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.

  • Military parade in Pyongyang, October 2015, photo by Uwe Brodrecht/CC BY SA 2.0

    Essay

    Understanding North Korea

    Aug 18, 2017

    How should the U.S. respond to North Korea's provocative behavior? Even the best military options could be cataclysmically bad, but there are nonmilitary options to convince Kim Jong Un that the costs of his provocations outweigh any benefits.

  • Headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, photo by luxiangjian4711/Getty Images

    Report

    Measuring the Health of the International Order

    Sep 5, 2017

    The liberal international order that has been in place since 1945 is relatively stable but is threatened by geopolitical and domestic socioeconomic trends that call into question the order's assumptions. U.S. support and engagement over the coming decade will be essential.

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  • U.S. President Barack Obama (left) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013

    Commentary

    Righting Relations With Russia

    Russia's current anti-Western stridency coincides with rising internal repression. That may limit what the next U.S. president can do to improve relations.

    Oct 31, 2016

  • Al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahri speaks from an unknown location in a still image taken from video uploaded to the web on June 8, 2011

    Commentary

    Al Qaeda's Ruthless Pragmatism Makes It More Dangerous Than the Islamic State

    Al Qaeda presents a graver long-term threat to the West than the Islamic State. It has proved more effective in exploiting U.S. policy in the Middle East to legitimize itself as an armed force and, increasingly, as a viable political player.

    Oct 27, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama (center) poses for a photo with numerous Asian leaders before the East Asia Summit in Vientiane, Laos, September 8, 2016

    Commentary

    The Legacy Obama Leaves His Successor in Asia

    The U.S. pivot to the Indo-Pacific has improved U.S. popularity and influence, and positioned it for gains in regional economic, diplomatic, and military cooperation. The incoming administration would be wise to embrace these gains and build on them to preserve and further develop U.S. interests and influence in the region.

    Oct 26, 2016

  • World map with global communication lines.

    Commentary

    The Made-in-America Global Security and Economic System Still Serves U.S. Interests

    The next U.S. president will have many willing partners and an opportunity to expand the global system of security and economic institutions in a way that will help the United States and the world for decades.

    Oct 26, 2016

  • News Release

    U.S. Interests Abroad Face Steep Challenges

    The United States' interests abroad are facing challenges because the alliances, economic institutions, and political relationships that have made up the international order since the end of World War II are under threat from global upheaval.

    Oct 19, 2016

  • Globes on Chicago Museum Campus

    Project

    Building a Sustainable International Order

    Experts are assessing challenges to the post-war international order and how U.S. strategy might adapt to today's changing world.

    Oct 19, 2016

  • Report

    Building a Sustainable International Order: Summary of the First Workshop in the International Order Project Series

    This conference summary reflects key insights from a January 2016 workshop discussion that informed the next stages of a project titled "Building a Sustainable International Order."

    Oct 19, 2016

  • Report

    American Grand Strategy and the Liberal Order: Continuity, Change, and Options for the Future

    This Perspective examines continuity and change in U.S. engagement with the liberal international order over time, outlines four alternatives for a future U.S. approach to grand strategy, and proposes criteria for choosing among these options.

    Oct 19, 2016

  • A globe and marbles balancing

    Report

    U.S. Interests Abroad Face Steep Challenges

    Global upheaval is threatening the alliances, economic institutions, and political relationships that have made up the international order since 1945. This is creating challenges for U.S. interests.

    Oct 19, 2016

  • Supporters of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah take down a large portrait of Afghan President Hamid Karzai before a gathering in Kabul July 8, 2014

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'A Kingdom of Their Own: The Family Karzai and the Afghan Disaster'

    Foreign observers of Afghanistan tend to think of former President Hamid Karzai's government as a clan of corrupt thugs, led by a feckless, petulant whiner. Joshua Partlow's book tells the story and explores the question of how much the Karzais were responsible for the deterioration of U.S.-Afghan ties.

    Oct 15, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama gives a thumbs up after his speech at the Rota naval airbase, near Cadiz, Spain, July 10, 2016

    Commentary

    Transatlantic Relations After Obama

    The Obama era will be remembered as the time when America's leadership role in Europe began to shift. Europeans got more freedom of action, but could no longer outsource their foreign and military responsibilities to Washington. Whether Clinton or Trump is elected president, Europe will have to do more.

    Oct 14, 2016

  • A young man in drought conditions in Ethiopia

    Essay

    The Hot Spots of the World

    Scarcity of food, energy, and water endangers the lives of millions. So RAND created a tool with the potential to help make aid initiatives more effective.

    Oct 13, 2016

  • Sailors and civilians assigned to Arctic Submarine Lab haul ice to be used for potable water during an exercise, March 15, 2016

    Commentary

    Will the Breakdown in U.S.-Russia Cooperation Reach the Arctic?

    Over the last few decades, the U.S. and Russia have often found common ground on Arctic affairs, at least in such areas as search and rescue and environmental integrity. The Arctic has the potential to remain resistant to tensions building elsewhere.

    Oct 12, 2016

  • An Indian army soldier keeps guard from a bunker near the border with Pakistan in Abdullian, southwest of Jammu, September 30, 2016

    Commentary

    Could the Kashmir Standoff Trigger Nuclear War?

    Militants trained in Pakistan have been raiding the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir for over a quarter of a century, but the recent attack was the deadliest in years. A short-term return to peace remains uncertain and the longer term is even harder to predict.

    Oct 10, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama chairs the closing session of the Nuclear Security Summit, focusing on the Counter-ISIL campaign, in Washington, April 1, 2016

    Commentary

    Protect Nuclear Nonproliferation Norms

    Strong and viable global nuclear nonproliferation norms should remain a cornerstone of U.S. security now and into the future. Friends and allies must continue to have confidence in the U.S. strategic nuclear guarantees.

    Oct 9, 2016

  • The sun sets over Aleppo, Syria as seen from the rebel-held part of the city, October 5, 2016

    Commentary

    Only the U.S. Can Save Syrians

    Washington must act soon to raise the costs of Syrian and Russian killing in Aleppo. Otherwise, the quarter-million people who live there could be in danger, and the Kremlin might think that it can mount further challenges to the West.

    Oct 6, 2016

  • Young Chinese faithful shelter from the sun as Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, May 22, 2016

    Commentary

    Taiwan Should Not Worry About the Vatican

    Concerns are growing in Taipei over whether the Holy See intends to switch its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. Beijing could be entertaining Vatican requests not out of genuine interest in reestablishing relations, but to put Taiwan on edge.

    Oct 5, 2016

  • President Richard M. Nixon meeting in the Oval Office with Vice President Gerald R. Ford, Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, and Chief of Staff Alexander Haig, 1973

    Commentary

    The World Has Passed the Old Grand Strategies By

    The international order is in the midst of an epochal shift, and a new administration will have to rethink basic organizing concepts for America's role in the world. The truth about grand strategy today is that the United States badly needs new options.

    Oct 5, 2016

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    Project

    International Development Programme Takes Interdisciplinary Approach

    The challenge of international development requires thinking beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries, and RAND Europe excels in providing interdisciplinary expertise and policy-oriented perspectives. We address complex problems with tailored methodologies and appropriate and innovative perspectives.

    Oct 4, 2016

  • LED map of the continental United States

    Essay

    Election 2016: The Domestic Issues

    RAND offers a unique take on the big domestic issues facing America: research that is independent, reliable, and rigorously nonpartisan.

    Oct 3, 2016