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.

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a videoconference meeting with members of the Lomonosov Moscow State University Board of Trustees at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, December 24, 2020, photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Reuters

    Commentary

    Sanctions Targeting Russia's Defense Sector: Will They Influence Its Behavior?

    May 20, 2021

    In response to recent Russian cyber espionage, interference in U.S. elections, and the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, President Biden announced a new round of sanctions and expulsions of Russian officials. But will these sanctions hurt Russia's defense industry enough to curb the Kremlin's behavior?

  • A Chinese meteorological department worker burns catalyst for cloud seeding and snowmaking to end drought in Beijing, China, February 17, 2009, photo by Oriental Image via Reuters

    Report

    What Are the Geopolitical Risks of Geoengineering?

    May 25, 2021

    Geoengineering is the intentional manipulation of an environmental process on Earth to counteract the effects of climate change. Geoengineering implementation could introduce geopolitical risks. This raises the question of whether existing international governance mechanisms can manage these risks.

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  • The United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket launches from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, July 30, 2020, photo by Frank Michaux/NASA

    Commentary

    Navigating Norms for the New Space Era

    To make better progress on global norms for responsible behavior in space, the U.S. defense and intelligence communities might first consider reaching a consensus among themselves on what these norms should be. Until they reconcile their differences the United States will be less likely be in a position to play a leadership role.

    Feb 8, 2021

  • Two Air Force F-22 Raptors fly over Syria, February 2, 2018, while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, photo by Staff Sgt. Colton Elliott/Air National Guard

    Report

    Airpower Was Indispensable to Defeating ISIS

    Some argue that airpower could have been applied more vigorously in Operation Inherent Resolve to have more quickly defeated ISIS. Airpower was essential, but ground forces led by Iraqi and Syrian partners were needed to destroy the Islamic State as a territorial entity.

    Feb 5, 2021

  • An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter takes off from the flight deck of the USS Mustin in the Taiwan Strait, August 18, 2020, photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cody Beam/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Biden Doubles Down on Trump's Taiwan Policy, but Will It Last?

    It's an open secret that Taiwan welcomed the Trump administration's policy to significantly strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations, and it was jittery about the transition to the Biden administration. Early indications, however, are that the Biden team appears poised to opt for a stronger relationship with Taiwan as set forth under the Trump administration.

    Feb 5, 2021

  • U.S. Navy sailors pull a line affixed to a combat rubber raiding craft with Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment soldiers in the Pacific Ocean, February 6, 2020, photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Natalie M. Byers/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    The United States and Japan Should Prepare for War with China

    The U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace, security, and stability in the East China Sea region. Those benefits come through a shared commitment to provide robust responses from peacetime to contingencies. But is the alliance equipped, postured, and authorized to do what will need to be done in a conflict?

    Feb 5, 2021

  • Will U.S.-Iran Relations Improve?

    Multimedia

    Under the Biden Administration: Will U.S.-Iran Relations Improve?

    RAND senior international/defense policy researcher Heather Williams discusses the current landscape for improving the strained relationship between the United States and Iran.

    Feb 4, 2021

  • National guard block the street during a protest against the detention of the opposition leader Alexei Navalny in St. Petersburg, Russia, January 31, 2021, photo by Sergei Mikhailichenko/SOPA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Alexei Navalny Has Become a Profile in Courage. This Puts the Kremlin in a Quandary

    Prolonging Alexei Navalny's imprisonment, attempting to murder him—or actually succeeding—would only galvanize his supporters. And releasing him could be viewed as a victory for the opposition, making the Kremlin look weak.

    Feb 2, 2021

  • An Indian fighter plane flies over a mountain range in Leh, in the Ladakh region, India, September 15, 2020, photo by Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

    Commentary

    Stabilizing China-India Relations in 2021: Is This Possible?

    China-India relations seem to be at their lowest point in decades. The Ladakh confrontation is fraught with the risk of escalation. But both countries have much to gain from a compromise. Leadership on both sides could help by focusing on the long-term gains in a spirit of give-and-take.

    Feb 2, 2021

  • A Vietnamese naval soldier stands guard at Thuyen Chai island in the Spratly archipelago January 17, 2013, photo by Quang Le/Reuters

    Commentary

    How U.S.-Vietnam Ties Might Go Off the Rails

    Although there are valid reasons to question the trajectory of U.S.-Vietnam relations in the coming years, the overwhelming momentum is positive and is likely to stay that way. Any frictions that arise will probably be handled diplomatically to avoid greater damage to the relationship. But of course, nothing is guaranteed.

    Feb 1, 2021

  • Blog

    Prescription Drug Prices, Transgender Troops, Space Diplomacy: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on America's high prescription drug prices, allowing transgender troops in the military, food insecurity in Black neighborhoods, and more.

    Jan 29, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    The Demand for Responsiveness in Past U.S. Military Operations

    The Department of Defense argues that it must maintain a high level of readiness across the joint force to remain highly responsive. The author conducts a historical analysis to identify the demand for responsiveness in past U.S. military operations.

    Jan 28, 2021

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed, and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani wait prior to signing the Abraham Accords at the White House in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020, photo by Tom Brenner/Reuters

    Commentary

    Implementing Arab Gulf Reconciliation

    As the Arab Gulf states prepare to engage with a new U.S. administration, their recent reconciliation announcement offers an opportunity to advance their interests as well as mutual interests with the United States. But the Gulf states' intent to end their feud will very likely not be sufficient unless the agreement is deepened through confidence-building measures and expanded by reaching a parallel understanding with Turkey.

    Jan 27, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Future Threats and Some Considerations for the Next U.S. National Defense Strategy

    In this article, the authors offer a U.S. perspective on the evolution of threats from the recent past, and posit several considerations for the next National Defense Strategy.

    Jan 26, 2021

  • Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Ethan Clabaugh stands watch on the amphibious assault ship USS America in Okinawa, Japan, January 16, 2021, photo by MCSN Matthew Cavenaile/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Why Biden's Japan Agenda Matters

    Efforts to mend America's political wounds, combating COVID-19, and the continuing deterioration of U.S.-China relations may dominate the Biden agenda. But quick wins with Japan are possible and could be necessary to ensure that the alliance begins on a positive footing so it can tackle difficult challenges in the years ahead.

    Jan 26, 2021

  • Allied troops cross Neman River during NATO exercise Saber Strike in Kulautuva, Lithuania, June 13, 2018, photo by Andrius Sytas/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Great Wall

    China built a wall to protect against foreign invaders, but Russia is erecting a barrier that could weaken its position. Moscow's pressure on neighbors has spurred NATO to bolster its presence in Russia's immediate vicinity.

    Jan 25, 2021

  • European Council President Charles Michel, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Emmanuel Macron attend the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, October 15, 2020, photo by Yves Herman/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Welcoming a Stronger European Defense

    Washington has bristled at the notion of a Europe capable of strategic autonomy in the past. But the Biden administration might do better to take seriously the prospect of Europe as a (potentially great) power, and welcome it.

    Jan 22, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Interest in a U.S. Grand Strategy of Restraint May Be Growing, So Advocates Need to Provide More Details

    As the Biden Administration takes over, some U.S. policymakers have expressed interest in a new approach to America's role in the world: a realist grand strategy of restraint under which the U.S. would cooperate more with other powers, reduce its forward military presence and end or renegotiate some security commitments.

    Jan 22, 2021

  • A world map puzzle with a piece on top, photo by Yuriy Panyukov/Adobe Stock

    Report

    A U.S. Grand Strategy of Restraint

    Some U.S. policymakers have expressed interest in a realist grand strategy of restraint. Under this approach, the United States would cooperate more with other powers, reduce its forward military presence, and end or renegotiate some security commitments. What are the policy implications of embarking down this path?

    Jan 21, 2021

  • A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter pilot flies alongside two Indonesian air force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter pilots over the Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado, Indonesia

    Report

    Regional Responses to U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific: Indonesia

    In this report, the author examines whether and how the United States can increase its cooperation with Indonesia in order to manage China's rise as a strategic competitor to the United States in the Indo-Pacific region.

    Jan 21, 2021

  • Mother working on a laptop while holding her baby, photo by monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Helping Mothers Return to Work Is a Gender Equality Issue

    Employers and policymakers play a crucial role in ensuring that women are not unnecessarily disadvantaged when they have children. Policies such as access to family leave, job protection, and childcare options can play a large role.

    Jan 21, 2021

  • Antony Blinken, nominee for Secretary of State, speaks as President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President–elect Kamala Harris announce their national security nominees and appointees, Wilmington, Delaware, November 24, 2020, photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    Commentary

    For Joe Biden, an Experienced Foreign Policy Team

    As President-elect Biden fills out his foreign policy team he might wish to reach out to a few foreign affairs professionals who sat out the Trump administration in order to fill positions in fields where some degree of bipartisanship remains a possibility. These areas might include relations with allies and with the two major U.S. competitors, Russia and China.

    Jan 19, 2021