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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.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, October 20, 2015, photo by Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Reuters

    Report

    Understanding Russia's Intervention in Syria

    Oct 31, 2019

    Russia's military intervention in the Syrian civil war began in 2015. This decision was the result of an extraordinary set of political and military circumstances. What might cause Moscow to take similar actions in other conflicts beyond its immediate neighborhood?

  • Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam attends a news conference after her policy address for 2019, in Hong Kong, China, October 16, 2019, photo by Umit Bektas/Reuters

    Commentary

    How to Resolve the Hong Kong Crisis

    Oct 23, 2019

    Rebuilding trust between the residents of Hong Kong and their government will be an extremely difficult task. But with some reasonable compromises on both sides, Hong Kong has the opportunity to step back from the brink of disaster.

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  • Syrian residents watch as U.S. troops patrol near Turkish border in Hasakah, Syria, November 4, 2018

    Commentary

    Intelligence Losses Pose Large Risks as U.S. Troops Head Home

    Departing theaters such as Syria and Afghanistan carries a host of associated risks, challenges and potential benefits. Leaders would be well served to factor into the debate the importance of U.S. intelligence collection capabilities, its connection to U.S. presence overseas and its role in anticipating current and future threats.

    Jan 24, 2019

  • Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan review the honour guard at a welcoming ceremony in Tbilisi, Georgia, May 30, 2018

    Commentary

    Democratic Bright Spots in the South Caucasus

    Democratic bright spots are emerging in Armenia and Georgia despite their being wedged between less-than-democratic regional powers. Both countries seek to consolidate democratic gains and overcome poverty while managing daunting challenges from Russia and separatist conflicts. While pursuing these priorities, the countries deserve continued, strong Western support.

    Jan 23, 2019

  • Report

    Opportunities for European collaboration in armoured vehicles

    RAND Europe examined the scope for collaboration between European states in armoured vehicles (tracked, wheeled and protected transport vehicles) throughout their life-cycle, in support of the European Defence Agency (EDA).

    Jan 23, 2019

  • Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence hold a bilateral meeting in Singapore, November 14, 2018

    Commentary

    Vietnam's Defense Policy of 'No' Quietly Saves Room for 'Yes'

    U.S.-China tensions are rising in the South China Sea. Washington should take solace in the fact that Vietnam's “Three Nos” policy actually offers significant breathing room for defense cooperation.

    Jan 21, 2019

  • Fred Pardee attending a Pardee RAND Graduate School Board of Governors meeting on March 28, 2014

    Content

    Fred Pardee: Making a Difference

    Fred Pardee grew up in the shadow of World War II and has spent his life supporting the cause of human dignity and development around the world. He has given more than $22 million over his lifetime to RAND and the Pardee RAND Graduate School to support research on some of the world's most pressing problems.

    Jan 18, 2019

  • Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah gesture as they hold Hezbollah flags in Marjayoun, Lebanon, May 7, 2018

    Commentary

    Helping Lebanon Succeed Is More Than About Countering Iran

    As tensions increase on the Israeli-Lebanese border the possibility is growing that a confrontation with Iran may move from Syria to Lebanon. For the United States, turning its back on this small but strategically critical country and conflating U.S. interests in Lebanon solely with countering Iran could be short-sighted, and a missed opportunity at a time when the region has few.

    Jan 16, 2019

  • A U.S. flag is seen at a post in Deh Bala district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, after U.S. and Afghan forces cleared Islamic State fighters from the area, July 7, 2018

    Report

    Likely Effects of a Precipitous U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan

    Winning may not be an option in Afghanistan, but an early departure of U.S. forces without a peace settlement will mean choosing to lose. The result will be the weakening of deterrence and the value of American reassurance elsewhere, an increased terrorist threat, and the possibility of having to return there under worse conditions.

    Jan 16, 2019

  • Accountability in Cyberspace: The Problem of Attribution

    Multimedia

    How to Achieve Accountability in Cyberspace

    Identifying the responsible party behind malicious cyber incidents is necessary for holding bad actors accountable. But there are many challenges that accompany cyber attribution. Creating an independent, global organization that investigates and publicly assigns blame for major hacks could help.

    Jan 14, 2019

  • News Release

    Middle Eastern Communities Can Resist Sectarianism

    Middle Eastern communities are generally resilient to the worst sectarian impulses and even communities that experience sectarian strife can recover from it. Indeed, at least at the local level, communities can resist the slide toward sectarianism and promote resilience and cross-sectarian cooperation.

    Jan 14, 2019

  • Beirut Madinati candidates and activists after announcing their list of candidates for the municipality elections in Beirut, Lebanon, April 22, 2016

    Report

    Countering Sectarianism in the Middle East

    Scholars and policymakers have sought to understand what drives sectarianism in the Middle East and its relationship to multiple conflicts. Far less attention has been focused on how communities inoculate themselves from sectarianism or recover from it.

    Jan 14, 2019

  • Beirut Madinati candidates and delegates cheer

    Research Brief

    Middle Eastern Communities Can Resist Sectarianism

    Sectarian violence in the Middle East has been destructive, but it is still the exception rather than the norm. Communities are generally resilient to the worst sectarian impulses. Lessons from Lebanon, Bahrain, Syria, and Iraq show that there are a range of actions that can curb sectarianism.

    Jan 14, 2019

  • Syrian Democratic Forces and U.S. troops are seen during a patrol near Turkish border in Hasakah, Syria, November 4, 2018

    Commentary

    America's Absence Could Be Syria's New Nightmare

    President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria reverses his administration's recent policy of retaining them as long as Iranian troops stay. U.S. withdrawal would give Bashar al-Assad, Iran, and Russia freer rein to subdue opposition forces. And Assad could feel emboldened to act with greater impunity and brutality.

    Jan 10, 2019

  • Chessboard map with U.S. and China flag chess pieces

    Commentary

    Questioning the Presumption of a U.S.-China Power Transition

    The United States occupies the central role in a world order that, while under growing duress, remains a central organizing framework in world affairs. There are many trajectories along which U.S.-China relations might evolve if China aims to displace the United States for global pre-eminence.

    Jan 9, 2019

  • A soldier stands guard near a poster of Syria's President Bashar al Assad and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Rastan, Syria, June 6, 2018

    Commentary

    Confusion Over the U.S. Withdrawal from Syria

    Washington's strategy in Syria has been to impose costs on the Syrian government by diplomatic ostracism and economic sanctions. This punitive approach is morally satisfying and politically expedient, but as a practical matter it just helps perpetuate the conflict and sustain Assad's dependency on Iran.

    Jan 9, 2019

  • U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) at a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 1, 2018

    Commentary

    The End of the End of History?

    The Trump administration has taken steps that represent a significant retreat from the norm-based, world order that the United States has championed since 1945. If this shift continues, what might be the impact?

    Jan 8, 2019

  • Popular Mobilisation Forces fighters ride in a tank near the Iraqi-Syrian border in al-Qaim, Iraq, November 26, 2018

    Commentary

    Withdrawing from Syria Leaves a Vacuum That Iran Will Fill

    President Trump's decision to withdraw American troops from Syria may be unintentionally signaling that the United States is unwilling to compete in critical geopolitical hotspots. Such a message could embolden powerful states—including Iran—to expand their presence.

    Jan 8, 2019

  • Journal Article

    Crossing Interagency Lines: Enhancing Navy-Coast Guard Cooperation to Combat Gray Zone Conflicts of East Asia

    Using the region of East Asia as a case study, paper proposes that greater coordination and interoperability between navies and coast guards should be pursued among States in the region as one prescription to address gray zone challenges.

    Jan 8, 2019

  • Two people shaking hands over a table with flags

    Commentary

    Economic Officers for the Future

    Economic officers must be, first of all, accomplished political officers. They should also have all the reporting, public speaking, and representational skills of any political or public diplomacy officer, coupled with a strong understanding of economic issues.

    Jan 7, 2019

  • A Turkish-backed Syrian rebel rides on a truck with a mounted weapon at Manbij countryside, Syria, December 28, 2018

    Commentary

    The United States Can't Rely on Turkey to Defeat ISIS

    Relying on Turkey to shoulder the burden of countering the Islamic State will provide the terrorist group with an opportunity to revive itself at a critical stage in the fight. Turkey's main focus is on the Kurds and Erdogan's opposition. Eradicating the Islamic State is a secondary priority that has often been ignored.

    Jan 2, 2019

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping meets former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 8, 2018

    Commentary

    Engagement vs. Competition: The China Policy Debate

    There is a consensus that the U.S. is engaged in an intensifying strategic competition with China. It's less clear what relationship the U.S. should seek and can plausibly achieve with its competitor. An inability to classify China along the ally-to-adversary continuum limits, if not precludes, America's ability to formulate a coherent strategy.

    Dec 31, 2018