Geopolitical Strategic Competition


  • Commentary

    The Drivers of and Outlook for Russian-Iranian Cooperation

    Russia and Iran's recent cooperation regarding Ukraine has raised concerns that the once wary partners might be moving toward a more comprehensive, strategic alliance. Such a prospect could have significant consequences for the United States' ability to safeguard its interests in the Middle East.

    Oct 4, 2023

  • Research Brief

    How Could the United States Gain Greater Access to Asia During a Conflict?

    Ensuring access to the territories of Indo-Pacific allies and partners in the event of a future conflict with China is a critical concern. How are Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, and India likely to make access decisions? And can the United States influence their decisions?

    Nov 28, 2023

Explore Geopolitical Strategic Competition

  • U.S President Joe Biden says goodbye to Chinese President Xi Jinping at the end of the APEC meeting in San Francisco, California, November 18, 2023, photo by EyePress News/Reuters


    Interdependence and Its Discontents: Why Would Nations with Incentives to Avoid It Go to War?

    It's tempting to think that interdependence between the United States and China has reached a level in which armed conflict between them is unthinkable. Unfortunately, history gives us little reason to be confident that peace is inevitable simply because the degree of interdependence is strong.

    Feb 23, 2024

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palau's President Surangel Whipps Jr., Micronesia's President David Panuelo and Marshall Islands' President David Kabua at the State Department in Washington, D.C., photo by Sarah Silbiger/Pool/Reuters


    Gridlock Has Put U.S. Strategic Advantages in the Pacific at Risk

    The United States is on the verge of an enormous geostrategic blunder in the Indo-Pacific region. Congress has yet to pass funding promised last year under pacts with the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau. Given the island nations' economic needs, further dithering by Washington could leave them little choice but to deepen engagement with China.

    Feb 22, 2024

  • A retired military tank on the beach with China in the background in Kinmen, Taiwan, December 20, 2023, photo by Ann Wang/Reuters


    Scared Strait

    The foundations of the longstanding U.S. approach to Taiwan-China relations are crumbling in the face of growing Chinese military power and aggression. Washington can no longer rely on its existing policies in the hopes that what worked in the past will succeed in the future.

    Feb 22, 2024

  • A collage showing a Soviet nuclear ballistic missile in Red Square, Moscow; a Soviet ship using a water cannon against a Chinese fisherman on the Ussuri River, May 6, 1969; and a U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat aircraft launching from the flight deck of the USS Independence, March 10, 1996, photos by CIA, China Photo Service/Dutch National Archives, and U.S. Navy


    Managing Escalation Between Nuclear-Armed Powers

    The return of great-power competition and the war in Ukraine have highlighted the stark risks of conflict with nuclear-armed rivals. What lessons can be learned from historical cases that could help identify adversary thresholds and manage escalation during a potential crisis?

    Feb 22, 2024

  • Digital image of a lock in a circle with one straight line on the left and many curved lines on the right, photo by MF3d/Getty Images


    Cooperation Could Be Critical to U.S. AI Success

    Cooperation between allies could be especially important to the development of artificial intelligence (AI). But co-developing AI applications with other nations faces many challenges as rapid advancements in the technology outpace policies and procedures designed during the industrial age.

    Feb 20, 2024

  • Commentary


    The Era of Coast Guards: Combating Gray Zone Tactics Through an Indo-Pacific Combined Maritime Force of Law Enforcement Partners

    This paper describes how a combined maritime force of international coast guards and maritime law enforcement agencies under U.S. Coast Guard leadership might institute a shared vision focused on enforcing maritime law and international norms.

    Feb 20, 2024

  • Multimedia

    RAND Experts Discuss the Second Anniversary of Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

    In this Call with the Experts podcast, RAND experts discuss the state of the conflict in Ukraine and its prospects, the war's global implications, possible outcomes and solutions, and what the West and the rest of the world might be doing now and once hostilities end.

    Feb 16, 2024

  • Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, D.C., May 1, 2023, photo by Leah Millis/Reuters


    The Good and the Bad for Biden in Southeast Asia

    Since entering office in 2021, one of the Biden administration's foreign-policy priorities has been a more effective Indo-Pacific strategy to compete with China, especially in Southeast Asia. Three years on, the administration's policy has bright spots, but still lacks a clear strategy for the region.

    Feb 8, 2024

  • Soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during a United Nations peacekeeping mission

    Journal Article

    The Future of Multilateral Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention

    The multilateral system, defined as the set of rules, norms, and institutions that together constitute the world's governance architecture, is not static. Several drivers of change threaten to erode hard-earned gains the system has delivered.

    Feb 5, 2024

  • Abdullah Bin Sharaf Alghamdi, President of Saudi Data and Al Authority, speaks during the Global Al Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 21, 2020, photo by Ahmed Yosri/Reuters


    From Soccer to AI, Saudi Arabia Spends to Win

    The Saudis have set their sights on becoming leaders at the cutting edge of technology development in everything from biotechnology to semiconductors and artificial intelligence. And they appear to be prepared to pay top dollar to do it. This complicates U.S. critical technology strategy.

    Dec 29, 2023

  • U.S. Marines conduct multilateral training alongside the Netherlands Royal Marines, German Sea Battalion, and Belgian Paratroopers in Norway, February 21, 2019, photo courtesy of 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company/U.S. Marine Corps


    The U.S. Military Needs to Build Arctic Capabilities and Capacity

    By making substantial investments in Arctic platforms, equipment, infrastructure, and training, U.S. military forces will be better able to shape the Arctic security environment, helping to deter potential threats and protect U.S. interests in a region that is tightly linked to overall U.S. interests.

    Dec 21, 2023

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum during a two day state visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, December 13, 2023, photo by Thinh Nguyen/Reuters


    Vietnam's Show of Welcome for Xi Reflects Growing Self-Confidence

    Chinese leader Xi Jinping's recent visit to Vietnam aimed to reinvigorate bilateral ties, but produced mixed outcomes. Hanoi and Beijing signed a number of substantive bilateral deals, but Vietnam is also strengthening partnerships with other strategically significant nations, complicating any future Chinese aggression.

    Dec 20, 2023

  • Then–Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga attends a the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) at the Prime Minister's Office in Tokyo, Japan, July 2, 2021, photo by Masanori Genko/The Yomiuri Shimbun via Reuters Connect


    PALM10: Japan's Chance to Engage with Pacific Island Countries

    Next year, Japan will host the 10th triennial Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM10), the “cornerstone” of Japan's diplomacy toward the Pacific Island countries. As China attempts to increase its influence in the region, Japan must marshal a strategic response that connects these states to its broader objectives in the Indo-Pacific.

    Dec 19, 2023

  • Photos by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters, Carlos Barria/Reuters, Florence Lo/Reuters, skynesher/Getty Images, Ronen Zvulun/Reuters, Lucy Nicholson/Reuters, Geber86/Getty Images, image by Haley Okuley/RAND


    Looking Back on the Big Policy Stories of 2023

    As 2023 draws to a close, RAND president and CEO Jason Matheny highlights areas where RAND is tackling the most urgent and complex problems we face. Each is a small reminder that where there are thoughtful people working tirelessly to find solutions, there is hope.

    Dec 14, 2023

  • A Minnesota Air National Guard C-130 taxies for take off in the snow


    Insights from the Plan Blue 21 Game: Examining the Role of Sensing and Partner and Allied Contributions to Competition with Russia in the Arctic

    This report describes the 2021 U.S. Air Force–sponsored Plan Blue game, which examined competition against Russia in the Arctic with a focus on the role of sensing in competition and featured robust participation from regional partners and allies.

    Dec 14, 2023

  • Unloading a truck at White Beach, Japan


    Assessing the Value of Overseas Military Campaigning in Strategic Competition

    The authors examine trade-offs between the contributions of campaigning instruments to U.S. strategic goals and their costs. They provide the foundations of a decision-support tool to inform U.S. Department of Defense campaign planning.

    Dec 13, 2023

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Evolution of the Post-Quantum Cyber Environment

    This article examines the impacts quantum computing and international competition on technical standards will have on the security and safety of the future international cyber environment.

    Dec 11, 2023

  • Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese, U.S. president Joe Biden, Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida, and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi at the Quad Leaders' Meeting in Tokyo, Japan, May 24, 2022, photo courtesy of the Official Website of the Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet


    America's Indo-Pacific Alliances Are Astonishingly Strong

    As 2023 draws to a close, U.S. alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific are just about the deepest and most robust they have been in all their history. The United States will likely continue to bolster and expand its network to complicate and deter future actions that China and North Korea might take to threaten, undermine, or otherwise undo the Indo-Pacific order.

    Dec 8, 2023

  • U.S. President Joe Biden shakes hand with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Woodside, California, November 15, 2023, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters


    The Nuclear Shadows of the Ukraine War as Seen Through a Chinese Lens

    China-U.S. relations are once again on an upward trajectory after the meeting between presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the APEC summit. But the good news should not obscure lingering bilateral tensions with respect to nuclear weapons.

    Dec 6, 2023

  • Chinese special forces commandos take part in a joint escort exercise during a military drill coded Peace and Friendship 2015, in the Malacca Strait, September 19, 2015, photo by Xinhua/Alamy


    Disrupting China's Military in Competition and Low-Intensity Conflict

    There are certain tasks required for China's military to execute key competition and low-intensity conflict missions. Those tasks have potential vulnerabilities that the United States could leverage to disrupt China's strategic goals and constrain its ability to harm U.S. interests.

    Dec 5, 2023