International Diplomacy

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Diplomacy, the practice of international relations, is an area in which RAND has significant research experience. Among RAND's many experts are former ambassadors whose research and commentary on both long-term efforts and current events shed light on how diplomatic ventures can be integral to national security goals and activities, including traditional military interventions, nuclear arms control, and nation-building efforts.

  • Workers repair the damage in front of Aleppo's historic citadel, as posters depicting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad are erected in the Old City of Aleppo, Syria, January 31, 2017

    Report

    Exchange Reconstruction Assistance for Bottom-Up Reform in Syria

    Nov 30, 2017

    Syrian peace talks are not working. What leverage the United States and its allies have derives largely from their ability to offer or withhold reconstruction aid. Offering reconstruction on a community-by-community basis could provide a way forward in Syria.

  • U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 5, 2018

    Commentary

    Gaza on the Brink

    Mar 9, 2018

    The combined risk of violence and pandemic in Gaza makes this small coastal enclave a ticking time bomb. While neither Israel nor the U.S. has the solutions to all of Gaza's water and health woes, the United States' decision to withhold funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency could only make things worse.

Explore International Diplomacy

  • Journal Article

    After the Summit: Prospects for the Korean Peninsula

    History suggests that the most probable consequence of the Singapore Summit will be difficult and lengthy negotiation followed by slow and inadequate compliance, quite possibly on both sides.

    Jul 18, 2018

  • The Christophe de Margerie (R), an ice-class tanker fitted out to transport liquefied natural gas, is docked in Arctic port of Sabetta, Yamalo-Nenets district, Russia March 30, 2017

    Commentary

    Cooperation in the Arctic Likely to Continue—For Now

    Risks for serious tensions in the Arctic during the 2020 decade are likely to be overstated. Key players in the Arctic appear likely to continue working together to enhance the economic potential of the region and resolve conflicts before they emerge, as opportunities in the Arctic continue to grow.

    Jul 12, 2018

  • A Russian soldier near the Nasib border crossing with Jordan in Deraa, Syria, July 7, 2018

    Commentary

    Russia's Wars and Trump

    At the July 16 summit in Helsinki, President Trump might stress that the West will persist in imposing costs on Russia for current and any future malign interventions. At the same time, he could offer to work with Putin in the search for peace in Syria and Ukraine if Moscow were to decide to withdraw its forces.

    Jul 11, 2018

  • Syrian and Russian soldiers at a checkpoint near Wafideen camp in Damascus, Syria, March 2, 2018

    Commentary

    Time to Make a Deal on Syria

    U.S. leverage is much diminished by the Assad regime's recent gains but there are still opportunities for Washington and Russia to achieve a settlement that preserves some U.S. interests. These include maintaining the gains made against the Islamic State and constraining Iranian influence in Syria.

    Jul 10, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin walks before an inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, May 7, 2018

    Commentary

    Western Unity Is Best for Russian Summitry

    In preparing for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump could benefit from a coordinated Western approach toward Moscow as a prelude. Absent this, his hand will be seriously weakened.

    Jul 5, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017

    Commentary

    Trump and Putin Should Start Small at Helsinki Summit

    Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will hold their first formal summit on July 16. Their agenda will likely include the main sources of strain in relations, but they might find it easier to make concrete progress if they start with lower-profile issues as Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan did at their first summit.

    Jul 2, 2018

  • Turkish and Israeli flags fly atop the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 26, 2016

    Report

    Israeli-Turkish Ties Face Formidable Challenges

    Israel and Turkey have mutual economic interests, such as trade, tourism, and energy. The two countries have usually been able to separate these interests from their political differences, but current relations remain contentious. They differ on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the future of Syria.

    Jun 27, 2018

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to media at his official residence in Tokyo, Japan, after the Singapore summit between the U.S. and North Korea, June 12, 2018

    Commentary

    Success with North Korea Still Needs Japan

    Japan has stakes in the outcome of regional diplomacy involving North Korea. It could play a role far beyond simply writing checks for an agreement, but has not held any bilateral meetings with the other actors. Diplomats hoping to fit their approach to the realities of the geopolitical situation could benefit from Japan's active involvement.

    Jun 27, 2018

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks as China's new Politburo Standing Committee members meet with the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 25, 2017

    Commentary

    Book Review: Elizabeth Economy's The Third Revolution

    The United States' attitude towards China is undergoing a significant recalibration, perhaps the most fundamental since Beijing's crackdown at Tiananmen Square almost three decades ago. Harnessing its resurgence while tempering its revisionism will likely be Washington's most vexing long-term policy challenge.

    Jun 26, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping attend a state dinner at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017

    Commentary

    Without Reform and Cooperation with China, the International System Cannot Hold

    No rule-based international order can survive without Chinese support. Reforms are needed to address Beijing's concerns and provide it with a continued stake in the order. The trick is to decide where compromise is acceptable for U.S. interests and to draw clear lines around principles where it is not.

    Jun 25, 2018

  • Constructing a new world

    Commentary

    We Need a New International Order. Here's Why

    The postwar, rule-based international order is under unprecedented strain. The U.S. predominance so characteristic of the current order must give way to a more multilateral system, one that takes seriously the sometimes-differing perspectives of other major powers.

    Jun 25, 2018

  • A Taliban (R) stands as Afghan security forces ride on an army vehicle during a celebration of a ceasefire in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, June 16, 2018

    Commentary

    Afghan Ceasefires Offer Hope for a Peaceful Future

    Parallel ceasefires in Afghanistan by the Afghan government and the Taliban for the end of the holy month of Ramadan brought a short respite from the violence. This was an unprecedented development, but was it an opening for resolution of the conflict?

    Jun 25, 2018

  • Laurel Miller, senior political scientist at RAND

    Commentary

    A Way Forward in Afghanistan: Q&A with Laurel Miller

    As the United States approaches its 17th year of military involvement in Afghanistan, Laurel Miller, a senior foreign policy expert at RAND, describes the current situation and hopes for the future.

    Jun 21, 2018

  • World flags

    Commentary

    The Need for Superpowers to Embrace a Vision of World Affairs

    A superpower promulgates a conception of world affairs that attracts others, enabling it to advance its objectives and amplify its values far more than it could do on its own. Washington has a significant edge over Beijing in this regard.

    Jun 21, 2018

  • Japan's Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera, U.S. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, and Australia's Defence Minister Marisa Payne meet on the sidelines at the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, June 2, 2018

    Commentary

    The Quad: Second Verse, Same as the First?

    Members of “the Quad”—an informal collaborative arrangement among the United States, Japan, India, and Australia—have proven incapable of adopting either a shared understanding of or unified policies toward China.

    Jun 15, 2018

  • Report

    Rethinking the Regional Order for Post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia

    This Perspective proposes a new approach to the regional order in post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia that would foster greater stability in the region and reduce dangerous tensions in Russia-West relations.

    Jun 13, 2018

  • G7 leaders take part in a working session on the first day of the G7 meeting in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018

    Commentary

    Why Russia Should Not Rejoin the G7

    Even were it to disgorge the parts of Ukraine that it seized in 2014, Russia still would not qualify for reentry into the G8. An aspirational case for Russian membership might be made, but only if Russia's leadership aspires to democratic government and an open free market economy. At the moment there is no sign of such an aspiration.

    Jun 13, 2018

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, June 12, 2018

    Commentary

    Why This Wasn't Kim's Father's—or Grandfather's—Summit

    This is the third time the United States and North Korea have started down a path toward denuclearization and normalization of relations. The difference now is that Trump and Kim have committed themselves earlier on in the process and more publicly than their predecessors did.

    Jun 13, 2018

  • A woman looks at ribbons bearing messages wishing for the unification of two Koreas that decorate a barbed-wire fence near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju, South Korea, May 24, 2018

    Commentary

    Difficulties Integrating North Korean Defectors Suggest Challenges in Reunifying Korea

    Despite expansive government aid, North Korean defectors in South Korea remain a nation within a nation, co-existent yet separate. If South Korea cannot fully adopt and assimilate 30,805 North Korea defectors, how will South Korea ever embrace roughly 25 million North Koreans in the event of reunification?

    Jun 11, 2018

  • A journalist reads a local newspaper showing an article on the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un near St. Regis hotel in Singapore, June 11, 2018

    Commentary

    Kim-Trump Summit Rife with Opportunity for U.S.

    The growing costs of planning for Korean military contingencies place a burden on U.S. defense resources. If Tuesday's summit becomes a step toward eventual guarantees against aggression, the U.S. could remove a major Korean conflict from the top rungs of its defense planning roster, freeing resources for other worries.

    Jun 11, 2018