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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?

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  • Chinese President Xi Jinping waves at an event marking the 100th founding anniversary of the CCP, in Tiananmen Square, in Beijing, China, July 1, 2021, photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Xi Jinping's Communist Party Valedictory Speech Can Tell Us About His Conception of China and Its Role in the World

    In a recent speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping laid out a vision of his country's future. Xi's remarks were full of imagery of righteous struggle against foreign oppressors. What can this tell us about where he sees China's relationship with the world heading?

    Jul 7, 2021

  • Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman meets with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, June 2, 2021, photo by U.S. Embassy Bangkok

    Commentary

    Biden's Troubled Southeast Asia Policy Needs a Reboot

    Nearly six months into Joe Biden's presidency, it is now possible to begin assessing the effectiveness of some of his administration's policies. When it comes to Southeast Asia, the Biden administration has thus far fallen short, but the future looks relatively bright with certain caveats.

    Jul 6, 2021

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld pauses during a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., March 29, 2005, photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

    Commentary

    Donald Rumsfeld: Anti–Nation-Builder

    As Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly resisted U.S. military participation in nation-building–type operations. Even as the United States terminates the last of those nation-building missions, that in Afghanistan, it is worth reflecting on these experiences.

    Jul 6, 2021

  • Blog

    Pandemic-Era Parties, China's Global Influence, Reducing Infant Mortality: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on assessing the risk of small gatherings during the pandemic, China's ability to exert influence around the world, using big data to help reduce infant mortality, and more.

    Jul 2, 2021

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during the 3rd Plenary Meeting of 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea, in an image released June 17, 2021, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Trying to Manage North Korean Instability Risks

    The regime in North Korea usually makes extreme efforts to prevent outsiders and even its own people from seeing instabilities there. But Kim Jong-un appears to be taking some risks trying to solidify his grip in the wake of events undermining his control.

    Jun 30, 2021

  • Earth partially covered by Chinese Yuan, image by Stephen Finn/Adobe Stock

    Report

    China's Drive for Power and Influence Around the World

    An analysis of China's ability to use various mechanisms of influence to shape the policies and behavior of 20 countries finds that China's economic power is the foundation for its influence. This analysis offers lessons for the United States that can inform its response.

    Jun 30, 2021

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers demonstrate their capabilities to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen in China, July 12, 2011, photo by MC1 Chad J. McNeeley/Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

    Commentary

    The Signal and the Noise: Understanding China's Military Threats

    Although China's capabilities and communication channels have changed, its fundamental approach to military deterrence signaling as a form of political coercion has not. As Australia-China relations enter a new, more confrontational era, Canberra is likely to be an increasingly frequent target of Chinese deterrence signaling.

    Jun 29, 2021

  • A supporter of Ebrahim Raisi displays his portrait during a celebratory rally for his presidential election victory in Tehran, Iran, June 19, 2021, photo by Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Iran May Be in No Hurry to Get Nuclear Weapons Even Without a Nuclear Deal

    History shows that many countries with advanced nuclear technologies but without nuclear bombs opt to stay that way. There are reasons to believe that Iran, too, may choose to remain non-nuclear at least in the foreseeable future.

    Jun 28, 2021

  • Blog

    RAND Art + Data, 'Gray Market Care,' Supply Chains and Cyberattacks: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on RAND's new artist residency program, Art + Data; the prevalence of “gray market care” in the United States; supply chains' cyber problem; and more.

    Jun 25, 2021

  • A journalist sits next to a screen showing Chinese President Xi Jinping delivering a speech via video for the opening ceremony of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), at a media centre in Beijing, China September 4, 2020, photo by Tingshu Wang/Reuters

    Report

    How to Manage the Changing U.S.-China Relationship

    The complexity of the strategic competition between the United States and China, two countries that remain key trading partners and occasionally cooperate against shared threats, suggests the need for a sophisticated and careful strategy to navigate potential perils and protect U.S. interests.

    Jun 22, 2021

  • Paper plane race against a rocket missile, photo by ALLVISIONN/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Difficult Choices in the Race to Innovate and Compete

    Senate passage of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act recognizes the fierce competition across the globe for leadership in key technology areas. The potential for such a momentous national investment in resources and attention brings with it options and choices for policymakers to consider.

    Jun 21, 2021

  • Blog

    Stress Among U.S. Teachers, Russia's Global Interests, Investing in Equity: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on job-related stress among U.S. public school teachers, Russia's global interests, promoting social equity through infrastructure investments, and more.

    Jun 18, 2021

  • U.S. and French soldiers at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, March 2017, photo by U.S. Army

    Report

    Could France Support a U.S.-Led War in Eastern Europe?

    France has a greater range of capabilities than most other European militaries. It has remained strongly committed to NATO and bilateral defense cooperation with the United States. What capabilities might France bring to a hypothetical high-intensity conventional war against Russia?

    Jun 16, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting via video link from the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 21, 2020, photo by Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia Engine Troubles: Is Putin's Behavior Catching Up with Him?

    Actions taken to curb Russian malign activities around the globe appear to be affecting Russia's marine and aerospace engine sector. Efforts to arrest Russia's bad behavior might gain momentum if more countries followed the lead of Norway, which chose supporting sanctions over short-term economic gain.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • Russian President Putin addresses the audience during Moscow City Day celebrations in Moscow, Russia, September 5, 2020, photo by Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via Reuters

    Report

    Confronting a More Globally Active Russia

    For the last 25 years, Russia has been focused on regaining the ability to influence actions beyond its own region. Recognizing Russia's global interests could help the United States implement its own global strategy.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • The colors are retired during a ceremony marking the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq in Baghdad on Dec. 15, 2011, photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/U.S. Department of Defense

    Report

    Securing Gains in Fragile States: Using U.S. Leverage in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond

    This report evaluates U.S. options for stabilizing conflict-affected states by incentivizing governance reforms through military and development assistance in the context of U.S. military interventions.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • The colors are retired during a ceremony marking the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq in Baghdad on December 15, 2011, photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/U.S. Department of Defense

    Report

    Using U.S. Leverage to Limit Instability in Fragile States

    The United States can effectively support governance reforms in postconflict states by seizing on opportunities when partner interests align with U.S. interests. And it can use its leverage, including conditions on military and economic assistance, when interests do not align.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • Blog

    China's Ambitions, Origins of the Coronavirus, Income Inequality: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on China’s quest for global primacy, understanding the coronavirus origin story, how parents feel about sending their children back to school, and more.

    Jun 11, 2021

  • Workers at the construction site of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, near the town of Kingisepp, Leningrad region, Russia, June 5, 2019, photo by Anton Vaganov/Reuters

    Commentary

    Depoliticizing Russian Gas in Europe

    At their June 16 Summit in Geneva, Presidents Biden and Putin might consider how to reduce the sharp tensions over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. Cooperation among governments and companies may offer potential.

    Jun 11, 2021