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.

  • A crowd of people standing in a star formation over a background of red stripes of a U.S. flag, images by adimas and bennymarty/Adobe Stock

    Report

    How a Nation's Social Condition Relates to Its Global Standing

    Jun 21, 2022

    Certain societal characteristics are associated with national competitive success, including national ambition and will, unified national identity, and shared opportunity. Where does the United States stand in those areas? And what trends are working to weaken traditional U.S. advantages?

  • 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

    Jul 7, 2022

    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.

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  • Officers of the Vietnamese Marine Guard monitor a Chinese coast guard vessel in the South China Sea, about 130 miles offshore of Vietnam, May 15, 2014, photo by Nguyen Minh/Reuters

    Research Brief

    How and Why China Uses Gray Zone Tactics

    China uses a variety of gray zone tactics—coercive actions that are shy of armed conflict but beyond normal diplomatic and economic activities—to advance its objectives, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. Which tactics should the United States prioritize countering?

    Mar 30, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Competition in the Gray Zone: Countering China's Coercion Against U.S. Allies and Partners in the Indo-Pacific

    This report examines how and why China uses gray zone tactics—coercive activities beyond normal diplomacy and trade but below the use of kinetic military force—against U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific.

    Mar 30, 2022

  • Ukrainian soldiers inspect civilian vehicles they said Russian troops used to create a barrier as they took up a position outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 29, 2022, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Ukrainian Military Has Defied Expectations. Here Is How U.S. Security Aid Contributed

    Ukraine's military was unprepared and largely ineffective when Russia's military seized Crimea in 2014. By 2022, Ukraine appears to have overcome at least some of the earlier challenges. Did U.S. security assistance make the Ukrainian military more effective?

    Mar 29, 2022

  • Brochure

    Brochure

    The Alliance Initiative: RAND's Support for the Australia–United Kingdom–United States (AUKUS) Partnership

    RAND is well positioned to support an Australia-United Kingdom-United States security partnership.

    Mar 29, 2022

  • Blog

    Insights on Russia's War in Ukraine, Global Citizenship, Vaccination Equity: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Russia's war on Ukraine, medication treatment for patients with opioid use disorder, promoting global citizenship in America, and more.

    Mar 25, 2022

  • Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force amphibious rapid deployment unit conducts a drill on Tanegashima Island, November 25, 2021, photo by Kyodo via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    Japan's Wake Up Call

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine has drawn concern and comparison to what China may have in mind for Taiwan. Given China's history of provocations, it could behoove Japanese leaders to devote renewed attention to how they would deal with a Taiwan crisis, especially as it could include an attack on Japan.

    Mar 24, 2022

  • A world map superimposed over people's raised hands, photo by Rawpixel/Getty Images

    Report

    Advancing Global Citizenship in America

    Concerted international action is required to address climate change and sustainability, pandemics, global security, and economic growth. But such action requires a sense of common destiny and shared responsibility among people across nations. What are Americans' attitudes toward global issues, and what could encourage them to become citizens of the world?

    Mar 24, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF): Stage 1a Evaluation

    Stage 1a of a long term evaluation of the GCRF consists of a management review, and findings on aspects of the international research it funds.

    Mar 23, 2022

  • An artist rendering of the future Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, illustration by U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Making AUKUS Work

    In September 2021, President Biden announced the creation of AUKUS, a trilateral, experimental arrangement among the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom focused on defense technology. The barriers to success are numerous but the partnership could offer significant opportunities.

    Mar 22, 2022

  • A woman from Ukraine listens to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's speech on a phone, at a refugee shelter after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Beregsurany, Hungary, February 28, 2022, photo by Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Will to Fight in the Age of Social Media

    Social media messaging has played a decisive role in strengthening Ukraine's will to fight—arguably the single most important factor in war—against Russia.

    Mar 22, 2022

  • Rescuers work next to a building damaged by Russian air strikes in central Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 14, 2022, photo by Vitalii Hnidyi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Duty Bound to Disaster: Beware the Imperative in Foreign Policymaking

    Appeals for bolder action in Ukraine will understandably only grow more intense as the appalling humanitarian toll mounts. But imperative-driven action almost always leads countries astray—and in the days and weeks ahead, it will be critical for the United States to stay alert for its symptoms.

    Mar 22, 2022

  • Soldiers from the Rapid Response Forces Division during the NATO exercise GREEN GRIFFIN 21 in Lehnin, Germany, October 4, 2021, U.S. Army photo by Michele Wiencek

    Commentary

    Europe After the Ukraine War

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine has generated a massive backlash that is likely to endure even if the guns fall silent. What are the longer-term implications for Europe, and how will it affect European energy policy, military preparedness, and overall unity?

    Mar 21, 2022

  • Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army Navy patrol at Woody Island, in the Paracel Archipelago, January 29, 2016, photo by China Stringer Network/Reuters

    Commentary

    Taiwan Isn't the Ukraine of the Indo-Pacific. Try Vietnam Instead

    Russia's war in Eastern Europe has prompted Indo-Pacific security watchers to draw comparisons between Ukraine's plight and that of Taiwan with regard to China. But the more-applicable analogy is a different Indo-Pacific country: Vietnam.

    Mar 21, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Disruption Without Change: The Consequences of COVID-19 on the Global Economic Balance

    The author reviews the economic track record of the United States, its competitors, and its allies to discern how economic changes induced by the COVID-19 pandemic could affect geopolitical competition and the security environment.

    Mar 21, 2022

  • Military Opener 2

    Multimedia

    Conflict Escalation: How It Works

    RAND senior political scientist Samuel Charap describes two types of conflict escalation and methods for mitigating the broadening of the scope of a conflict.

    Mar 21, 2022

  • Blog

    Keeping Russians Informed, No-Fly Zone Policy, Telehealth: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how to ensure Russians have access to accurate news about the war in Ukraine, strategic considerations for keeping a no-fly zone option on the table, treating pain conditions among U.S. service members, and more.

    Mar 18, 2022

  • NATO foreign ministers gather for a meeting following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 4, 2022, photo by Olivier Douliery/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    After Russia's Ukraine Invasion, Seven Assumptions the U.S. and NATO Allies Should Drop

    Given the realizations wrought by the recent invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its NATO allies might reconsider several assumptions and arguments that have limited conventional military deterrence in Europe. Making sure we are ready to defend and thus deter a larger war that must never be fought is critically important.

    Mar 18, 2022

  • The Kremlin's Spasskaya Tower and St. Basil's Cathedral seen through an art object in Zaryadye park in Moscow, Russia, March 15, 2022, photo by Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

    Commentary

    If Regime Change Were to Come to Moscow

    Strains in Russia over the war in Ukraine and punishing economic sanctions could spark regime change in Moscow. Although prospects for this are uncertain, the West might be prudent to begin considering how to deal with any new government.

    Mar 18, 2022

  • Taiwanese soldiers walk down a street in this undated photo posted to Twitter on March 11, 2022 by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, photo courtesy of the Office of the President of Taiwan

    Commentary

    What the Invasion of Ukraine Might Teach Us About a Potential Taiwan Crisis

    Chinese leaders are learning from the conflict in Ukraine, not just by observing Russia's actions, but also the West's response. By also learning from the conflict, the United States, Taiwan, and other like-minded partners can help ensure that Beijing comes away from the current crisis with a greater appreciation of the risks that attacking Taiwan would entail.

    Mar 17, 2022

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine delivers a virtual address to Congress in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 16, 2022, photo by Sarahbeth Maney/Pool/Sipa USA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Why It Could Be a Strategic Mistake to Rule Out a No-Fly Zone Policy

    The United States has been willing to entertain many forms of support to Ukraine, but senior administration and congressional leaders have categorically ruled out declaring a no-fly zone over the country. While American policymakers are rightfully hesitant to implement a no-fly zone policy, it could be a strategic mistake to say so in public.

    Mar 16, 2022