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

  • Commentary

    The U.S. Withdrawal from Syria Is an Opportunity for China

    Feb 15, 2019

    The U.S. withdrawal from Syria could allow Beijing to further assert its role as a key international partner in Syria and, by extension, further its interests in the Middle East. The extent of Sino-Syrian cooperation remains ambiguous but it has reportedly deepened, with China supplying intelligence personnel, strategic advisors, and special forces.

  • Commentary

    Russia Chooses Paupers as Partners, with Questionable Benefit

    Feb 14, 2019

    By leveraging the efficiencies of globalization and cultivating ties with prosperous partners, Russia could increase its economic potential and improve living standards for its people. And by engaging more positively with the world, it could gain influence in the forums that matter, such as the G20 and multilateral institutions.

  • Commentary

    The Warsaw Summit Is No Madrid

    Feb 13, 2019

    The peace process begun in Madrid nearly 30 years ago showed promise, but ultimately stalled, and will need rethinking to adapt to today's Middle East. The world could use a worthy successor. The Warsaw summit probably isn't it.

  • Commentary

    The Need to Think More Clearly About 'Great-Power Competition'

    Feb 11, 2019

    Today's world order is increasingly defined by competition between the United States and a host of major powers, especially China and Russia. Who is America's principal competitor and over what is it competing? What is America’s ultimate objective? And how will it prepare its economy and its society for infinite competition of an indefinite nature?

  • Commentary

    The Islamic Republic's Foreign Policy at Forty

    Feb 8, 2019

    Forty years have passed since the Islamic Revolution. While Iran hasn't departed from its revolutionary roots, its foreign policy today is largely shaped by threat perceptions and interests, not ideology.

More Research on International Affairs


  • Overcoming the Threats of Our Strategic Competitors

    Mar 27, 2018

    What weapon systems and posture enhancements should Congress and the Defense Department consider to prepare the United States for potential conflicts? In a RAND Congressional Briefing, David Ochmanek will discuss solutions that could help defend against national security challenges. [Washington, D.C.]

  • United States and China: Trends in Military Competition

    Oct 5, 2015

    Eric Heginbotham discusses relative U.S. and Chinese military capabilities, including the evolution of Chinese military capabilities, steps the United States can take to limit the impact of a growing Chinese military on deterrence, and other U.S. strategic interests.

  • Strategic Rethink: Choices for America in a Turbulent World

    Jul 24, 2015

    How does America envision its role in a turbulent geopolitical environment with growing challenges? Ambassador James Dobbins, Howard Shatz, and David Ochmanek examine the most consequential choices that are likely to face this president and the next.

  • Congressional Options and Their Likely Consequences for a Nuclear Deal with Iran

    Dec 16, 2014

    With nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 now extended beyond the original Nov. 24 deadline, some members of Congress might now attempt to intervene legislatively. RAND analyst Larry Hanauer will discuss eight potential courses of action that Congress could take that might either facilitate, hinder, or block implementation of a deal.

  • Israeli, Saudi, and Iranian Responses in the Days After a Deal With Iran: What Are the U.S. Options?

    Jun 4, 2014

    RAND experts will discuss the likely concerns and reactions of Israel and Saudi Arabia and the internal power dynamics and motivations of the Iranian government. Understanding these factors and U.S. options to address them will be critical for policymakers to implement a final nuclear agreement.

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Alerts & Newsletters

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • RAND Experts Available on Latest Developments in Egypt

    Jul 11, 2013

    RAND Middle East experts are available to discuss the latest events in Egypt, including the shooting deaths of protesters in Cairo and the possibility the U.S. will halt its Egyptian foreign aid program.

  • Intervention in Mali

    Feb 21, 2013

    With Mali facing an uncertain future, it is unclear what role regional and international actors will play as the struggle for control of Mali continues. RAND has several country and regional experts that have examined the conflict from several perspectives.

  • SOTU Policy Preview

    Feb 11, 2013

    Preparing for the State of the Union address? Here is a preview of topics from President Obama's inaugural address that he may cover on Tuesday night, along with helpful links to related RAND analyses, reports, and commentary.

  • Who Are the Muslim Brotherhood Youth and What Does That Mean for U.S. Policy?

    Jan 24, 2013

    The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) emerged as one of the most consequential actors in post-Mubarak Egypt, operating the Freedom and Justice Party that won a strong plurality in the 2011-2012 parliamentary elections and claimed the presidency. But generational divides constitute a major challenge to the MB's organizational cohesion.

  • Do Targeted Killings Work?

    Oct 23, 2012

    Can the targeted killing of militant leaders be an effective component of a security strategy? In recent work, RAND's Patrick Johnston argues that past targeted capture/kill operations have weakened militant organizations.

  • Must-Reads for Tonight's Foreign Policy Debate

    Oct 22, 2012

    RAND experts analyze six foreign policy issues that the next U.S. president will have to confront in 2013 and beyond.

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