Diplomatic Relations

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Diplomacy, the practice of international relations, is an area in which RAND has significant research experience. Among RAND's many experts are former ambassadors whose research and commentary on both long-term efforts and current events shed light on how diplomatic ventures can be integral to national security goals and activities, including traditional military interventions, nuclear arms control, and nation-building efforts.

  • Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, June 25, 2020, photo by Mark Makela/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Biden Can't Turn Back the Clock on the Iran Nuclear Deal

    Mar 1, 2021

    Enacted in 2016, the Iran nuclear deal was predicated on a geopolitical context that no longer exists. Addressing Iran's nuclear program today may require a different solution.

  • The guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett (DDG 104) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) transit the South China Sea, February 9, 2021, photo by MC3 Cheyenne Geletka/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Biden's China Reset Is Already on the Ropes

    Mar 15, 2021

    The prospects of a U.S.-China reset are rapidly fading, and both sides bear some measure of responsibility. Beijing has refused to change its own assertive behavior. And all signs thus far point to a Biden administration that plans to take an exceptionally hard line against China.

Explore International Diplomacy

  • Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden walk on the Colonnade prior to their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 16, 2021, photo by Doug Mills/Pool via CNP/InStar

    Commentary

    'Joe-Yoshi' Spirit Buoys Japan-U.S. Alliance in Turbulent Seas

    President Biden and Prime Minister Suga appear to have established a warm, personal rapport while communicating a clear vision of the importance of working together to end the pandemic, combat climate change, preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific, and defend democracy.

    Apr 20, 2021

  • Time-lapse of Starry Night Sky

    Multimedia

    The Need for Space Norms

    RAND senior political scientist Stephen Flanagan discusses the increasing level of space activity and the need for space norms to provide guidance for how nations should conduct space operations.

    Apr 20, 2021

  • China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exchange documents during the signing ceremony of a 25-year cooperation agreement, in Tehran, Iran March 27, 2021, photo by Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Does Not Have to Be America's Enemy in the Middle East

    China and Iran made a deal in which China promised to boost its investment in Iranian infrastructure in exchange for a steady supply of oil. This uptick in Chinese influence does not necessarily erode U.S. power in the region. The United States may even find overlapping interests with China since both have a stake in containing conflicts and instability.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • A perimeter fence around what is officially known as a vocational skills education center in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, September 4, 2018, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Upcoming Summit an Opportunity for Japan to Reconsider Whether to Join Rest of G-7 in Sanctioning China Over Genocide

    Japan has been lukewarm in its response to global condemnation of China's crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang. What options might President Biden have to encourage Japan to reconsider its position as he hosts his first in-person summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga?

    Apr 15, 2021

  • European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora and Iranian Deputy at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abbas Araghchi wait for the start of a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria April 6, 2021

    Commentary

    The Biden Administration Will Find It Difficult to Contain Israel and Iran's Escalating Tensions

    Iran is blaming Israel for a blackout at one of its nuclear research facilities. This attack is likely to complicate nuclear diplomacy and further erode trust between Tehran and Washington. Also, it may only incentivize Iran to advance its nuclear program.

    Apr 14, 2021

  • A New Vision for the Middle East

    Multimedia

    A New Vision for the Middle East

    Dalia Dassa Kaye and Linda Robinson discuss their study, Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East, in which fundamental questions such as whether and how the U.S. should engage with the region were explored.

    Apr 13, 2021

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi at a joint press conference in Tokyo, March 16, 2021, photo by Yomiuri Shimbun/Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden Puts Japan at the Center of U.S. Policy in Asia

    Addressing the Chinese threat in the Indo-Pacific requires working with allies and partners. So far, Japan appears to be one of the priority relationships for the Biden administration.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft return after a long-range raid from Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Nov. 4, 2016, photo by Sergeant Major Michael Cato/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    The United States Considers Reinforcing Its 'Pacific Sanctuary'

    Soon after he took office, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered a posture review to ensure that the U.S. global footprint is the right size to support U.S. strategy. Japan's continued importance to U.S. strategy and Tokyo's increased willingness to be more proactive in the security domain mean that Japan could see an uptick in U.S. military presence after this review is complete.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • Blog

    Trust in the CDC, Teaching Students with Disabilities, Russian Mercenaries: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses declining trust in the CDC, insights from educators about teaching students with disabilities, Russian mercenaries, and more.

    Apr 9, 2021

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the Prime Minister's office in Tokyo, Japan, March 16, 2021, photo by Eugene Hoshiko/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Japan-U.S. Summit and Cooperation with South Korea

    The Biden administration's goal of renewed Japan–South Korea–U.S. trilateralism is laudable and promising, but substantial obstacles remain. The passage of time alone is not going to strengthen ties between South Korea and Japan. Washington may have to play a leading role if it wants to see relations between Seoul and Tokyo improve.

    Apr 6, 2021

  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (R) and Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne (L) participate in the inaugural Quad leaders meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in a virtual meeting in Sydney, Australia, March 13, 2021, photo by Dean Lewins/Reuters

    Commentary

    What to Expect When You're Expecting So Much from the Quad

    In March, the leaders of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia met virtually for their first Quadrilateral Security Dialogue group meeting. What are the goals of the Quad? What tangibly can or will the Quad do and what does it look like in practice?

    Mar 31, 2021

  • The modern creative communication and internet network connect in smart city, photo by Blue Planet Studio/AdobeStock

    Multimedia

    U.S.-Japan Alliance Conference: Advancing Cooperation on Defense and Strategic Technology

    In its ongoing U.S.-Japan Alliance conference series, RAND hosted two virtual events in February 2021 to tackle important topics facing the United States and Japan.

    Mar 31, 2021

  • People walk at a street market in Sanaa, Yemen, February 5, 2021, photo by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

    Commentary

    Congressional Options to Advance Peace in Yemen

    An enduring peace in Yemen will require addressing Yemen's most immediate needs while working to develop its economic, political, and security institutions. U.S. lawmakers have the tools to help shape this effort and could help end the conflict and bring stability to Yemen.

    Mar 29, 2021

  • Multimedia

    Multimedia

    Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East Panel Discussion

    The start of a new U.S. administration offers an opportunity to rethink some of the fundamental premises underlying American policymaking in the Middle East.

    Mar 29, 2021

  • L-R: Bahrain Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the Abraham Accords signing ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C., September 15, 2020, photo by Gripas Yuri/ABACA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Abraham Accords Offer Historic Opportunity to Spur Mideast Growth

    The Abraham Accords have heralded a dramatic shift in the relationship between Israel and the Muslim nations of the world. While these accords represent a major political breakthrough, they also represent a possible new chapter in the region's development: away from conflict and toward a shared economic vision of prosperity.

    Mar 25, 2021

  • Blog

    Game Theory to Help the Vaccine Rollout, Abraham Accords, Telehealth: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how game theory can help the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, potential economic benefits of the Abraham Accords, telemedicine use during the pandemic, and more.

    Mar 19, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a nationally televised address to the nation in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., March 11, 2021, photo by Chris Kleponis /Pool via CNP/Reuters

    Commentary

    Reevaluating U.S. Partnerships in the Middle East Under the Biden Administration

    U.S. partnerships in the Middle East are in particular need of modernization, and the Biden administration could seize the opportunity to reevaluate its relations with traditional partners. A good start could be to elevate regional stability as the United States' primary interest in the Middle East and to pursue this aim with tools that extend beyond military cooperation.

    Mar 17, 2021

  • Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, observes ship formation from the USS Nimitz in the South China Sea, February 9, 2021, photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Vietnam Must Be Pleased with the Biden Administration—for the Most Part

    After four years of steadily strengthening U.S.-Vietnam security relations under the Trump administration, the presidential transition to Joe Biden naturally carries some measure of uncertainty for Hanoi. Early signs from the Biden administration, however, are extremely positive for Vietnam.

    Mar 16, 2021

  • Delegates attend talks between Afghan government and Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar, September 12, 2020, photo by Ibraheem al Omari/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Biden Administration's Afghanistan Challenge

    American efforts to speed up plodding Afghan peace talks seem unlikely to produce results fast enough to facilitate a withdrawal of remaining American and NATO forces by May 1. But the initiative could prove beneficial if it impels the two Afghan sides to at least begin engaging on the principles upon which an expanded government should operate.

    Mar 16, 2021