Geopolitical Strategic Competition

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  • Map of the Spratly Islands, 2015, image by U.S. Department of State

    Report

    The Political Geography of the South China Sea Disputes

    Until the early 20th century, the South China Sea was seen as a vital communications and trade passage that was not under the jurisdiction of any country or empire. How did littoral states' claims on its maritime zones and features develop? And what is the likely future of the disputes?

    Oct 19, 2022

  • A compilation of images showing global connections, chess pieces, and a member of the U.S. military, photos by piranka/Getty Images; Anusorn/Adobe Stock; and Lance Cpl. Mackenzie Binion/U.S. Marine Corps

    Report

    The Role of Information in U.S. Concepts for Strategic Competition

    Gray zone activities—acts of aggression that remain below the threshold of war—can be used to gain an edge in great-power competition. How can the information environment support U.S. responses to these activities?

    Oct 25, 2022

Explore Geopolitical Strategic Competition

  • 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

    Commentary

    China's Military Aid Is Probably Less Than You Think

    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.

    Jul 26, 2022

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    The Sources of Societal Competitiveness: How Nations Actually Succeed in Long-Term Rivalries

    Seven characteristics are consistently associated with national dynamism and competitive position. This brief summarizes the relationship between a nation's social condition and its global standing and applies the lessons to the United States today.

    Jul 18, 2022

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

    Commentary

    Embracing Intrinsic Cultural Advantages in Innovation

    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?

    Jul 15, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Overturning Roe, a New Mental Health Hotline, Russia: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how repealing Roe v. Wade could affect women in the military, whether America is prepared to launch a new emergency mental health hotline, Russia's war in Ukraine, and more.

    Jul 1, 2022

  • British and Chinese businessmen shake hands on the earth, Illustration by wenjin chen/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Setting the Direction for the UK's Research Relationship with China

    UK-China research has the potential to sustain the very forms of academic excellence that a more-isolationist approach sets out to protect, while also raising the possibility of bridge-building and tackling shared problems. For this to become a reality, knowledge and understanding of China in the United Kingdom must improve.

    Jun 30, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in the opening ceremony of new healthcare facilities in several regions of Russia, via video link in Saint Petersburg, Russia, June 18, 2022, photo by Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/Reuters

    Commentary

    Has the War in Ukraine Damaged Russia's Gray Zone Capabilities?

    Russia's actions are to blame for the damage done to its gray zone capabilities, but it's the West's choice to see whether this respite represents a short-term aberration or presents opportunities for some long-term fixes.

    Jun 22, 2022

  • Two Prominent Computer Engineers Working with Programming Software on Personal Computer. In the Background Scientifically Advanced Research Center.

    Research Brief

    Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges of Research Engagement with China

    An independent and evidence-based study into UK academics' research engagement with China explored how and why UK academics engage with China on joint research activities with the goal of better understanding how UK research organizations manage any resulting risks.

    Jun 21, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Exploring Research Engagement with China: Opportunities and Challenges

    This study explores the opportunities and challenges of UK academics' research engagement with China.

    Jun 21, 2022

  • A crowd of people standing in a star formation over a background of red stripes of a U.S. flag, images by adimas and bennymarty/Adobe Stock

    Report

    How a Nation's Social Condition Relates to Its Global Standing

    Certain societal characteristics are associated with national competitive success, including national ambition and will, unified national identity, and shared opportunity. Where does the United States stand in those areas? And what trends are working to weaken traditional U.S. advantages?

    Jun 21, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Gun Policy, China and Taiwan, Russian Propaganda: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on reducing America's unacceptably high rates of gun violence, what would happen if China “quarantines” Taiwan, and Russia's “firehose of falsehood.”

    May 27, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Not So Quiet on the Southern Front

    Australia faces stiff geopolitical competition in Antarctica, and it's not just China and Russia with eyes on the prize.

    May 26, 2022

  • Production line at Eminent Luggage Corp. in Taiwan and a ship at Keelung , Taiwan, photos by Pichi Chuang/Reuters and pete/ CC by 2.0

    Report

    Implications of a Coercive Quarantine of Taiwan by China

    It's possible that China could enact a quarantine of Taiwan, preventing it from sending exports or receiving imports. Quarantine exploits Taiwan's economic vulnerability but also has consequences for the United States and other allies. How might they respond?

    May 23, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Why Vietnam Might Want to Reconsider Its Russia Policy

    Russia's war in Ukraine has put many countries in a tough spot, pitting them between maintaining healthy ties with Moscow and supporting Western punitive measures. One such nation is Vietnam.

    May 12, 2022

  • Fourth and fifth generation aircraft from eight countries participated in a partnership flight to kick-off Blue Flag 21, over Uvda Air Base, Israel, on Oct. 17, 2021. This biennial training event is essential to building and maintaining defensive interoperability and ensuring Israel’s and other nations’ qualitative edge. Large-force exercises, like Israel-led Blue Flag, allow partner nations to build trust and develop a common understanding of the security environment, photo by Israeli Air Force

    Report

    Security Cooperation in a Strategic Competition

    Neither China nor Russia has a formal doctrine or strategy for security cooperation. How can the United States enhance its security cooperation policies and activities to its competitive advantage?

    Apr 6, 2022

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin and China's President Xi Jinping at the BRICS summit in Brasilia, Brazil, November 14, 2019, photo by Pavel Golovkin/Pool/Reuters

    Report

    Great Power Rivalry in a Changing International Order

    U.S. national security policy for the foreseeable future will be oriented around competition with China and Russia. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has intensified this rivalry and will likely have profound echo effects through the parallel U.S.-China rivalry and the international system.

    Mar 30, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Disruption Without Change: The Consequences of COVID-19 on the Global Economic Balance

    The author reviews the economic track record of the United States, its competitors, and its allies to discern how economic changes induced by the COVID-19 pandemic could affect geopolitical competition and the security environment.

    Mar 21, 2022

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting with the Russian Security Council

    Report

    Russia's Grand Strategy

    Understanding Russia's grand strategy can help U.S. decisionmakers avoid strategic surprise by better-anticipating Moscow's actions and reactions. A new report reviews Russia's declared grand strategy, and tests key elements of it against the actions of the Russian state.

    Aug 16, 2021

  • Earth partially covered by Chinese Yuan, image by Stephen Finn/Adobe Stock

    Report

    China's Drive for Power and Influence Around the World

    An analysis of China's ability to use various mechanisms of influence to shape the policies and behavior of 20 countries finds that China's economic power is the foundation for its influence. This analysis offers lessons for the United States that can inform its response.

    Jun 30, 2021

  • A journalist sits next to a screen showing Chinese President Xi Jinping delivering a speech via video for the opening ceremony of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), at a media centre in Beijing, China September 4, 2020, photo by Tingshu Wang/Reuters

    Report

    How to Manage the Changing U.S.-China Relationship

    The complexity of the strategic competition between the United States and China, two countries that remain key trading partners and occasionally cooperate against shared threats, suggests the need for a sophisticated and careful strategy to navigate potential perils and protect U.S. interests.

    Jun 22, 2021

  • China outlined in red on a NASA image of Earth, photo by NASA and RomoloTavani/Getty Images

    Report

    China's Quest for Global Primacy

    U.S.-China relations have entered a new phase characterized by sharpening competition. Beijing's international and defense strategies aim to outcompete the United States and establish primacy in the Asia-Pacific region and leadership of the world order. What does this mean for U.S. policy?

    Jun 7, 2021