International Affairs


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.

  • Commentary

    Sparing Civilian Lives in Gaza

    How do you protect innocent civilians while conducting effective urban military operations against an enemy who is integrated into the civilian population and entrenched in a location's infrastructure? Despite the ferocity of the Hamas attack and the Israeli response, the moral obligation to reduce civilian harm cannot be ignored.

    Oct 21, 2023

  • Commentary

    Looking Beyond the War: Planning for Ukraine's Reconstruction

    More certain than the outcome of the war is the need for an extensive post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. It is likely to be the largest post-war rebuilding effort since the one in Europe after World War Two. The United States and its allies and partners have an intense interest in the success of reconstruction.

    Sep 18, 2023

Explore International Affairs

  • Illustration of map of China and Taiwan with their flags as patterns on the countries, with shadow of China over Taiwan, photo by Rich Townsend/Getty Images


    These Technologies Could Defeat China's Missile Barrage and Defend Taiwan

    Earlier this year, a group of experts from RAND and the Special Competitive Studies Project launched a new wargame effort around China's invasion of Taiwan. But unlike most D.C.-based wargames, this effort heavily involved members of the commercial technology sector, to understand what near-term capabilities might be brought to bear on a Taiwan scenario.

    Aug 24, 2023

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India (r) meets Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, June 1, 2023, photo by ANI/Reuters


    India Is Pushing Back Against China in South Asia

    The jostling between India and China for influence in South Asia will likely prove crucial to the fate of U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy. The good news, at least for now, is that New Delhi has been mostly successful in pushing back against Beijing's rising influence across the region.

    Aug 21, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Maui Wildires, Regulating AI, Ukraine's Civilian Resistance: RAND Weekly Recaps

    This weekly recap focuses on the invisible damage of Maui’s wildfires, making the artificial intelligence supply chain safer, how Ukrainian civilians resist Russia, and more.

    Aug 18, 2023

  • A colorful silhouette of an aircraft is superimposed on maps of Russia and Iran, images by Belterz/Getty Images, Kevin Smart/Getty Images, and KeithBinns/Getty Images


    Deterring Russia and Iran

    How can the United States effectively and efficiently deter Russia and Iran without crowding out investments in other military missions, including competition with China in the Indo-Pacific?

    Aug 17, 2023

  • USA map composed of stick figures in red and blue, image by bamlou/Getty Images


    Toward a New Paradigm in U.S. Foreign Policy: Harnessing the Power of American Society in Pursuit of U.S. National Security Objectives

    In this Perspective, the authors call for a new “whole of America” paradigm for U.S. foreign policy that leverages the nation’s governments, businesses, civil society, and academic institutions to defend core U.S. principles of democracy and freedom.

    Aug 17, 2023

  • Flags of United States and China on computer processors, photo by kritsapong jieantaratip/Getty Images


    Winning the Tech Cold War

    Emerging technologies increasingly make it possible for machines to innovate much faster and more efficiently than humans ever could. The Pentagon can draw some important lessons for technology competition with China by looking at the U.S.-Soviet race to develop nuclear weapons during the Cold War.

    Aug 17, 2023

  • India and America waving flags on blue sky. 3d illustration, photo by Rawf8 / Adobe Stock


    Conference Proceedings on Indian and U.S. Security Cooperation: Defense Production, Indo-Pacific Region, and Afghanistan

    A two-day conference explored Indian and U.S. views on security across the Indo-Pacific, informed by six papers discussing bilateral security cooperation, Russian arms sales to India, and the challenges posed by China to regional security.

    Aug 16, 2023

  • Google sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China, July 6, 2023, photo by Aly Song/Reuters


    Rethinking Who's Winning the U.S.-China Tech Competition

    The competition between the U.S. and China is a multi-dimensional contest involving technological, economic, military, and political elements. To accurately assess a nation's standing, the focus should shift from measures (raw numerical data) to metrics, which offer meaningful interpretations of these numbers.

    Aug 16, 2023

  • A Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter aircraft flies in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, April 27, 2023, photo by EyePress News/Reuters


    The Uncounted Losses to Russia's Air Force

    The Russians have burned through more of the expected life span of their aircraft more quickly than anticipated. To make up for it, they'll have to procure more aircraft, increase maintenance, reduce operations, or accept a smaller force—or some combination of those.

    Aug 14, 2023

  • A military sapper picks up unexploded parts of a cluster bomb left after Russia's invasion near the village of Motyzhyn, in Kyiv region, Ukraine, April 10, 2022, photo by Stringer/Reuters


    Why Biden Was Justified to Send Cluster Munitions to Ukraine

    The U.S. decision to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine—and the ensuing controversy—are reflective of a broader and long-standing question: What means are moral in war? While much has been made of the dangers posed by unexploded ordnance from these weapons, there are strong arguments for providing them to Ukraine.

    Aug 14, 2023

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for a ceremony at the Monument to the People's Heroes on Tiananmen Square to mark Martyrs' Day, in Beijing, China September 30, 2021, photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

    Journal Article

    Xi's Cautious Inching Towards the China Dream

    Beijing’s current strategy for ensuring CCP rule through mid-century and beyond heavily emphasizes domestic threats.

    Aug 11, 2023

  • Prisoners suspected of being part of the Islamic State, lie inside a prison cell in Hasaka, Syria, January 7, 2020, photo by Goran Tomasevic/Reuters


    How to Approach the Situation of ISIS Prisoners in Syria

    Prisons holding former ISIS fighters in Syria pose security threats and don't meet international standards. Prisoners, including youth, remain in legal limbo with no internationally agreed-on justice procedures. What courses of action and policy directions could help?

    Aug 9, 2023

  • New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins (l) and Chinese Premier Li Qiang shake hands during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, June 28, 2023, photo by Pool/Reuters


    New Zealand's New Prime Minister Is Making Nice with China

    There is little question that New Zealand will continue to pursue an independent foreign policy, albeit perhaps a quietly Western-aligned one, when it comes to China. Washington should not become disillusioned with Wellington, but it should not hold high expectations about cooperation on China issues either.

    Aug 9, 2023

  • Service members with the Freedom of Russia Legion at their positions near a front line in Donetsk region, Ukraine, March 21, 2023, photo by Stringer/Reuters


    The Russo-Ukrainian War Has Bolstered Ukraine's Nonstate Alliance Network

    Since 2014, militant groups from Russia, Belarus, Chechnya, and elsewhere have established themselves as allies of Ukraine in its fight against Russia and its aligned forces. Though alignment with these groups presents clear benefits in the near term, Kyiv should be cautious since these groups could turn on Ukraine at any time should their interests no longer align.

    Aug 7, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Ukrainian Refugees, U.S. and Allied Defense Strategy, Threats from AI: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on supporting Ukrainian refugees, the future of U.S. and allied defense strategy, existential threats posed by artificial intelligence, and more.

    Aug 4, 2023

  • Multimedia

    A Better Future for Ukraine and Its Partners

    This video includes the proceedings from a RAND National Security Research Division event held on July 17, 2023. Panelists discussed the latest developments from NATO, and looked ahead to the post-war reconstruction in Ukraine. Guest speakers include former President of the World Bank Group Robert Zoellick, former Ukraine Minister of Finance Natalie Jaresko, and former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and Lt. Gen., U.S. Army (Ret.) Douglas Lute.

    Aug 2, 2023

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with service members at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 27, 2023, photo by Mikhail Tereshchenko/Sputnik/Pool via Reuters


    It Should Not Have Been a Surprise: The Threat from Putin's Russia

    The recent NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, left the world asking a hard question: “Are we in a new Cold War with Russia?” Our answer is to a different, and harder, and more important question: Is Russia already at war with the West?

    Aug 1, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, Neurodiversity, Russia's 'Forever War': RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on public reports of unidentified aerial phenomena, neurodiversity and national security, Ukraine's path to victory, and more.

    Jul 28, 2023

  • A monk in Gansu Province, China, holds a picture of the Dalai Lama ahead of the Tibetan New Year, February 21, 2012, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Research Brief

    Tibet's Prisons and Detention Centers: What Does Nighttime Lighting Reveal?

    Researchers used nighttime lighting data to better understand prisons and detention facilities in Tibet. They found patterns of growth in lighting concentrated in higher-security facilities since 2019. This trend may suggest a shift toward longer detentions and imprisonments.

    Jul 27, 2023

  • Report


    A night-time lighting analysis of Tibet's prisons and detention centres

    Using the innovative method of night-time lighting data, this study aims to shed light on the prisons and detention centres in Tibet.

    Jul 27, 2023