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.

  • USA flag over NYC skyline, photo by franckreporter/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The Lost Generation in American Foreign Policy

    Sep 15, 2020

    Throughout the 55 years following World War II, successive U.S. administrations racked up major foreign policy successes at an average rate of about once a year. Since 2001, the pace of foreign policy achievement has fallen to once every four years. The result has been a lost generation in American foreign policy.

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy warships and fighter jets take part in a military display in the South China Sea, April 12, 2018

    Commentary

    America's Indo-Pacific Vision Is Becoming a Reality—Because of China

    Sep 14, 2020

    The Trump administration's Indo-Pacific strategy has received a significant boost in recent months toward achieving its goal of keeping the region “free and open” from Chinese coercion. Ironically, China itself has been doing the boosting.

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  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev exchange the signed new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II) at Prague Castle in Prague, April 8, 2010, photo by Petr Josek/Reuters

    Commentary

    Stabilizing the Nuclear Cold War

    Russia and the United States are still locked in a nuclear cold war. Thousands of nuclear weapons are deployed, some on high alert. Although the United States prudently withdrew from several past arms control treaties with Russia, it could be in America's interest to extend New START.

    Feb 13, 2020

  • Announcement

    New RAND Center to Analyze Options for U.S. Grand Strategy

    RAND is launching the Center for Analysis of U.S. Grand Strategy to advance the debate on American foreign policy by tackling key unresolved theoretical, empirical, and policy questions. The center will address analytical gaps so that policymakers may consider fully developed options for U.S. grand strategy.

    Feb 12, 2020

  • A saluting soldier and a civilian man in an airport, images by ViewApart and MariaArefyeva/Getty Images; design by Rick Penn-Kraus/RAND Corporation

    Report

    Do Civilians Receive the Support They Need After Deployment?

    As more U.S. government civilians have been deployed over the past two decades, increasing numbers have been exposed to high-threat environments. Combat exposure and related stressors correlate with significant levels of health conditions. How are these civilians reintegrated when they return?

    Feb 11, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Conventional Deterrence Redux: Avoiding Great Power Conflict in the 21st Century

    Deterrence in the twenty-first century presents some new challenges to strategists, but there is little basis for thinking that our problems with deterrence derive from our well-developed theories about it being obsolete.

    Feb 11, 2020

  • Americans, providing the main muscle for a global peace force, cross a pontoon bridge toward the northern Bosnian town of Orasje, December 31, 1995, photo by Petar Kudjundzic/Reuters

    Report

    Seizing the 'Golden Hour' of Stability Operations

    The early phases of stability operations are critical for improving the odds of success and reducing the costs of achieving an acceptable outcome. Both diplomatic and military actions to provide security in the postconflict country are essential and should be integrated. Past U.S. interventions offer valuable lessons.

    Feb 11, 2020

  • Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa is escorted by a guard of honour as he arrives for Independence Day celebrations in Harare, Zimbabwe, April 18, 2019, photo by Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

    Commentary

    Little Has Changed in Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe

    After decades in power, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was toppled via a military coup in November 2017. His successor Emmerson Mnangagwa promised a break from Mugabe's authoritarian rule and economic mismanagement. After two years in power, to what extent has Mnangagwa delivered on his promises? In short, it's bleak.

    Feb 7, 2020

  • Blog

    Civic Engagement and Health, the State of the Union, Better Sleep: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the link between civic engagement and health, policy insights from the State of the Union address, what couples can do to improve their sleep, and more.

    Feb 7, 2020

  • Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, September 25, 2019, photo by Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

    Report

    Has Zimbabwe Changed Since Mugabe's Overthrow?

    After 37 years in power, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was toppled via a military coup in November 2017. His successor and former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, promised a break from authoritarian rule and economic mismanagement. Has he delivered?

    Feb 6, 2020

  • Blog

    Community Schools, Brexit, Coronavirus: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the promise of community schools, the costs of uncertainty after Brexit, the coronavirus, and more.

    Jan 31, 2020

  • Cars on a Belt and Road Initiative highway, Almaty, Kazakhstan, June 16, 2017, photo by Kim Vermaat/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Belt and Road: Economic Gain Is Possible for All

    China's true motivations for its Belt and Road Initiative may still be unclear. But the West could consider the initiative's potential to deliver sustained economic, social, and environmental benefits for all, and find ways to support infrastructure improvements in the countries involved.

    Jan 30, 2020

  • Engineer showing apprentice how to use drill in factory

    Research Brief

    Understanding skills gaps in the European defence sector

    This study developed an overview of the existing and future defence-skills landscape in the EU, identifying and analysing the skills gaps and assessing the causes of these gaps.

    Jan 30, 2020

  • Icebergs and ice in the Arctic Sea, photo by Explora_2005/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Today's Arctic Diplomacy Can't Handle Tomorrow's Problems

    The international structures that have helped address many Arctic problems through negotiation and cooperation are insufficient for the military and security challenges brought on by climate change. A new forum is needed to address military and security issues in the region.

    Jan 29, 2020

  • U.S. and China flags inside gears with a third gear with a question mark inside, photo by

    Commentary

    The Real U.S.-China Competition: Theories of Influence

    Strategic competition between the United States and China has come to dominate U.S. foreign policy debates. That competition is multifaceted, but it may turn on a basic question: Which country has a more sustainable concept of national influence?

    Jan 29, 2020

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin at his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 19, 2019, photo by Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

    Report

    What Provokes Putin's Russia?

    Even with an understanding of what Russia considers to be redlines, predicting its reactions is challenging. An analysis of past instances of Russian escalation—and instances when redlines were crossed but Russia did not respond—offers guidance for U.S. and NATO deterrence efforts.

    Jan 29, 2020

  • Ariane Tabatabai

    Multimedia

    Escalation with Iran: Outcomes and Implications for U.S. Interests and Regional Stability

    An overview of testimony by Ariane Tabatabai presented before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism on January 28, 2020.

    Jan 28, 2020

  • Pedestrians walk in the Chinatown district of downtown Toronto, Ontario, after 3 patients with novel coronavirus were reported in Canada January 28, 2020, photo by Carlos Osorio/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is Coronavirus Another SARS?

    The 2002 SARS pandemic infected more than 8,000 people and killed 774. In what ways is the coronavirus outbreak similar? And how is it different?

    Jan 28, 2020

  • Brochure

    Spotlight 2019–2020

    Spotlight 2019-2020 highlights examples of our work that have helped to clarify policy options for decision makers in today's changing and uncertain times.

    Jan 28, 2020

  • A woman signs a condolence book for Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani at the Iranian embassy in Minsk, Belarus, January 10, 2020, photo by Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

    Testimony

    Escalation with Iran: Outcomes and Implications for the United States

    In the aftermath of the killing of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the United States should be prepared for a further response from Iran. What are some courses of action the regime might take? And what are options for the United States moving forward?

    Jan 28, 2020

  • British and European Union flags in a cloudy sky, photo by themotioncloud/Getty Images

    Report

    Further Trade Uncertainty Due to Brexit Could Cost UK Billions

    The UK's official departure from the EU only ends the first phase of trade uncertainty related to Brexit. Costs to the UK economy are likely to continue during the UK–EU renegotiation period and will increase over time. By the end of 2020, UK GDP could decrease by $5.5 billion (£4.4bn).

    Jan 28, 2020

  • A projectile is fired during North Korea's missile tests in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 28, 2019, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Japan's North Korea Challenge in 2020

    North Korea began 2020 by announcing a shift toward a more hard-line foreign policy approach. While this is bad news for all countries in the region, it is particularly unwelcome for Japan.

    Jan 27, 2020