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.

  • The Plight of Refugees

    Multimedia

    The Plight of Refugees During COVID-19

    Jun 18, 2020

    Shelly Culbertson, senior policy researcher with the RAND Corporation, describes how the pandemic is creating additional challenges for the world's seventy-one million refugees, internally displaced persons, and asylum seekers.

  • A map of the continental United States is shown with lines representing COVID-19 importation risk

    Project

    Tracking the Spread of COVID-19 with Air Travel Data

    Jun 5, 2020

    As the pandemic enters a new phase, punctuated by emerging hot spots and continuing global spread, a new RAND tool lets policymakers predict regional risks of importing cases of COVID-19.

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  • Blog

    Community Schools, Brexit, Coronavirus: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the promise of community schools, the costs of uncertainty after Brexit, the coronavirus, and more.

    Jan 31, 2020

  • Engineer showing apprentice how to use drill in factory

    Research Brief

    Understanding skills gaps in the European defence sector

    This study developed an overview of the existing and future defence-skills landscape in the EU, identifying and analysing the skills gaps and assessing the causes of these gaps.

    Jan 30, 2020

  • Cars on a Belt and Road Initiative highway, Almaty, Kazakhstan, June 16, 2017, photo by Kim Vermaat/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Belt and Road: Economic Gain Is Possible for All

    China's true motivations for its Belt and Road Initiative may still be unclear. But the West could consider the initiative's potential to deliver sustained economic, social, and environmental benefits for all, and find ways to support infrastructure improvements in the countries involved.

    Jan 30, 2020

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin at his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 19, 2019, photo by Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

    Report

    What Provokes Putin's Russia?

    Even with an understanding of what Russia considers to be redlines, predicting its reactions is challenging. An analysis of past instances of Russian escalation—and instances when redlines were crossed but Russia did not respond—offers guidance for U.S. and NATO deterrence efforts.

    Jan 29, 2020

  • Icebergs and ice in the Arctic Sea, photo by Explora_2005/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Today's Arctic Diplomacy Can't Handle Tomorrow's Problems

    The international structures that have helped address many Arctic problems through negotiation and cooperation are insufficient for the military and security challenges brought on by climate change. A new forum is needed to address military and security issues in the region.

    Jan 29, 2020

  • U.S. and China flags inside gears with a third gear with a question mark inside, photo by

    Commentary

    The Real U.S.-China Competition: Theories of Influence

    Strategic competition between the United States and China has come to dominate U.S. foreign policy debates. That competition is multifaceted, but it may turn on a basic question: Which country has a more sustainable concept of national influence?

    Jan 29, 2020

  • Ariane Tabatabai

    Multimedia

    Escalation with Iran: Outcomes and Implications for U.S. Interests and Regional Stability

    An overview of testimony by Ariane Tabatabai presented before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism on January 28, 2020.

    Jan 28, 2020

  • A woman signs a condolence book for Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani at the Iranian embassy in Minsk, Belarus, January 10, 2020, photo by Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

    Testimony

    Escalation with Iran: Outcomes and Implications for the United States

    In the aftermath of the killing of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the United States should be prepared for a further response from Iran. What are some courses of action the regime might take? And what are options for the United States moving forward?

    Jan 28, 2020

  • British and European Union flags in a cloudy sky, photo by themotioncloud/Getty Images

    Report

    Further Trade Uncertainty Due to Brexit Could Cost UK Billions

    The UK's official departure from the EU only ends the first phase of trade uncertainty related to Brexit. Costs to the UK economy are likely to continue during the UK–EU renegotiation period and will increase over time. By the end of 2020, UK GDP could decrease by $5.5 billion (£4.4bn).

    Jan 28, 2020

  • Brochure

    Spotlight 2019–2020

    Spotlight 2019-2020 highlights examples of our work that have helped to clarify policy options for decision makers in today's changing and uncertain times.

    Jan 28, 2020

  • Pedestrians walk in the Chinatown district of downtown Toronto, Ontario, after 3 patients with novel coronavirus were reported in Canada January 28, 2020, photo by Carlos Osorio/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is Coronavirus Another SARS?

    The 2002 SARS pandemic infected more than 8,000 people and killed 774. In what ways is the coronavirus outbreak similar? And how is it different?

    Jan 28, 2020

  • A projectile is fired during North Korea's missile tests in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 28, 2019, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Japan's North Korea Challenge in 2020

    North Korea began 2020 by announcing a shift toward a more hard-line foreign policy approach. While this is bad news for all countries in the region, it is particularly unwelcome for Japan.

    Jan 27, 2020

  • An Anti-Brexit protester demonstrates outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, June 26, 2019, photo by Hannah McKay/Reuters

    Multimedia

    What Are the Potential Economic Implications of Prolonged UK–EU Trade Policy Uncertainty?

    In this Call with the Experts podcast, RAND researchers discuss the potential economic implications of prolonged trade policy uncertainty associated with the renegotiation period between the UK and EU after Brexit.

    Jan 24, 2020

  • The USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during a Freedom of Navigation Operation in the South China Sea

    Journal Article

    Military Build-Up in the South China Sea

    This book chapter explores the very latest developments in the South China Sea maritime dispute.

    Jan 22, 2020

  • Gulbahar Jelilova, an ethnic Uighur activist from Kazakhstan, poses for a photograph in Istanbul, Turkey, November 16, 2018, photo by Murad Sezer/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Washington Could Make Beijing Listen on Xinjiang

    In autonomous Xinjiang, at least one million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities have been incarcerated by the Chinese government. What can the United States and its allies do to help defuse this humanitarian crisis?

    Jan 17, 2020

  • Blog

    U.S.-Turkish Relations, Airports, Opioids: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the future of the U.S.-Turkish partnership, helping America's commercial airports meet rising demand, the opioid crisis, and more.

    Jan 17, 2020

  • China Coast Guard ship seen from an Indonesian Naval ship during a patrol at Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone sea north of the Natuna Islands, Indonesia, January 11, 2020, photo by M Risyal Hidayat/Antara Foto Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Is China Pressing Indonesia Again Over Its Maritime Claims?

    China sparked a major maritime confrontation with Indonesia near the South China Sea in December when dozens of Chinese fishing vessels, along with a coast guard escort, entered waters off the Natuna Islands. What drove Beijing to stake out its sovereignty claims against Indonesia at this particular time? And what can Indonesia and other regional neighbors expect of Chinese behavior going forward?

    Jan 16, 2020

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the attempted coup at the presidential palace in Ankara, July 15, 2018, photo by Umit Bektas/Reuters

    Report

    Turkey's Nationalist Course and How It Affects U.S.-Turkish Relations

    America's longstanding partnership with Turkey, a powerful NATO ally, has become strained in recent years. The two countries' interests are not as aligned as they once were, and tensions between Turkey and Europe have exacerbated these strains. What can be done to sustain the U.S.-Turkish relationship?

    Jan 14, 2020

  • Security personnel stand guard near a "Golden Bridge on Silk Road" decoration for the Belt and Road Forum outside the China National Convention Center in Beijing, China, April 25, 2019, photo by Jason Lee/Reuters

    Commentary

    China's Footprint in Europe

    Tensions between Washington and Brussels may be helping China find a more receptive audience for its Belt and Road initiative. One of the central challenges for the United States and Europe will be to forge a more united approach to China's resurgence.

    Jan 13, 2020

  • Person standing on three arrows on the ground, photo by olaser/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How the 'Ostrich Europe' Scenario Could Help Guide EU Education Policy

    A future scenarios approach can help identify different ways in which the future may plausibly unfold. Seeing how policies implemented now play out in the different scenarios can show us what the possible implications of policy decisions could be. This in turn can contribute to evidence-based policy making.

    Jan 13, 2020