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.

  • An F/A-18 Super Hornet lands on the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea, September 30, 2017, photo by Bobby Yip/Reuters

    Report

    Risk of U.S.-China Conflict Should Not Be Ignored or Exaggerated

    Oct 2, 2017

    Armed conflict between the United States and China isn't likely. But the possibility is real enough to warrant prudent policies and effective deterrence. America should continue to support China's neighbors while drawing Beijing into cooperative security endeavors.

  • People walk at the Grand Bazaar, a day after the presidential election, in central Tehran, Iran, May 20, 2017, photo by TIMA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Killing Iran's Economy Won't Help the U.S.

    Oct 31, 2017

    Iran's economy is likely to be damaged by any new U.S. sanctions, with foreign investment having already slowed in response to President Trump's rhetoric. The biggest losers will not be the Iranian regime but the Iranian people, whose striving the U.S. has long hoped would bring about a less antagonistic Iran.

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  • The Dome of the Rock on the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, and the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, October 10, 2006

    Commentary

    Hidden Dangers of Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

    Moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would antagonize partners in the Islamic world who are key to fighting ISIS and other extremists. And any potential cooperation that might have developed between Israel and Arab states over common concerns about Iran could suffer.

    Dec 28, 2016

  • ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson speaks during the 26th World Gas Conference in Paris, France, June 2, 2015.

    Commentary

    Rex Tillerson's Many Challenges

    If confirmed as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson will face a broad array of challenges. One may be to lend the administration consistency, while closing at least some of the deals that President-elect Trump has promised.

    Dec 24, 2016

  • A woman rides a bike past Taiwan and China national flags during a rally held by a group of pro-China supporters calling for peaceful reunification, Taiwan May 14, 2016.

    Commentary

    Walking Away from One-China Policy Imperils Taiwan

    The U.S. One-China policy has helped keep the peace for decades. Abandoning it now could result in stiffer Chinese resolve. Such a strategy may even backfire by triggering an otherwise avoidable crisis.

    Dec 22, 2016

  • Report

    Governance and Adaptation to Innovative Modes of Higher Education Provision

    This report examines innovative modes of higher education provision, as well as ways in which the management and governance of higher education are changing in support of innovations in higher education provision.

    Dec 22, 2016

  • Technician working in a control room

    Commentary

    Carrier Deal Does Not Carry the Day for American Workers

    Despite the good intentions, pressuring companies like Carrier to keep jobs in the U.S. addresses only the smaller part of the problem, globalization, not the larger one, technological change. A long term solution would be to upgrade the education and training system so that students graduate with skills for life-long learning.

    Dec 21, 2016

  • Man looking at chart of China's stock market

    Commentary

    Cracks in the Chinese Powerhouse

    Like most countries that have experienced rapid development, China is struggling to transition from a highly successful but unsustainable economic model. Beijing faces the additional challenge of executing difficult reforms in the face of an inhospitable global economy.

    Dec 19, 2016

  • Metal tooth wheel mechanism concept of inequality and equality

    Commentary

    Curbing Globalization Won't Halt the Rise of Inequality

    Globalization may be one of many factors driving inequality. But ending trade agreements and throwing up trade barriers is unlikely to stop this trend.

    Dec 14, 2016

  • Japan's Self Defence Force holds an opening ceremony of a new military base on the island of Yonaguni in the Okinawa prefecture, March 28, 2016

    Commentary

    The Risks of an Accelerating Rivalry Between China and Japan

    China and Japan have a long history of antagonism but their competition for influence in Asia has recently expanded in the economic, diplomatic, and security domains. The U.S., although a staunch ally of Japan, has served as a mediator. Weakening the U.S. role could aggravate Sino-Japanese tensions to a destabilizing degree.

    Dec 12, 2016

  • Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army march in a parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, September 3, 2015

    Report

    Understanding China's Strategy

    Beijing's perceptions and assessments aren't static. They evolve as China's standing in the world increases and its interests grow. U.S. leaders should focus on understanding and managing competition with China on a global scale.

    Dec 6, 2016

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin gives his annual state of the nation address at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 1, 2016

    Commentary

    Can Trump Make a Deal with Putin?

    If executed properly, President-elect Trump's diplomacy could help reverse a destabilizing downward spiral in U.S.-Russian relations and create a vision of what normal relations might entail.

    Dec 5, 2016

  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and UAE's deputy commander-in-chief of the armed forces, meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, December 14, 2015

    Report

    China Invests Warily in the Middle East

    China endeavors to protect its expanding interests in the Middle East by not taking sides in conflicts and controversies. The United States should encourage China to get more involved in efforts to improve regional stability while reassuring partners of its own commitment to the region.

    Dec 5, 2016

  • News Release

    China Invests Warily in Middle East

    China endeavors to protect its expanding interests in the Middle East by not taking sides in conflicts and controversies. The United States should encourage China to become more involved in efforts to improve regional stability while reassuring partners of its own commitment to the region.

    Dec 5, 2016

  • Afghan National Army soldiers inspect passengers at a checkpoint in eastern Afghanistan, June 29, 2015, after Islamic State fighters had seized territory from rival Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan for the first time

    Commentary

    The Islamic State-Taliban Rivalry in Afghanistan

    The weakening of the Islamic State is a positive step. But Taliban successes against the group have strengthened the Taliban's power, bolstered its reputation, and complicated U.S. and Afghan government efforts to wind down the Afghan war.

    Nov 28, 2016

  • The blast furnaces at the now-closed Bethlehem Steel mill remain standing in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, April 22, 2016

    Commentary

    America's Shifting Labor Market in a Technology-Driven World

    Making America competitive in a transitioning market will require examining future labor market requirements. Workforce development programs that target building labor capacity for a new economy will be essential.

    Nov 25, 2016

  • Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan meet to sign a bilateral agreement on construction of the TurkStream undersea gas pipeline in Istanbul, Turkey, October 10, 2016

    Commentary

    The Turkish-Russian Rapprochement: How Real? How Durable?

    The recent strengthening of ties between Turkey and Russia may represent more of an economic marriage of convenience than a deeply rooted political alliance. On a number of important issues, particularly the Syrian conflict, the two nations have very different interests and priorities.

    Nov 21, 2016

  • Donald Trump arrives at his election night rally at the New York Hilton Midtown in Manhattan, November 9, 2016

    Commentary

    Can Trump Really Do Deals with Putin?

    Russia is a declining economic power whose foreign policy has led to isolation and criticism. But Putin may have an inflated sense of Russia's importance and expect one-sided U.S. concessions. If so, diplomacy could run into headwinds early in the Trump administration.

    Nov 21, 2016

  • Two U.S. Air Force pilots use night vision goggles during an exercise above Yokota Air Base, Japan, August 24, 2015

    Report

    Political Challenges to the U.S. Overseas Military Presence

    The U.S. military depends on access to overseas bases to project power around the world. Political challenges to access have been common, but the threat has often been overstated.

    Nov 21, 2016

  • A worker reads a freshly printed newspaper with the headline reading "We will tremble" at a printer of the local daily Norte in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, November 9, 2016.

    Commentary

    Is the U.S. Abandoning the World Order It Created?

    In the 20th century the United States created and expanded a world order that has provided security and prosperity—and it has borne much of the cost for sustaining it. Can that liberal global order be updated rather than jettisoned?

    Nov 14, 2016

  • Antoine van Agtmael, Lawrence Ingrassia, and Randal Quarles at RAND's Politics Aside event in Santa Monica, November 12, 2016

    Blog

    Who Wins Globalization?

    While more needs to be done for those who once worked in industries such as furniture manufacturing, where essentially all activity has moved to lower-cost nations, the U.S. is starting to see an increase in manufacturing activity because of new types of technological advances.

    Nov 14, 2016

  • Kurdish Peshmerga troops are deployed in the area near the northern Iraqi border with Syria, August 6, 2012

    Report

    How an Independent Kurdistan Might Impact Its Neighbors

    The Kurds make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, but they have never formed a permanent nation state. If the Kurdish region of northern Iraq were to declare its independence, the move would create political and economic problems for Turkey, Iran, and the Iraqi central government.

    Nov 14, 2016