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.

  • The Kremlin appears on top of a map of the Mediterranean region, photos by yulenochekk/Fotolia and Naeblys/Fotolia

    Report

    How Does Russia View the International Order?

    May 18, 2017

    Russia sees the U.S.-led international order as a threat to its interests. U.S. and Russian interests overlap in some areas, such as counterterrorism. But they are directly opposed in others. What are America's policy options?

  • Refugees, who were rescued in international waters off the Libyan coast, are transferred from one boat to another, December 2016, photo by Laurin Schmid/AP Photo

    Essay

    Migrant Crisis in the Mediterranean: What You Need to Know

    May 2, 2017

    The countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea are facing unprecedented stress. A former lieutenant with the Italian Navy is now a RAND researcher, working to help others appreciate the scope of the crisis.

Explore International Affairs

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference in Moscow, December 23, 2016

    Commentary

    What Americans Need to Know if Russia Intervenes in Libya's Civil War

    Indications that Russia could intervene militarily in Libya's civil war are growing. If it does, the Trump White House will face a tangle of unpleasant choices with far-reaching consequences.

    Mar 26, 2017

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised a ballistic rocket launching drill of Hwasong artillery units of the Strategic Force of the KPA

    Commentary

    Murder, Missiles, and Messages from North Korea

    Pyongyang launched a ballistic missile on February 12 — one day before Kim Jong Nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was murdered in Malaysia — and four more on March 6. What would lead North Korea to carry out these provocations?

    Mar 24, 2017

  • People rush to a site hit by what activists said was heavy shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus, June 16, 2015

    Commentary

    Holding Assad Accountable for Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

    With two no votes from China and Russia, the UN Security Council failed to pass a resolution punishing Syrian officials for their roles in chlorine attacks in 2014 and 2015. Leadership from the United States on this issue could show allies that despite a change in government, the U.S. remains committed to holding those who use chemical weapons accountable.

    Mar 22, 2017

  • Afghan security forces take position during a gun battle between Taliban and Afghan security forces in Laghman province, Afghanistan, March 1, 2017

    Commentary

    How Trump Should Manage Afghanistan

    While media coverage has focused on Syria and Iraq, Afghanistan remains an important frontline state in the fight against terrorism. The Trump administration should aim to prevent the Taliban from overthrowing the Afghan government, encourage political reconciliation, and pursue terrorists that threaten the United States.

    Mar 21, 2017

  • Soldiers drive a CM33 Clouded Leopard infantry fighting vehicle during the annual Han Kuang military drill simulating the PLA invading the island, in southern Taiwan, August 25, 2016

    Commentary

    Why China Will Not Unify with Taiwan by 2020

    The prospects for peaceful unification of China and Taiwan continue to dim. Nothing Beijing has tried to woo or coerce Taiwan has worked. For those determined to compel Taiwan's unification, military subjugation remains a last option. But it would only worsen China's security environment.

    Mar 21, 2017

  • Many open doors with DNA strand clouds

    Project

    Monitoring Open Science Trends in Europe

    RAND Europe developed a monitor that the European Commission can use to track Open Science trends in Europe and identify the main drivers, incentives and constraints on its evolution.

    Mar 19, 2017

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference in Moscow, March 10, 2017

    Commentary

    How Putin Ensnares

    President Vladimir Putin is Russia's charmer-in-chief, with years of experience in high-level diplomacy. As part of Russia's influence operations, Putin may seek to entice or suborn Western leaders. How might he try to win them over?

    Mar 18, 2017

  • NATO Response Force and Allied Marines from the U.K., U.S., Sweden, and Finland simulate amphibious assaults on a Swedish beachhead during BALTOPS 2015

    Commentary

    The Hidden Potential of NATO's Gator Navies

    Improving U.S.-European amphibious interoperability would bolster the alliance's defense posture in a non-provocative manner that complements recent moves in land forces. The 2017 Summit in Brussels presents an opportunity to refine allied ground posture while adding this maritime dimension.

    Mar 17, 2017

  • Europol headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands

    Commentary

    How Will Defense and Security Be Affected by Brexit?

    Trade and migration issues have dominated Brexit discussions. But the UK's decision to leave the EU also creates challenges for security, deepening uncertainty at a time when little certainty exists.

    Mar 16, 2017

  • Members of the NYPD's Counterterrorism Bureau stand watch at the Union Square Holiday Market in Manhattan, December 20, 2016

    Commentary

    Taking the 'Terror' Out of Terrorism Requires Outsmarting Fear

    Terrorism aims to create terror. Building an effective counterterror strategy could help society understand how terrorism works, then work together toward a psychologically more resilient and less vulnerable mindset.

    Mar 16, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Blunt Defenders of Sovereignty: The Rise of Coast Guards of East and Southeast Asia

    Rather than employing coast guards as tools of regional peace, countries are using them, as opposed to naval forces, as aggressive instruments of state power to assert territorial claims—a new and destabilizing phenomenon in maritime territorial disputes.

    Mar 16, 2017

  • Marijuana in the shape of Europe and a joint

    Project

    Evaluating the EU Drugs Strategy (2013-2020) and Action Plan on Drugs (2013-2016)

    To ensure that the objectives of the EU Drugs Strategy are achieved by 2020, researchers are highlighting the areas where progress has been achieved and those where further work is needed.

    Mar 15, 2017

  • Military vehicles carrying DF-26 ballistic missiles travel past Tiananmen Gate during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Beijing, September 3, 2015

    Report

    China's Evolving Approach to Nuclear Deterrence

    China's nuclear posture has been consistent since 1964. But in recent years, China has increased the numbers of its missiles and warheads and improved the quality of its force. Understanding its future nuclear direction is critical to shaping U.S. strategy.

    Mar 15, 2017

  • Pakistani soldiers at an army post in the Shawal mountains along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, near a known haven for al Qaeda militants, April 29, 2006

    Commentary

    Beware the New Mujahideen: The Threat from Future Jihadist Networks

    Today's terrorist networks will multiply far beyond the wars in Iraq and Syria. When one conflict ends, these fighters often join another. It is critical they be denied safe haven and the ability to train and network in ungoverned territories.

    Mar 14, 2017

  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (right) greets Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at the State Department in Washington, February 28, 2017

    Commentary

    What Are the Chances of the U.S. and China Going to War?

    War between the United States and China seems far-fetched. But complacency would be a mistake. Washington and Beijing should keep a direct channel open between their defense ministers to defuse any potential crises or escalation.

    Mar 14, 2017

  • Richard Solomon speaking to the RAND Board of Trustees, November 2014

    Announcement

    Richard H. Solomon, RAND Policy Analyst and Former Diplomat, Dies at 79

    Richard H. Solomon, a senior fellow at RAND, a China scholar, and a seasoned diplomat who helped direct U.S. policy toward East Asia under President George H.W. Bush, has died.

    Mar 14, 2017

  • A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter watches a convoy of his forces advancing north of Raqqa, Syria, February 5, 2017

    Commentary

    To Take Raqqa, the U.S. Must Work with Its Partner in the Fight Against the Islamic State Group

    Turkey strongly opposes the U.S. bid to arm the Syrian Kurds. Rushing into Raqqa without reaching agreement with Turkey would jeopardize larger U.S. regional and even global geopolitical objectives.

    Mar 13, 2017

  • Armed soldier polices cyber space

    Project

    Update Study on the Development of a European Cyber Defence Centre

    RAND Europe was asked to provide an update to the study on an EU Cyber Defence Centre for Common Security & Defence Policy crisis management operations, focusing on education, training, evaluation and exercises in support of the European Defence Action Plan and wider EU cyber defence and cybersecurity programmes.

    Mar 13, 2017

  • Euros and chart showing financial ups and downs

    Project

    Creating Economic Growth in the EU

    RAND Europe researchers are analysing EU- and national-level budgetary data and past EU recommendations to explore synergies between EC fiscal and economic policy priorities and the contribution of the EU and national budgets.

    Mar 9, 2017

  • Philippine Coast Guard's Special Operations Group secures mock pirates during a rescue drill exercise with Japan's Coast Guard off Manila Bay, Philippines, July 13, 2016

    Commentary

    The Era of Coast Guards in the Asia-Pacific Is Upon Us

    Coast guards, not navies, are the new asset of choice in East and Southeast Asia to assert sovereignty over disputed waters. China has been expanding its coast guard fleet and many states, like Vietnam and the Philippines, lack the funds to match it.

    Mar 8, 2017