International Affairs

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RAND's international affairs research comprises a range of cross-cutting issues, including global economies and trade, space and maritime security, diplomacy, global health and education, nation building, and regional security and stability. RAND also analyzes the policies and effectiveness of international organizations such as the UN, NATO, European Union, and ASEAN.

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

    Report

    China's Quest for Global Primacy

    Jun 7, 2021

    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?

  • A Russian Mi-8 military helicopter is seen through a window while flying during a rehearsal for the Navy Day parade in Saint Petersburg, Russia, July 21, 2019, photo by Anton Vaganov/Reuters

    Report

    How Would NATO Compete with Russia?

    Jun 22, 2021

    Western threat perceptions of Russia have risen sharply in recent years, bolstered by its acts of military aggression, political interference, and efforts to expand its global influence. What would be the strengths, weaknesses, and risks for the United States, NATO, and Russia in a large-scale war?

Explore International Affairs

  • Representations of cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, DogeCoin, Ripple, and Litecoin placed on a PC motherboard, June 29, 2021, photo by Dado Ruvic/Reuters

    Commentary

    Cryptocurrency Should Be Added to the U.S.-Japan Trade Deal

    As the Biden administration begins to define its approach to international trade, and the Suga administration looks to further tighten cooperation with the United States, it may be worth reconsidering the exclusion of cryptocurrency from the U.S.-Japan trade deal. Substantial economic equities are at stake for both sides.

    Jul 28, 2021

  • Topographic map showing Russia and the Arctic region, image by FrankRamspott/Getty Images

    Report

    Exploring Gaps in Arctic Governance

    Conditions in the Arctic region are evolving, driven by such factors as climate change, economics, and geopolitics. What are the risks that come with these changes—and how could governance in the Arctic adapt to mitigate them?

    Jul 27, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a summit in Paris, France, December 10, 2019, photo by Charles Platiau/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    Disrespecting Europe Could Cost Russia

    Western unity is critical to addressing authoritarian challenges. Brexit, immigration, leadership transition in Germany, and COVID-19 provide grist for Russian propaganda claims of European weakness. But unified EU action on Ukraine, Navalny, and Belarus shows that Europe is a force with which to be reckoned.

    Jul 26, 2021

  • The USS Bonhomme Richard , left, and USS Green Bay docked at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, March 5, 2015, photo by Lt. David Levy/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    A Taiwan Contingency and Japan's Counterstrike Debate

    The United States and Japan could be drawn into a conflict in the event of Chinese aggression against Taiwan whether they like it or not. Allied defense planning could consider how Japan might further reinforce deterrence and if necessary improve its ability to contribute to the common defense.

    Jul 23, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Strategic Airlift in Africa: Understanding Challenges and Opportunities for the Movement Coordination Centre Europe

    The Movement Coordination Centre Europe commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a scoping study to understand constraints of operating in Africa, as well as barriers to the efficient coordination of airlift and other logistic support in the continent.

    Jul 22, 2021

  • Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and other Taliban delegation members attend the Afghan peace conference in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2021, photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    China and the Taliban Begin Their Romance

    The upcoming U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will remove the most formidable obstacle to total Taliban takeover of the country. China is set to benefit significantly if the Taliban come to power again. It is worth following this dynamic closely in the coming weeks and months.

    Jul 22, 2021

  • european flags on poles

    Project

    RAND Europe Improves Policy and Decision Making in Europe and Around the World

    RAND Europe is a not-for-profit research institute dedicated to helping improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. With offices in the UK and Belgium, its research portfolio complements RAND's and also includes choice modeling, evaluation, workplace wellbeing, and much more.

    Jul 22, 2021

  • A member of the Armed Forces receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine obtained under the COVAX program in Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 15, 2021, photo by Agustin Marcarian/Reuters

    Commentary

    Split-Screen Pandemic Recovery Isn't Sustainable

    In a world connected by commerce and the air we breathe, it's hard to see how any COVID-19 recovery that's confined to specific segments of the population is sustainable. Failing to address gaps in the pandemic response would run the risk that a future mutation of this virus could send us scurrying for cover. Again.

    Jul 20, 2021

  • An I-Kiribati girl watches as the Military Sealift Command joint high-speed vessel USNS Millinocket arrives in Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati, June 2, 2015, photo by Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Kulp/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    America's Strategy in Oceania: Time for a Better Approach

    China has moved in earnest to engage with Oceania, while the United States is vying to get a toehold in the region. To develop an effective strategy for engaging there, Washington could seek guidance from key allies to better understand their experience, lessons, and efforts already underway.

    Jul 19, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Risk Technopolitics in Freetown Slums: Why Community-Based Disaster Management Is No Silver Bullet

    Chapter from "Critical Disaster Studies" (Penn Press, 2021) detailing a study of Sierra Leone and proposing that community-based disaster risk management actually distracts from larger social and political root causes of vulnerability.

    Jul 16, 2021

  • Aerial of Thule Air Base, Greenland, photo by JoAnne Castagna, Public Affairs/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    Commentary

    Mind the Gap

    For decades, NATO forces have used nearby bases to keep tabs on Russian submarines, surface ships, and aircraft transiting the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom Gap. Strong independence movements in Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Scotland could soon jeopardize this position.

    Jul 15, 2021

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un take a walk in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this picture released by KCNA on June 21, 2019, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Can China Be a Real Partner in Bringing North Korea to the Nuclear Negotiating Table?

    The United States remains committed to the goal of denuclearization of North Korea. China is more interested in maintaining a delicate geopolitical balance to counter U.S. influence in the region and in expanding its own reach. Thus, prospects for productive U.S.-China cooperation on the North Korean nuclear threat seem faint at best.

    Jul 14, 2021

  • 2019-08-27T000000Z_113196812_RC1FFC467030_RTRMADP_3_RUSSIA-TURKEY

    Multimedia

    Russia's Su-57 Heavy Fighter Bomber: Is It Really a Fifth-Generation Aircraft?

    RAND Defense Analyst Ryan Bauer discusses the variety of developmental challenges that the Russian Su-57 fifth-generation jet has experienced, decreasing the likelihood of Russia exporting the aircraft for a number of years despite continued marketing efforts.

    Jul 14, 2021

  • May 2011 Parade - S-400

    Multimedia

    Russian S-400 Surface-to-Air Missile System: Is It Worth the Sticker Price?

    Indian civilian and military leadership face investment choices that go beyond the decision to buy the S-400. To be effective, the S-400 needs to be deployed within a larger integrated air and missile defense system and requires a very skilled military workforce to operate. Otherwise, it will prove to be a costly and expensive military extravagance.

    Jul 14, 2021

  • Report

    Understanding the Value of Defence: Towards a Defence Value Proposition for the UK

    The UK Ministry of Defence asked RAND to develop a 'Defence Value Proposition' to provide a better understanding of why defence exists and how the value it brings to the nation can be better articulated to government, partners and the wider public.

    Jul 13, 2021

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects a long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 in an undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, May 15, 2017, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korean Nuclear Weapons Pose an Existential Threat to China

    Despite the current border closures between their two countries, China and North Korea remain resolutely pledged to a “blood-alliance.” But this partnership has vastly different implications depending on which side of the border you consider.

    Jul 13, 2021

  • Image of a HAR2 Bell Griffin helicopter, seen here at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus on 4 July 2021 assisting with efforts to tackle wildfires across Cyprus, photo by Cpl Phil Dye/UK Ministry of Defence Crown Copyright

    Multimedia

    Expert Insights: Understanding the Value of Defence

    RAND Europe Defence, Security and Infrastructure director Ruth Harris and Research Leader James Black examine the ‘value proposition’ of UK defence in this audio conversation. They explore how the value it brings to the nation can be better articulated across government, to partners and to the wider public.

    Jul 13, 2021

  • A worker holds bags and a box of humanitarian aid in the opposition-held Idlib, Syria, June 9, 2021, photo by Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Four Strategies to Reduce Disaster Risk in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Contexts

    Addressing the circumstances for the more than two billion people living in fragile and conflict-affected contexts is crucial for delivering on the United Nations commitment for disaster risk reduction. Four strategies can help reduce risk and improve resilience for these communities.

    Jul 9, 2021

  • Blog

    Equity in Research, North Korean Instability, Traffic Stops: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how RAND applies an equity lens to research, instability in North Korea, what police think about traffic stops, and more.

    Jul 9, 2021

  • A soldier loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad's forces is seen in Quneitra, Syria, July 22, 2018

    Commentary

    The Power and Limits of Threat: The Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act at One Year

    A powerful new U.S. sanctions law on Syria came into effect one year ago, with great notice and speculation regarding its potential effects. Now, one year later, it is apparent that the act's power lies not in who the United States has sanctioned but in who the United States could sanction.

    Jul 8, 2021