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 ocr@rand.org or (703) 413-1100 x5643.

Recent Findings

  • Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters fly a drone in Northern Afrin countryside, Syria, February 15, 2018, photo by Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Drone-Era Warfare Shows the Operational Limits of Air Defense Systems

    Jul 2, 2020

    External powers have intervened in the civil wars in Libya and Syria, supplying advanced conventional weapons that have intensified the conflicts. But not all of the weapons have performed as claimed.

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin gestures during the joint press conference with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018, photo by Lehtikuva/Jussi Nukari/Reuters

    Commentary

    Take the Bird in the Hand. Strike a Nuclear Weapons Deal with Russia

    Jul 1, 2020

    By extending New START, the Trump administration would preserve verifiable constraints on Russia's nuclear arsenal, buy time to negotiate a more comprehensive agreement, and pave the way for arms talks about intermediate-range missiles.

  • Russian military jets at Khmeimim Air Base in Syria, June 18, 2016, photo by Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry via Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia Is Eyeing the Mediterranean. The U.S. and NATO Must Be Prepared

    Jun 30, 2020

    As part of its great power exertions Russia seeks more access and freedom of movement in the Mediterranean region, and is bolstering its military footprint to achieve this objective. To address this rising challenge the United States and NATO could develop a more robust southern strategy with a reinforced air and naval presence, respectively.

  • South Korean soldiers hold flags of countries that fought in the Korean War at a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the war, near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Cheorwon, South Korea, June 25, 2020, photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is North Korea Prepared to End the Korean War?

    Jun 29, 2020

    The end of the Korean War and peace on the peninsula are no more likely to occur as the result of a peace agreement than has North Korean denuclearization occurred as the result of multiple denuclearization agreements. Ultimately, North Korean objectives matter, and real peace does not appear to be part of those objectives.

  • A U.S. military B1B Lancer on the tarmac of Andersen Air Force base, on the island of Guam, August 17, 2017, photo by Joseph Campbell/Reuters

    Commentary

    Japan and Dynamic Force Employment

    Jun 23, 2020

    In April, the United States ended a program that maintained a rotational bomber force to the U.S. territory of Guam. While the removal of a permanent bomber presence in the region has caused some in Japan to worry, U.S. commitment to Japan's defense shows no sign of changing nor does America's deterrent capability.

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Briefings

  • Chat bot in the form of binary code

    Approaches to Counter Russian Social Media Influence

    Mar 15, 2019

    How can policymakers combat the threat of Russian social media influence? Elizabeth Bodine-Baron will discuss different approaches and policy options to respond to Russian influence via disinformation spread on social media in the United States. [Washington, D.C.]

  • Chinese militaary vehicles carrying DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles, potentially capable of sinking a U.S. Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in a single strike, travel past Tiananmen Gate during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Beijing Thursday Sept. 3, 2015

    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.]

  • Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army march during a training session for a military parade, Beijing, September 1, 2015

    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.

  • A map of the world projected onto a compass

    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.

  • Delegations of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi sit around the negotiations table during their meeting in Vienna November 24, 2014

    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.

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Alerts & Newsletters

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

  • A Delta IV rocket successfully launches the Global Positioning System IIF-5 satellite from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, February 20, 2014, photo by Ben Cooper/United Launch Alliance

    The Future of Warfare in 2030

    Jun 26, 2020

    What will future conflicts look like in 2030? A new RAND series seeks to answer this question by examining the factors that shape conflict, including trends in geopolitics, the global economy, and even climate change.

  • U.S. Army soldiers deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve await aerial extraction via CH-47 Chinook during a training exercise in Iraq, October 31, 2018, photo by 1st Lt. Leland White/U.S. Army National Guard

    Establishing an Enduring Commitment in Iraq

    May 29, 2020

    Recent events have caused uncertainty about the future of the U.S. military's presence in Iraq. However, these setbacks should be viewed in a larger context: U.S. interests could suffer if strategic competition in Iraq is abandoned.

  • An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington D.C., June 15, 2005, photo by Jason Reed/Reuters

    What Does the COVID-19 Pandemic Mean for the Defense Budget?

    Apr 30, 2020

    The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a dramatic toll on the economy, and government relief efforts have increased the federal deficit. What could this crisis mean for defense spending?

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty at Prague Castle in the Czech Republic, April 8, 2010, photo by Jason Reed/Reuters

    Why Should the New START Agreement Be Extended?

    Mar 31, 2020

    Only one nuclear arms control agreement between the United States and Russia remains: the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). But that agreement expires next year.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin at his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 19, 2019, photo by Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

    What Provokes Putin's Russia?

    Feb 27, 2020

    Deterring Russia without provoking it requires an understanding of what Russia considers to be redlines. A deterrent that is too heavy-handed might prompt the precise response that it sought to avoid.

  • In Case You Missed It: From SARS to the Coronavirus

    Feb 18, 2020

    China's battle against the coronavirus highlights the importance of transparency and open collaboration among scientists globally. RAND's Jennifer Bouey shares some ways the United States can help China manage the pandemic.

  • In Case You Missed It: Escalation with Iran

    Feb 13, 2020

    In response to the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran is likely to continue to take action against the United States. RAND's Ariane Tabatabai describes some of the tools Iran could use to challenge the United States.

  • An activist outside the Dutch embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, holds a banner that says not to listen to Russian propaganda, February 5, 2016, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Competing against Russia in the Gray Zone

    Jan 30, 2020

    RAND researchers ran a series of war games to explore Russian gray zone aggression--ranging from disinformation to electoral interference to little green men--in Europe.

  • In Case You Missed It: Implications of U.S.-China Collaborations on Global Health Issues

    Aug 27, 2019

    As the world's two largest economies, the United States and China face increasingly similar public health challenges. RAND's Jennifer Bouey outlines some potential initiatives that should be considered for future U.S.-China collaborations.

  • In Case You Missed It: Illicit Supply of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids

    Aug 1, 2019

    RAND's Bryce Pardo discusses how illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids, often from China, are changing the U.S. drug policy landscape. He outlines four potential policy responses to combat the synthetic opioid crisis.

  • 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.


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