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.

  • Illustration of a world map, photos by Kanok-orn/Adobe Stock and j-mel/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Competing for the International System

    The United States should view emerging strategic rivalries with China and Russia in systemic terms. That means maintaining predominant influence over the international system and also taking actions designed to shape system outcomes rather than to achieve case-specific wins.

    Nov 10, 2022

  • Excavators are seen at a nickel ore mining area at Kolonedalle village near Morowali, Indonesia's Sulawesi island, January 14, 2014, photo by Yusuf Ahmad/Reuters

    Report

    China's Role in the Global Development of Critical Resources

    China's extensive foreign investments in energy infrastructure and critical minerals have raised concerns. Case studies in coal power, electricity transmission, and seabed mining examine China's behaviors and suggest ways to build capacity among host nations to minimize the potential effects of an overreliance on China.

    Nov 7, 2022

Explore International Affairs

  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Kiribati's President Taneti Maamau shake hands during a signing ceremony in Beijing, China, January 6, 2020, photo by Mark Schiefelbein/Pool/Reuters

    Testimony

    China's Gambit in the Pacific

    The geostrategic dynamics between China, the Pacific Island countries, and the United States and its allies and partners have evolved over the years. What are China's strategic goals for the region? And how could the United States improve its profile as China continues to try to enhance its own?

    Aug 3, 2022

  • Multimedia

    Multimedia

    Update on Findings of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

    In this webinar, contributors to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and experts from the RAND Climate Resilience Center discuss findings from the report of the IPCC Working Group II.

    Aug 3, 2022

  • Ukrainian troops using advanced U.S. M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to attack Russian targets near Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, July 4,2022, photo by Armed Forces of Ukraine/Cover Im via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    Could U.S. Weapons Assistance to Ukraine Lead to Russian Escalation?

    The United States and its allies should certainly continue providing Ukraine with the matériel it needs, but they should also—in close consultation with Kyiv—begin opening channels of communication with Russia. An eventual cease-fire should be the goal, even as the path to it remains uncertain.

    Aug 1, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Talking to Russia, Racial Bias, Mine-Hunting Dolphins: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on preventing escalation of the war in Ukraine, how racial bias compounds over time, why the Navy should stick with its mine-hunting dolphins, and more.

    Jul 29, 2022

  • A suited man's hand reaching for the receiver of a red phone, photo by urbancow/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Another 'Hotline' with China Isn't the Answer

    While well-intentioned, another U.S.-PRC hotline would give false hope that the two countries would resolve disputes more rapidly during a crisis. The United States is better off changing its expectations, understanding how the PRC views crisis communications, and shifting the focus to the internal, inter-agency process by which U.S. policymakers would coordinate in a crisis with Beijing.

    Jul 27, 2022

  • U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris virtually addresses the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in Suva, Fiji, July 13, 2022, photo by Ben McKay/AAPIMAGE via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    China's Pacific Push Is Backfiring

    Beijing has had only limited success in spreading its influence in the Pacific, with the notable exceptions of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati. To be sure, other victories should be expected to follow. The overall picture, however, is far more challenging for China.

    Jul 26, 2022

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping, before a meeting in Beijing, China, April 25, 2019, photo by Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    China's Military Aid Is Probably Less Than You Think

    The first comprehensive assessment of Chinese military aid shows that China's $560 million total during 2013–2018 pales in comparison to the U.S. total of over $35 billion in the same period. This should offer advantages in the intensifying U.S.-China strategic competition.

    Jul 26, 2022

  • U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Ukraine's Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov in a Ukraine Defence Contact group meeting in Brussels, Belgium, June 15, 2022, photo by Yves Herman/Pool/Reuters

    Report

    Potential Pathways to Russian Escalation Against NATO

    A Russia-NATO war is far from an inevitable outcome of the current conflict in Ukraine. U.S. and allied policymakers should be concerned with specific pathways and potential triggers, but they need not operate under the assumption that every action will entail acute escalation risks.

    Jul 26, 2022

  • Covid-19 Prevention Opener B101 Crop

    Multimedia

    Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy with Research

    RAND senior physician policy researcher Courtney Gidengil reveals the biggest driver behind the hesitancy to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Jul 26, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Combating Coercive Control and Psychological Violence Against Women in the EU Member States

    The study analyses the causes and consequences of coercive control and psychological violence against women.

    Jul 19, 2022

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    The Sources of Societal Competitiveness: How Nations Actually Succeed in Long-Term Rivalries

    Seven characteristics are consistently associated with national dynamism and competitive position. This brief summarizes the relationship between a nation's social condition and its global standing and applies the lessons to the United States today.

    Jul 18, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Gun Storage, the Dangers of Replacement Theory, War in Ukraine: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how Americans store their guns, why

    Jul 15, 2022

  • Hanging lightbulb with connecting dots in foreground, many hanging lightbulbs out of focus in background, photo by onurdongel/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Embracing Intrinsic Cultural Advantages in Innovation

    The United States has long enjoyed the benefits of novel technology, but it could lose ground soon as other countries advance. Could it be time for the United States to embrace the advantages in innovation that it holds relative to near-peers like China?

    Jul 15, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Adaptive Engagement for Undergoverned Spaces: Concepts, Challenges, and Prospects for New Approaches

    This report is a compendium of expert insights regarding opportunities for investing in science and technology to increase U.S. ability to engage in long-term competition in undergoverned spaces.

    Jul 13, 2022

  • A student listens through headphones to an exercise in a Spanish class in Steveange, UK, photo by Ian Miles/Flashpoint Pictures/Alamy

    Essay

    The Economic Returns of Foreign Language Learning

    If just 10 percent more students in the United Kingdom mastered Arabic, Mandarin, French, or Spanish, the economic returns could be measured in billions of British pounds. Removing the language barrier reduces trade costs.

    Jul 7, 2022

  • Smoke rises from a residential building after shelling from Russian positions in northern Kharkiv as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine, March 31, 2022, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Obstacles to Lasting Peace Between Ukraine and Russia

    The current situation in Ukraine suggests that neither side will be able to achieve a decisive military victory that settles the disputes that led to the war. Ukraine and Russia theoretically could reach an agreement to stop the fighting, but the politics between the two sides and centuries of confrontational history do not suggest a lasting peace.

    Jul 7, 2022

  • A soldier sits atop a U.S. tank at the Yuma proving ground with orange clouds of dust behind them.

    Tool

    Forecasting Demand for U.S. Ground Forces: An Interactive Tool

    This interactive tool uses a dynamic forecasting model to project future demand for U.S. ground forces. The resulting forecasts can help inform U.S. military decisions regarding future force planning, posture, and investments.

    Jul 6, 2022

  • Soldiers from 1st Cavalry Division crouch in front of tanks during an exercise

    Report

    Forecasting Demand for U.S. Ground Forces: Assessing Future Trends in Armed Conflict and U.S. Military Interventions

    This report identifies potential future demands for U.S. ground forces under different scenarios, including size, location, and capabilities, to inform Army decisions regarding future force planning, posture, and investments.

    Jul 6, 2022

  • South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden arrive for a state dinner at the National Museum of Korea, in Seoul, South Korea, May 21, 2022, photo by Lee Jin-man/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Yoon Suk-yeol Is Biden's Perfect South Korea Partner

    Yoon Suk-yeol, South Korea's conservative new president, has shown that he is in lockstep with U.S. President Joe Biden on foreign policy. During Biden's Indo-Pacific trip in May, their conversations in the security domain suggest Yoon's overlapping tenure with Biden heralds a golden era in the U.S.-South Korea alliance.

    Jul 5, 2022

  • Residents of Raqqa gather in the morning to drink tea after they had been allowed back to inspect their homes, photo by Aboud Hamam

    Essay

    Civilian Casualties: Lessons from the Battle for Raqqa

    The United States' emphasis on minimizing civilian harm in Raqqa, Syria, was quite clear and strong up and down the chain of command. But the way in which the U.S. military waged war in Raqqa too often undercut that commitment. The Pentagon asked RAND to find out what happened.

    Jul 1, 2022