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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 Ukrainian service member looks on outside the city of Sievierodonetsk, Ukraine, as Russia's attack continues, June 19, 2022, photo by Oleksandr Ratushniak/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Case for Cautious Optimism in Ukraine

    Aug 9, 2022

    While the outcome of the war in Ukraine is by no means clear, the balance of materiel, manpower, and willpower all seem to make the case for cautious optimism. Although Ukraine is unlikely to throw Russia back to its borders any time soon, the war will likely trend in Ukraine's favor in the coming months. But only if the West does not blink first.

  • The International Space Station, November 25, 2009, photo by NASA

    Commentary

    Russia's Withdrawal from the ISS, Another Sign of Its Space Decline?

    Aug 4, 2022

    Russia's threatened exit from the International Space Station could simply be more bluster from Moscow at a time of heightened tension between Russia and the West over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But it also appears to be another signal that Russia's profile in space is in decline, a trend that is likely to continue and that the United States could be preparing for now.

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  • 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

  • An empty airport terminal at Sheremetyevo International Airport after Aeroflot suspended most international flights in order to keep leased aircraft from being detained due to sanctions, in Moscow, Russia, March 8, 2022, photo by Artyom Geodakyan/Reuters

    Commentary

    Where Is Business in Russia?

    Businesses in Russia have little hope of making a full recovery and operating normally in the global economy unless the West lifts its extraordinary sanctions. Political and civic engagement may be essential to protect their value and the interests of shareholders and employees.

    Mar 16, 2022

  • File photo of Yoon Suk-yeol, who was elected president of South Korea on March 9, 2022, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    Will South Korea's New President Reshape Regional Dynamics?

    Yoon Suk-yeol has been elected president of South Korea. With a tall order to fill at home and abroad, the Yoon administration has the potential to reshape South Korea's future and relationships in the region. The path that he carves for Seoul in the coming weeks and months will be watched with keen interest marked by hopes and apprehension by his neighbors.

    Mar 15, 2022

  • Blog

    Putin's State of Mind, the Digital Skills Gap, International Women's Day: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on deterring Russian President Vladimir Putin, understanding America’s gun policy debate, improving teacher diversity, and more.

    Mar 11, 2022

  • Private security company owner Wang Haichun takes part in a training session with his employees in Hangzhou, China, March 6, 2018, photo by Tu meifei/Reuters

    Commentary

    China's Security Contractors Have Avoided the Fate of Russia's Military Contractors, So Far

    China's approach to private security contractors is much more limited in scope and effects than Russia's use of private military contractors. But indicators suggest that Chinese planners see benefits in expanding and maturing China's use of private contractors, which creates the potential for dangerous results for China and the rest of the world.

    Mar 11, 2022

  • Image grab from footage released by Russia Ministry of Defense on March 10, 2022 shows Russian soldiers from airborne units advance in an undisclosed location in Ukraine, photo by EYEPRESS via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    How Russia's War in Ukraine Could Escalate

    Russia's attack on Ukraine has raised concerns in many Western capitals of an even-worse outcome: escalation to a broader war with NATO allies which could involve nuclear weapons. While such a war is far from inevitable, the possibility of the current conflict spiraling beyond the immediate theater of hostilities is real. Understanding how that could happen is essential to minimizing the risk that it does.

    Mar 11, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, Russia September 29, 2021, photo by Vladimir Smirnov/Sputnik via Reuters

    Commentary

    Is Putin Irrational? What Nuclear Strategic Theory Says About Deterrence of Potentially Irrational Opponents

    Increasingly isolated and desperate, Putin might try to suddenly escalate the Ukraine conflict rather than back down in the face of international opposition. The United States and its allies must account for the possibility that even in the face of credible deterrent threats Putin might double down and lash out.

    Mar 8, 2022

  • U.S. soldiers observe from a rooftop position in Mosul, Iraq

    Multimedia

    Press Briefing on U.S. Department of Defense Civilian Casualty Policies and Procedures

    Researchers from the RAND Corporation brief the press on an independent RAND assessment of U.S. Department of Defense standards, processes, procedures, and policies relating to civilian casualties resulting from U.S. military operations.

    Mar 8, 2022

  • Blog

    The West's Response to Russia, the State of the Union, Outer Space: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how to prevent Russia's war on Ukraine from becoming a war with NATO, insights from RAND on the State of the Union, the future of outer space, and more.

    Mar 4, 2022

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, December 6, 2021, photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times/Sipa USA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia Looks Less and Less Like India's Friend

    India has strong ties with Russia dating back to the Cold War. But the geostrategic winds have shifted significantly in recent years, suggesting that India might want to reconsider the benefits of close Russia ties.

    Mar 4, 2022

  • Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani arrives at Palais Coburg for nuclear talks Vienna, Austria, February 28, 2022, photo by Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Renewed Nuclear Deal With Iran: Turning Back the Clock?

    Diplomats from Europe, the United States, Russia, China, and Iran are in Vienna trying to revive the Iran nuclear agreement of 2015. But even if negotiations succeed, the post-deal environment could be much more unstable than it was seven years ago.

    Mar 4, 2022

  • Red world map with areas circled, illustration by traffic_analyzer/Getty Images

    Report

    Competition and Restraint in Cyberspace

    Recent years have seen a mounting concern in the United States over foreign efforts to harm election security or legitimacy through cyber means, an increase in cyber espionage, and attacks of growing sophistication. How could international norms help constrain such destabilizing behavior in cyberspace?

    Mar 4, 2022

  • Sweden's Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist, Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde, Finland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto and Finland's Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen pose during a photo call in Stockholm, Sweden, February 2, 2022, photo by Paul Wennerholm/ TT News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    Finland and Sweden Mull NATO Membership

    After decades of military neutrality between NATO and Russia, recent events saw a potential sea-change in how Finland and Sweden consider their role with the NATO alliance. NATO leadership could start planning now so that if Sweden and Finland make the jump to joining the alliance, they can be welcomed in quickly.

    Mar 3, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 1, 2022, photo by Saul Loeb/Pool via Reuters

    Blog

    State of the Union 2022: Russia's Invasion of Ukraine and Domestic Policy

    In his first State of the Union address, President Joe Biden rebuked Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, aimed to turn a page on the pandemic, and covered a wide range of domestic issues, including mental health care, prescription drug prices, and supporting veterans.

    Mar 2, 2022

  • Destroyed military vehicles on a street, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in the town of Bucha in the Kyiv region, Ukraine, March 1, 2022, photo by Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters

    Commentary

    Ensuring Russia's War with Ukraine Doesn't Morph into Direct Conflict with NATO

    Russia has launched an unprecedented act of aggression against Ukraine. The United States and its allies must respond forcefully. But as they do, they should take into account the possibility of triggering a spiral of escalation that could lead to the only outcome worse than the invasion of Ukraine itself: a hot war between Russia and NATO.

    Mar 2, 2022

  • Thank you in many languages, photo by aaabbc/Adobe Stock

    Research Brief

    Talking business: How increasing languages education in the UK could benefit the economy

    Findings show that investing in languages education in UK secondary schools will return more than the investment cost. The benefit-to-cost ratio is about 2:1, meaning that every £1 spent on extra language provision could return £2 for the economy.

    Mar 2, 2022