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.

  • Marines guide a woman and her child during an evacuation from Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 18, 2021, photo by Marine Corps Sgt. Isaiah Campbell/U.S. Department of Defense

    Commentary

    Afghanistan Was Lost Long Ago

    Aug 30, 2021

    The United States failed to build a lasting state in Afghanistan. Although the mission was not doomed from the start, early miscalculations and critical mistakes made success unlikely.

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a news conference in New Delhi, India, July 28, 2021, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden's Indo-Pacific Policy Blueprint Emerges

    Aug 23, 2021

    The Biden administration has yet to detail its goals in the Indo-Pacific region and how it plans to achieve them. But following recent virtual engagements and U.S. visits to the region, at least three key points have crystallized.

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  • Blog

    COVID-19 Disinformation, Biden's Address, Leaving Afghanistan: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Russian and Chinese campaigns to spread malign and subversive information on COVID-19, President Biden's address to Congress, the planned U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and more.

    Apr 30, 2021

  • Children sing and dance in front of Children's Peace Monument to commemorate the coming into effect of the TPNW at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan, January 22, 2021, photo by Osamu Kanazawa/Yomiuri Shimbun via Reuters

    Commentary

    Nuclear Ban Treaty Offers Rare Chance for Japan

    As the only country to suffer the horrors of wartime atomic bombings, one would assume Japan would eagerly sign any treaty to ban such weapons. Why hasn't Japan signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which took effect in January 2021?

    Apr 30, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    What if France Ended Operation Barkhane? Findings of the RAND Webinar on Operation Barkhane

    RAND hosted a webinar on “What if France Ended Operation Barkhane?” which discussed the consequences of ending Operation Barkhane, focusing on regional security, the terrorist threat and future relations between terrorist groups and local actors.

    Apr 29, 2021

  • An ethnic Uyghur boy stands at the door of his home as Chinese security forces secure the area in Urumqi, China, July 10, 2009, photo by Nir Elias/Reuters

    Essay

    China's Disappeared Uyghurs: What Satellite Images Reveal

    At least one million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have vanished into a sprawling network of camps and prisons in China's far west. Satellite images show brightly lit compounds, wall after wall of barbed wire, and a sudden rush to build what appear to be fortified preschools.

    Apr 29, 2021

  • President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi behind him, Washington, D.C., April 28, 2021, photo by Melina Mara/Reuters

    Blog

    Biden's First Address to Congress: Insights from RAND

    President Joe Biden addressed a joint session of Congress, summarizing his administration's early COVID-19 response and outlining plans that aim to loosen the pandemic's year-long grip on a weary nation. The speech reflected the fact that the United States faces policy challenges across a wide range of domains.

    Apr 29, 2021

  • Joe Biden shakes hands with Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, March 10, 2011, photo by Alexander Natruskin/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Biden-Putin Summit: Do the Risks Outweigh the Potential Rewards?

    President Biden has proposed that the United States and Russia hold a summit in the coming months. If that happens, major gains may be out of reach at first. Some progress might be possible, but the risks may be greater than at most previous summits.

    Apr 27, 2021

  • Super Typhoon Noru photographed by ISS astronaut Randy Bresnick above the Northwestern Pacific Ocean on August 1, 2017, photo courtesy of NASA

    Report

    Responsible Space Behavior for the New Space Era

    The early space domain was dominated by two superpowers. Today, the world has more than 60 spacefaring nations, multiple commercial space operators, and a global economy that is inextricably linked to space. Now is the time to develop responsible space norms.

    Apr 26, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga arrive for a news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 16, 2021, photo by Tom Brenner/Reuters

    Commentary

    Suga-Biden Summit: Rekindling Confidence in the U.S.-Japan Alliance

    The April summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga signaled a deepening in the U.S.-Japan alliance. It highlighted important new areas of cooperation and a concrete agenda for U.S.-Japan relations.

    Apr 26, 2021

  • Soldiers in 3rd Platoon, Combat Company, 1-32 Infantry, return from a patrol near the villages of Tsapre and Aybat, Afghanistan, April 1, 2007, photo by Army Spc. Jon H. Arguello/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    To Lose a War

    The result of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will be a blow to American credibility and a weakening of deterrence and the value of American reassurance elsewhere. It will also result in an increased terrorist threat emanating from the Afghan region, and the distinct possibility of a necessary return there one day under worse conditions.

    Apr 26, 2021

  • Blog

    Summer Learning, America's Middle Class, Waking Up After the Pandemic: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how to make summer learning count, U.S. deterrence in the ‘gray zone,’ why so many Americans are stuck outside the middle class, and more.

    Apr 23, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Delivering the Promise of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Contexts (FCAC): A Case Study of the NGO GOAL's Response to the Syria Conflict

    This paper offers a case study of international NGO GOAL's programming that responds to the protracted crisis in Syria, with critical discussion on SFDRR and how to adapt humanitarian relief and disaster resilience.

    Apr 22, 2021

  • Still from a documentary by a North Korean TV station, titled “The efforts and sacrifices (of the Chairman of the North Korean State Affairs Committee, Kim Jong-un) for the people in 2020,” broadcast February 1, 2021, photo by KCTV via / Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    COVID-19 Exacerbates North Korea's Bad Choices

    Recently, Kim Jong-un admitted that North Korea is facing a dire situation. It was surprising that he would admit circumstances which at face value suggest major failures on his part. Why is Kim admitting that such circumstances are developing in the North now?

    Apr 20, 2021

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during the conference of the Central Military Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 23, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Think the Coronavirus Is Curbing Kim's Atomic Appetite? Think Again

    Coronavirus or not, Kim Jong-un's appetite for nuclear and missile bargaining with the United States remains intact. This likely spells further weapons demonstrations from North Korea, with potentially longer-range missile demonstrations to test Washington's resolve in its nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang.

    Apr 20, 2021

  • Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden walk on the Colonnade prior to their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 16, 2021, photo by Doug Mills/Pool via CNP/InStar

    Commentary

    'Joe-Yoshi' Spirit Buoys Japan-U.S. Alliance in Turbulent Seas

    President Biden and Prime Minister Suga appear to have established a warm, personal rapport while communicating a clear vision of the importance of working together to end the pandemic, combat climate change, preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific, and defend democracy.

    Apr 20, 2021

  • Time-lapse of Starry Night Sky

    Multimedia

    The Need for Space Norms

    RAND senior political scientist Stephen Flanagan discusses the increasing level of space activity and the need for space norms to provide guidance for how nations should conduct space operations.

    Apr 20, 2021

  • Chinese marine surveillance ships cruising in the East China Sea, as the islands known as the Senkaku isles in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China are seen in the background, April 23, 2013, photo by Kyodo/Reuters

    Report

    The Health of U.S. and Partner Deterrence in the Gray Zone

    Gray zone aggression, campaigns to achieve political objectives while remaining below the threshold of outright warfare, is on the rise. U.S. and allied deterrent postures are reasonably strong, though mixed, when it comes to China's aggression in the Senkaku Islands, Russia's in the Baltic states, and North Korea's in South Korea.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • South Korean soldiers coordinate fires during a joint artillery exercise with U.S. soldiers near the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea, May 10, 2016, photo by Staff Sgt. Keith Anderson/U.S. Army

    Report

    The State of Deterrence in Korea and the Taiwan Strait

    The United States and South Korea have a robust military presence on the Korean Peninsula that, at a minimum, would make any effort by North Korea to reunify the nations by force extremely costly. In contrast, the state of U.S. deterrence with regard to Chinese aggression against Taiwan is mixed.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • The SolarWinds logo is seen outside its headquarters in Austin, Texas, December 18, 2020, photo by Sergio Flores/Reuters

    Commentary

    Unconventional Supply Network Operations: A New Frontier in Global Competition

    The technological advances of recent decades that have made supply networks drastically more efficient, valuable, and essential to every element of our daily lives have also created a highly interdependent, largely unsecured portfolio of potential attack surfaces.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exchange documents during the signing ceremony of a 25-year cooperation agreement, in Tehran, Iran March 27, 2021, photo by Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Does Not Have to Be America's Enemy in the Middle East

    China and Iran made a deal in which China promised to boost its investment in Iranian infrastructure in exchange for a steady supply of oil. This uptick in Chinese influence does not necessarily erode U.S. power in the region. The United States may even find overlapping interests with China since both have a stake in containing conflicts and instability.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Transforming Global Education Through Evidence: An Evaluation System for the BHP Foundation's Education Equity Global Signature Program

    In this report, researchers develop a framework to evaluate the BHP Foundation's Education Equity Global Signature Program, explain methods for assessing progress over five years, and present preliminary results after a year of evaluation.

    Apr 15, 2021