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 view from space of the Middle East, West Asia, and East Europe at night, photo by wael alreweie/Getty Images

    Report

    Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East

    Feb 23, 2021

    Long-standing U.S. policies in the Middle East that rely on defeating threats and keeping partners on "our side" have fallen short. What if the U.S. approach shifted from focusing on the threat of the day to a positive vision of a region supported by increased diplomatic and economic investments?

  • Abstract world map with polygons, photo by imaginima/Getty Images

    Commentary

    U.S. Approach to Strengthening Global Order Will Have to Change

    Feb 9, 2021

    Support for a reformed rules-based order may be the cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. But the word “reformed” is crucial in that statement. The U.S. approach to strengthening global order will have to change in ways that will sit uneasily with the expectations and habits of the world's leading power.

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  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Future Role of the U.S. Armed Forces in Counterterrorism

    This essay provides observations on the future role of the armed forces in counterterrorism and the future role of counterterrorism forces in great power competition.

    Oct 6, 2020

  • Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Sochi, Russia, February 15, 2019, photo by Sergei Chirikov/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Belarusian Mortgage on Russia's Future

    In September, President Vladimir Putin signaled that Russia was throwing its weight behind embattled Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. But any move to enforce Putin's will in Belarus could invite tougher Western sanctions and scare investors. This would exacerbate problems facing Russia's flagging economy.

    Oct 5, 2020

  • The USS Carney, a missile-guided destroyer, approaches the Bosphorus Strait on its journey to transit out of the Black Sea, photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Weston Jones/U.S. Navy

    Report

    Russia, NATO, and Black Sea Security

    The Black Sea region is a locus of the competition between Russia and the West for the future of Europe. What is Moscow doing to advance its goals there? And how might NATO allies and partners respond?

    Oct 5, 2020

  • Niger soldiers guard with their weapons pointed towards the border with neighbouring Nigeria, near the town of Diffa, Niger, June 21, 2016, photo by Luc Gnago/Reuters

    Commentary

    How to Build Better Militaries in Africa: Lessons from Niger

    To help counter the threat of terrorism and build the capacity of African militaries, the U.S. government spends over $1.5 billion a year on security assistance to the African continent. Does this support work?

    Oct 2, 2020

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the 13th Political Bureau meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in this image released June 7, 2020 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korea Has Agreed to Denuclearization. Trump Could Try to Make It Happen

    President Trump came into office determined to rein in the North Korean nuclear weapons program. But it has become quite clear that North Korea has no intention of giving it up. How might the United States bring North Korea into compliance with its denuclearization commitments?

    Sep 28, 2020

  • U.S. Navy vessels in the Philippine Sea, November, 2018, photo by MC2 Kaila V. Peters/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Ambiguity Has Its Uses

    As China's thirst to resolve the Taiwan issue intensifies, the United States' halfhearted commitment to the island will become increasingly perilous: too weak to deter Chinese aggression but strong enough to drag the United States into a war. No U.S. approach to Taiwan will offer a perfect guarantee of peace. But the United States has many options short of the provocative, costly, and diplomatically risky step of an unconditional security pledge.

    Sep 24, 2020

  • Army Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson, the U.S. Army, Pacific deputy commanding general, stands with his foreign counterparts during the opening ceremony of Exercise Cobra Gold 2020 at Camp Akathotsarot in Phitsanulok Province, Thailand, Feb. 25, 2020, photo by Army Pfc. Lawrence Broadnax/U.S. Dept. of Defense

    Testimony

    The Role of Allies and Partners in U.S. Military Strategy and Operations

    America's time as the world's sole superpower is ending, and the country faces significant challenges. The United States needs to strengthen its network of partnerships to prepare for a new era of great-power competition.

    Sep 23, 2020

  • A blue die sits atop a rule sheet for Hedgemony during a demonstration of gameplay.

    Multimedia

    Hedgemony: A Game of Strategic Choices

    Hedgemony is a tabletop game designed to challenge players to outline a strategy and then make tough choices as they try to develop, manage, posture, and employ their forces in alignment with their strategies.

    Sep 22, 2020

  • News Release

    News Release

    New Game, the First Offered by RAND to Public, Challenges Players to Design Defense Strategies for Uncertain World

    The RAND Corporation has released a boxed version of Hedgemony: A Game of Strategic Choices that researchers originally developed to help the Pentagon craft its capstone guidance document, the 2018 National Defense Strategy. It is the first wargame offered by RAND to the public and carries a $250 price tag.

    Sep 22, 2020

  • Dissertation

    Dissertation

    Loosening the Okinawan Knot: A Mixed-Methods Study of Okinawan Public Perceptions of the U.S. Military

    Provides a detailed and reliable understanding of the nature of the Okinawan public's perceptions, policy preferences, and cultural attitudes regarding the problems and benefits associated with the U.S. military in Okinawa.

    Sep 21, 2020

  • The game box cover for Hedgemony, design by Rick Penn-Kraus/RAND Corporation

    Tool

    Hedgemony: A Game of Strategic Choices

    In this tabletop military strategy game, players represent the United States, its allies, and its key competitors. They must use “hedging” strategies and decide how to best manage their resources and forces.

    Sep 21, 2020

  • U.S. Marines engage targets during a live-fire demonstration near At-Tanf Garrison, Syria, Sept, 7, 2018, photo by Cpl. Carlos Lopez/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    In the Middle East, Russia and China Expand Their Influence

    While the United States is concerned primarily about a resurgent China's inroads in the Middle East, it is also nervous about the gambits of a revanchist Russia. As the United States decides when and how to contest China and Russia—in and beyond the Middle East—it will have to resist alarmism as vigorously as complacency.

    Sep 18, 2020

  • Blog

    Wildfires, America's Wealth Gap, Screening for COVID-19 at Work: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the growing risk of wildfires, how Americans' incomes have grown (or not), workplace screenings for COVID-19 symptoms, and more.

    Sep 18, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Hybrid Governance of Disaster Management in Freetown, Monrovia, and Dar Es Salaam

    This article introduces a hybrid governance perspective to disaster management. Hybrid governance refers to situations where state and non-state actors collectively provide key services.

    Sep 16, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Moscow's Calibrated Coercion in Ukraine and Russian Strategic Culture

    This paper analyzes Russia's use of force in Ukraine since the end of major combat operations in February 2015.

    Sep 16, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Strategic Sderzhivanie: Understanding Contemporary Russian Approaches to "Deterrence"

    This paper argues that viewing Russia's actions through the lens of the concept "sderzhivanie" can help Western analysts and decision-makers better understand the drivers of Moscow's behavior.

    Sep 16, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Emerging Infectious Disease, the Household Built Environment Characteristics, and Urban Planning: Evidence on Avian Influenza in Vietnam

    This study examines the relationship between the mix of household-scale water supplies, sanitation systems, and construction materials, and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza among poultry in Vietnam.

    Sep 16, 2020

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in discussion with Ted Harshberger, director of RAND Project AIR FORCE

    Multimedia

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper Visits RAND

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper visited RAND's Santa Monica headquarters on September 16, 2020. Secretary Esper emphasized the importance of deterring China and the role of the U.S. defense industrial base.

    Sep 16, 2020

  • USA flag over NYC skyline, photo by franckreporter/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The Lost Generation in American Foreign Policy

    Throughout the 55 years following World War II, successive U.S. administrations racked up major foreign policy successes at an average rate of about once a year. Since 2001, the pace of foreign policy achievement has fallen to once every four years. The result has been a lost generation in American foreign policy.

    Sep 15, 2020

  • Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. envoy for peace in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and Mutlaq Al-Qahtani, special envoy of the foreign minister of Qatar are seen during talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, September 12, 2020, photo by Ibraheem al Omari/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Islamic State in Afghanistan Is Down, but Not Out

    The Afghan Taliban is on the verge of entering into a power-sharing agreement with the Afghan government in a peace deal facilitated by the United States. Washington seems to be holding out hope that the deal will stabilize the country. But the Islamic State Khorasan Province remains a concern. The Islamic State in Afghanistan may be down, but it's not out.

    Sep 14, 2020