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 crowd of people standing in a star formation over a background of red stripes of a U.S. flag, images by adimas and bennymarty/Adobe Stock

    Report

    How a Nation's Social Condition Relates to Its Global Standing

    Jun 21, 2022

    Certain societal characteristics are associated with national competitive success, including national ambition and will, unified national identity, and shared opportunity. Where does the United States stand in those areas? And what trends are working to weaken traditional U.S. advantages?

  • Smoke rises from a residential building after shelling from Russian positions in northern Kharkiv as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine, March 31, 2022, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Obstacles to Lasting Peace Between Ukraine and Russia

    Jul 7, 2022

    The current situation in Ukraine suggests that neither side will be able to achieve a decisive military victory that settles the disputes that led to the war. Ukraine and Russia theoretically could reach an agreement to stop the fighting, but the politics between the two sides and centuries of confrontational history do not suggest a lasting peace.

Explore International Affairs

  • The Russian flag flies above the Embassy of the Russian Federation, Washington, D.C., February 22, 2022, photo by Tom Brenner/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Test of How Effective Sanctions Are

    The threat of severe sanctions failed to stop a Russian invasion of Ukraine. But if and when harsher economic punishment is handed down to Moscow, what effect might it have?

    Feb 24, 2022

  • Brochure

    Brochure

    Spotlight 2021–2022

    Spotlight 2021-2022 highlights selected RAND Europe projects that address the important issues of our time. It also features research that is poised to make a difference in the coming year.

    Feb 23, 2022

  • News Release

    News Release

    Investment in Languages Education Could Return Double for UK Economy

    Investing in languages education in the UK will return more than the investment cost, even under conservative assumptions, according to a new study from RAND Europe and the University of Cambridge, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

    Feb 22, 2022

  • A Chinese H-6 bomber flies over East China Sea, photo by Japan Air Self-Defence Force released by the Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan, July 23, 2019/handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    Why China Is Intensifying Its Military Flights Against Taiwan

    On January 23, China repeated its familiar pattern of sending warplanes into Taiwan's airspace. This activity, which has continued in February, rarely has a clear single driver. Instead, there are several factors that should always be considered.

    Feb 21, 2022

  • Russian President Putin appears on a screen at the White House briefing room, signing documents recognizing separatist areas of Ukraine as independent, in Washington, D.C., February 21, 2022, photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    Commentary

    The False Choice Between China and Russia

    Some China hawks have argued that any U.S. response to Russia would detract from America's ability to deter China. But it's a mistake to think of China and Russia as independent problems.

    Feb 21, 2022

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

    Report

    Investment in Languages Education Could Return Double for UK Economy

    Languages play a significant role in international trade, and not sharing a common language acts as a non-tariff trade barrier. Benefit-to-cost ratios for increasing Arabic, Mandarin, French, or Spanish education in the UK are estimated to be at least 2:1, meaning that spending £1 could return £2.

    Feb 21, 2022

  • Blog

    Refugees, Women's Health Research, Supporting Incarcerated Parents: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the humanitarian fallout from a Russian invasion of Ukraine, investing in women’s health research, supporting incarcerated parents, and more.

    Feb 18, 2022

  • The Argentine Antarctic Robotic Observatory, from where the polar night will be used to study exoplanets and other celestial bodies, February 16, 2022, photo by ULAN/Pool/Latin America News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    Not So Quiet on the Southern Front

    Australia faces stiff geopolitical competition in Antarctica, and it's not just China and Russia with eyes on the prize. If the Antarctic becomes a hub of geopolitical tension, Australia may need to revise its strategy.

    Feb 17, 2022

  • An SM-3 Block IIA is launched from the USS John Paul Jones during a flight test off Hawaii resulting in the first intercept of a ballistic missile target by the SM-3IIA, February 3, 2017, photo by Missile Defense Agency

    Report

    Instability in the U.S.-Russia Deterrence Relationship

    U.S.-Russian strategic stability is based on mutual vulnerability to retaliation, which eliminates the incentive to strike first. But the United States has developed counterforce capabilities that Moscow fears could be used for a first strike. What could be done to address Russia's concerns and increase stability?

    Feb 17, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Nasty, Brutish, and Short—The Future of Space Operations in the Absence of the Rule of Law: Addressing Congestion, Contestation, and Competitiveness in the New Space Era

    Existing treaties and laws are not sufficient to govern space given the dramatic growth in space activity. Ensuring a safe, secure, and prosperous space for all nations may require the application of social contract theory to space governance.

    Feb 15, 2022

  • Blog

    Problems in U.S. Schools, Conflict with Russia, Opioid Trafficking: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on what America's school district leaders are worried about, how to break the cycle of conflict with Russia, a new report on synthetic opioid trafficking, and more.

    Feb 11, 2022

  • U.S. Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker/Research Vessel Healy breaking ice in the Arctic, November 30, 1999 , photo by U.S. Coast Guard/Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    U.S. Military May Need to Invest More in Arctic Capabilities

    Operating in the Arctic is inherently expensive. Despite this, it could be critical that the United States make the necessary investments to ensure a robust ability to operate in the Arctic to withstand Russian challenges there.

    Feb 10, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Blockship Tactics to Trap Enemy Fleets

    The U.S. Navy should initiate a blockship program to counter potential threats.

    Feb 8, 2022

  • India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 25, 2021, photo by Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

    Commentary

    Modi's Foreign-Policy Juggling Act

    India lives in a difficult neighborhood, and there are no easy, straightforward solutions. But thus far—and especially under Modi—India has managed its foreign-policy challenges with remarkable effectiveness. With new partners and by making some tough decisions, there is a very good chance that it will continue to do so.

    Feb 7, 2022

  • Radio antennas on the mountains of Angeles National Forest overlooking Los Angeles County, California, photo by Sundry Photography/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How China Plays by Different Rules—at Everyone Else's Expense

    A single Chinese state-run firm has secured a controlling interest in at least 33 radio stations in 14 countries. But there is virtually no opportunity for foreign ownership, input, or influence in the Chinese media marketplace. This inequity presents U.S. leaders with an opportunity: Unless China opens its media marketplace to foreign investment and ownership, its firms should be forced to divest their American holdings.

    Feb 7, 2022

  • The Russian Southern Military District's 150th Rifle Division takes part in a military exercise at Kadamovsky Range, Rostov Region, Russia, January 27, 2022, photo by Erik Romanenko/TASS via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    How to Break the Cycle of Conflict with Russia

    Europe might well be on the brink of a major catastrophe. Until Russia, the United States, Europe, and the states stuck in between them reach a consensus on a revised regional order, post-Soviet Eurasia will remain a source of instability and conflict.

    Feb 7, 2022

  • Blog

    NATO's Open-Door Policy, U.S. Health Care Payments, Climate Migrants: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on NATO’s open-door policy, U.S. health care payments, supporting climate migrants, and more.

    Feb 4, 2022

  • Boys gather near a building damaged by a U.S. drone air strike targeting suspected al Qaeda militants in Shabwa, Yemen, February 3, 2013, photo by Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Trying to Forestall the Next Civilian Casualty Horror

    After civilians are injured or killed, the U.S. Defense Department isn't doing enough to learn from its own failures. The Pentagon needs to devote resources and senior leader attention to an issue that has historically lacked both. Civilian protection should become the singular priority for a critical mass of people across the organization.

    Feb 3, 2022

  • 24 Commando Royal Engineers delivering ice survey training to members of the U.S. Marine Corps during Winter Deployment 21 in the Arctic, February 24, 2021, photo by UK MOD/© Crown copyright 2021

    Commentary

    A United Strategy Could Reap Rewards for the United Kingdom in the High North

    The multifaceted nature of Arctic policies, stretching from climate security and scientific cooperation to economic development and conflict mitigation, may require a whole-of-government approach from the United Kingdom. Such an approach could be necessary for the United Kingdom to appear a credible partner to Arctic countries and other third parties.

    Feb 2, 2022

  • Flags wave outside the Alliance headquarters ahead of a NATO defense ministers meeting, in Brussels, Belgium, October 21, 2021, photo by Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

    Commentary

    Should NATO Close Its Doors?

    In their current confrontation with Russia, the United States and its allies are defending a dangerously anachronistic principle: that all of Russia's European neighbors should be free to seek NATO membership and that NATO should be free to incorporate them. But maintaining this open-ended process of NATO expansion is likely to produce further conflicts.

    Feb 2, 2022