian Social Media Influence

      Apr 1, 2019

      In this Congressional briefing, Elizabeth Bodine-Baron discusses different approaches and policy options to respond to the specific threat of Russian influence via disinformation spread on social media in the United States.

    • U.S. Army soldiers in an exercise on Udari Range Complex near Camp Buehring, Kuwait, that better prepares them to certify for future deployments, November 2017

      Considering National Security Policy in the 116th Congress

      Mar 7, 2019

      What are the biggest national security and international affairs policy issues facing the 116th Congress? RAND experts offer up insight on a variety of topics, including near peer competitors, rogue states and actors, military personnel, and more.

    • China with sunset on Earth

      The Dawn of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

      Nov 8, 2018

      As China continues to build relationships with the developing world through the Belt and Road Initiative, U.S. policymakers will be challenged with determining whether and how to encourage China to act as a cooperative partner.

    • Many bullets on a table

      In Case You Missed It: Current Trends in Terrorism and Illicit Finance

      Oct 10, 2018

      Terrorist organizations rely on funding in order to operate and achieve their objectives. It is important to keep these organizations from acquiring funds, and there are ways the United States and its partners can combat terrorist financing.

    • Printer ink bottles containing carfentanil imported from China, seized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Vancouver.

      In Case You Missed It: Evolution of the U.S. Overdose Crisis

      Sep 21, 2018

      RAND's Bryce Pardo discusses China's role in the production and supply of synthetic opioids and outlines some actions lawmakers can take to reduce this problem beyond traditional drug policy tools.

    • RS-24 Yars (SS-27) intercontinental ballistic missile on parade

      In Case You Missed It: Russian Nuclear Forces and Prospects for Arms Control

      Aug 2, 2018

      RAND's Austin Long discusses Russia's newest nuclear delivery systems and the current barriers to reaching an arms control negotiation.

    • wargaming

      Overcoming the Threats of Our Strategic Competitors

      Apr 13, 2018

      What weapon systems and posture enhancements should Congress and the Defense Department consider to prepare the United States for potential conflict? David Ochmanek provides recommendations for revising U.S. forces and force planning.

    • The intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 is seen in this undated photo in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 5, 2017

      In Case You Missed It: North Korea's Continuous Provocations

      Aug 9, 2017

      Bruce Bennett briefed congressional staff North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, China's role on the Korean Peninsula, and implications for U.S. policy.

    • In Case You Missed It: A Close Look at China's Relationship with North Korea

      Jun 23, 2017

      As North Korea's only formal ally, China is a crucial player in any effort by the U.S. to exert influence on Pyongyang. What is the potential for U.S.-China cooperation on the issue? RAND's Andrew Scobell recently testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

    • A member of the counterterrorism task force stands guard in Times Square, New York City, December 31, 2016

      National Security Issues in the 115th Congress

      May 30, 2017

      RAND experts testify and answer questions for congressional staff on a variety of national security topics. For the 115th Congress , RAND offers insights into the Russian threat, China's military transformation, the Syrian conflict, and terrorism.

    • Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C), Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L), and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia December 29, 2016

      Managing U.S. Relations with Russia After Moscow's Meddling in the Election

      Feb 6, 2017

      RAND experts provide insights to policymakers on how to deter foreign cyberattacks, manage security risks with Russia, and counter Russian propaganda.

    • The Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.

      2016 Hill Highlights

      Dec 15, 2016

      In 2016, RAND experts conducted briefings on Capitol Hill, provided testimonies before congressional committees, hosted workshops, and published reports on some of the nation's most pressing issues, including health care for veterans, autonomous vehicles, NATO military posture, and cyber policy.

    • Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with journalists after a live broadcast nationwide call-in, Moscow, April 14, 2016

      Russia's Firehose of Falsehood: Using New Technology to Spread Not-So-New Propoganda

      Oct 5, 2016

      To help further its national security goals, Russia regularly delivers false and misleading propaganda via the Internet and social media. What steps might U.S. policymakers take to counter this propaganda?

    • A group of people stand alongside a newspaper announcing Great Britain's "Brexit" from the EU

      After Brexit, What's Next?

      Jul 28, 2016

      Now that British voters have opted to leave the European Union, how will Brexit affect the transatlantic alliance and future trade agreements with the United States?

    • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a meeting of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) Central Military Commission

      In the Wake of Weapons Tests, How Stable is Kim's Regime?

      May 25, 2016

      In the months leading up to its first Workers' Party Congress since 1980, North Korea attempted missile tests and a nuclear weapons test in order to demonstrate Kim Jong-un's power. But many of these tests and his other initiatives were failures, raising serious questions about the true stability of his regime.

    • Meeting to discuss Iran nuclear deal at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne March 29, 2015

      The Iran Nuclear Deal: Considerations for Policymakers

      Jul 15, 2015

      Now that the P5+1 and Iran have struck a deal on Tehran's nuclear program, what will the agreement mean for Congress, our broader strategy on Iran, and our allies and partners in the region? RAND researchers explore considerations for policymakers and what may be coming next.

    • A section of the Israeli barrier cuts beneath the West Bank refugee camp of Shuafat, October 31, 2014

      Analyzing the Economic Costs of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

      Jun 8, 2015

      When examining the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, the economic costs are often overlooked. Recently, RAND experts analyzed how both economies are harmed by the lack of a two-state solution and found that a significant peace dividend could be achieved if the conflict could be resolved.

    • U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi before resuming talks over Iran's nuclear program in Lausanne, March 16, 2015

      What Might Follow a Potential Nuclear Agreement with Iran?

      Apr 3, 2015

      With the framework for an Iran nuclear deal in place, policymakers should consider what might happen in the days after a final deal is reached. RAND experts explore this issue, including Congress's role in implementing an agreement, regional responses, and implications for the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

    • Capt. Elrico Hernandez, battalion physician assistant for 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, discusses a training scenario as part of a primary care behavioral health seminar.

      Days After a Deal With Iran: Congress' Role in Implementing a Nuclear Agreement

      Feb 9, 2015

      Throughout the course of the nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany) and Iran, RAND experts have been engaged in a broad exercise to explore what the "Days After a Deal" might look like for a variety of actors and issues.

    •'s Redesign: New Homepage and Navigation Optimization for All Devices

      Mar 20, 2014 has been reimagined to make high quality research and insights more accessible to Hill staff like you. The new homepage and updated navigation optimize content delivery for your preferred device and place our most timely content at your fingertips.

    • RAND Study Evaluates Airpower Options for Syria Intervention

      Sep 3, 2013

      An examination of five options for U.S. and allied military intervention in the Syrian civil war using airpower warns that destroying or grounding the Syrian air force is operationally feasible but would have only marginal benefits for protecting civilians.

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