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.

  • Red Square in Moscow, Russia, photo by mnn/Adobe Stock

    Research Brief

    Ways the United States Could Overextend and Unbalance Russia

    Apr 24, 2019

    Despite its vulnerabilities and anxieties, Russia remains a formidable opponent in a few key domains. What non-violent, cost-imposing measures could the United States pursue to stress Russia's economy, its military, and the regime's political standing at home and abroad?

  • U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas, Panmunjom, South Korea, June 30, 2019, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Trump Reset U.S.–North Korea Relations

    Jul 2, 2019

    The meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the DMZ may lead to follow-on talks. But the success of future negotiations depends on Kim actually taking action to denuclearize.

Explore International Affairs

  • A train launched to operate on the Standard Gauge Railway line constructed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation and financed by Chinese government arrives at the Nairobi Terminus on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, May 31, 2017

    Commentary

    The Good and Bad of the Trump Administration's New Africa Strategy

    The Trump administration's Africa strategy combines a turn away from counterterrorism as a priority, emphasis on trade, and working to help Africans solve their own problems, all of which could be opportunities for a more positive relationship. The implied prioritization of great power competition, however, suggests the real risk of a return to Cold War-era approach.

    Dec 20, 2018

  • Collage of 2018 most popular commentary images

    Blog

    Most Popular RAND Blog Commentary of 2018

    RAND experts publish hundreds of pieces of RAND Blog commentary every year, weighing in on pressing policy questions, breaking down current events, and untangling complex trends. To look back on some of the policy stories that defined the year, we've rounded up the RAND Blog pieces that resonated most with rand.org visitors.

    Dec 20, 2018

  • A 3D rendering of a chess board on a globe

    Report

    What Does the Emerging Era of International Competition Look Like?

    There is a general expectation of a new era of strategic competition, characterized by growing rivalry in the political, economic, and military spheres. But there is no consensus on what that means or what forms it could take. Theory and history can shed light on the coming era.

    Dec 19, 2018

  • Italian MP Marietta Tidei talks with students at a school for vulnerable Syrian refugees in Gaziantep, Turkey

    Journal Article

    Challenges to the Integration of Syrian Refugees

    In this study, we provide an overview of the situation of Syrian refugees and other non-citizens living in host countries. We explored the cases of Turkey, Germany, the United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Canada and Australia.

    Dec 18, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a working dinner after the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 1, 2018

    Commentary

    The Trump-Xi Meeting at G-20: Kicking the Can Down the Road

    Much was expected of the discussion at the 2018 G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires between the United States and China on their ongoing trade war. However, nothing of significance emerged. With signs of a global economic slowdown surfacing earlier than expected, the failed outcomes of this meeting could come back to haunt world leaders.

    Dec 14, 2018

  • Chess pieces with U.S. and China flags superimposted on world map background

    Commentary

    Is This the Beginning of a New Cold War?

    It has become increasingly common for observers of world affairs to contend that the United States and China have either entered into or are poised to embark on a new Cold War. While the contours of a long-term contest between Washington and Beijing are undoubtedly forming, especially in the economic realm, the analogy is problematic.

    Dec 12, 2018

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May meets with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss Brexit, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 11, 2018

    Commentary

    The UK Can't Have Its Brexit Cake and Eat It Too

    If the UK wishes to negotiate free-trade deals around the world, it has to either rebuild a border in Ireland or put up a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. If it crashes out of the EU with no agreement, the economic costs are the highest and border chaos is likely.

    Dec 11, 2018

  • NATO Chiefs of Defense meet during the NATO Military Committee Conference at Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, September 28, 2018

    Commentary

    NATO Needs a European Level of Ambition

    As NATO finalizes its new political guidance designed to shape future military forces, it has the chance to both strengthen Europe’s commitment to burden-sharing and relieve American concern about the creation of a new European Army. Building an enhanced European capacity within NATO entails some risk, but the benefits may outweigh concerns.

    Dec 10, 2018

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Beijing, China, October 26, 2018

    Commentary

    Sino-Japan Rapprochement Will Likely Fail

    Recent meetings and otherwise relative calm between China and Japan may give the impression that their ties are improving. But because of their strategic competition and fundamental differences, it is more likely than not that their current rapprochement will fail.

    Dec 7, 2018

  • A Russian cargo ship beneath a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula after three Ukrainian navy vessels were stopped by Russia from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea, Crimea, November 25, 2018

    Commentary

    No Russian Let-Up on Ukraine

    Moscow's seizure of Crimea and war in eastern Ukraine have led the West to sanction Russians and expand aid to Ukraine, and NATO to shift land and air forces eastward. Expanded Russian coercion may draw more NATO naval power closer to Russia's shores and lead to tougher sanctions.

    Dec 7, 2018

  • Report

    Building Partner-Nation Capacity Through the Defense Education Enhancement Program

    This document reviews the Defense Education Enhancement Program (DEEP) by defining the program, its functions, and why it is valuable to participating nations.

    Dec 4, 2018

  • Migrants attend a lesson at the 'institute for intercultural communication' in Berlin, Germany, April 13, 2016

    Commentary

    Europe's Five Strategies for Coping with Migration Pressure

    Migration will likely continue to be a long-term challenge for European politics, institutions, governments, and values. Even with a drop in numbers and the development of institutional capabilities to manage migration, the European Union still has important tasks ahead of it.

    Dec 3, 2018

  • A U.S. soldier takes part in a defense exercise with British and Lithuanian soldiers in Mikyciai, Lithuania, June 17, 2017

    Report

    Rethinking the U.S. Approach to Force Planning

    The force planning standard used since the end of the Cold War is ill-suited for today. Force planning should focus on modernizing the capabilities and posture of U.S. forces to better enable them to deter and defeat aggression by China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Salafist-jihadi groups.

    Nov 28, 2018

  • Senators Marco Rubio (left) and Jim Risch speak at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, June 13, 2017

    Commentary

    Congress Can Save Arms Control

    The Trump administration is seeking agreements with North Korea and Iran to eliminate their nuclear arms potential. Success may hinge on cooperation between the White House and Congress.

    Nov 27, 2018

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leads the testing of a newly developed tactical weapon in this undated photo released on November 16, 2018

    Commentary

    Why North Korea Sanctions Relief Is Inappropriate at This Time

    In early 2018, Kim Jong Un signaled that he was ready to negotiate abandoning North Korea's nuclear weapons with the United States. But since then, Pyongyang hasn't taken steps to denuclearize. The DPRK's actions speak louder than its words.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • Senior military officials watch a parade at the main Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 9, 2018

    Commentary

    How America Can Test North Korea's True Intentions

    While North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has suggested he may be prepared to abandon his nuclear ambitions, there has been no proof that he is serious. The United States could take steps to discover Kim's true intentions.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • Aerial view of the horizon and sea ice at the ice floe edge at midnight, Baffin Island, Canada

    Testimony

    Climate, Geopolitics, and Change in the Arctic

    Climate change is increasing worldwide interest in the Arctic, where the physical impacts of the change are being felt sooner and more intensely than in other regions. But climate is just one of many key factors that will influence the Arctic's geopolitical future.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • Russian nuclear ice breaker heading to the North pole through pack ice, aerial shot from helicopter

    Testimony

    Russia’s and China’s Evolving Roles in the Arctic

    Two changes have altered the geopolitical environment in the Arctic over the past five to ten years. Russia continues to increase its assertiveness in the region. And non-Arctic states, including China, have begun to play a larger role. What new challenges and opportunities do these developments pose to Canada and other Arctic states?

    Nov 26, 2018

  • The Ilyushin Il-96 aircraft transporting expelled Russian diplomats and their family members from the U.S., shortly after landing at Vnukovo airport outside Moscow, Russia, April 1, 2018

    Commentary

    Effective Responses to Russian Misbehavior

    Sanctions on Russians can be a powerful and effective tool, but in some cases there is a risk of spillover damage to other United States interests. It is worth considering whether America's interests may be best served by ensuring that penalties applied to Russia for misbehavior hit home against those responsible for it.

    Nov 20, 2018

  • L-R Chinese Minister of National Defense Gen. Wei Fenghe, Chinese Communist Party Office of Foreign Affairs Director Yang Jiechi, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hold a joint news conference at the U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., November 9, 2018

    Commentary

    U.S.-China Relations See Potential Thaw, but Risk of Military Crisis Remains

    Deep disagreements between China and the United States on an array of issues, exacerbated by political incentives to avoid compromise, raise a persistent risk of military crisis. Stepping up official communication, building mechanisms to manage crises, and dialing back antagonistic behavior could help cut the risk of miscalculation and help stabilize ties.

    Nov 20, 2018