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.

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  • South Korean President Moon Jae-In (R) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019, photo by Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters

    Commentary

    South Korea–Japan Tensions Complicate U.S. Efforts to Leverage Allies in Competition with China

    The rapid deterioration of ties between South Korea and Japan not only undercuts America's Indo-Pacific strategy, it also increases the risks to U.S. allies and partners in the region. Just how consequential is the growing South Korea–Japan tension for U.S. strategy and what is Washington doing to address the issue?

    Sep 17, 2019

  • An Israeli soldier stands guard under an Israeli national flag in the Jordan Valley near the Jewish settlement of Maale Efrayim, January 2, 2014, photo by Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

    Commentary

    Israel’s War with Iran May Be Going Too Far

    Israel has a right to defend itself from Iranian threats to its country. American leaders should consider balancing support for Israel's efforts to counter Iran with firm redlines about activities negatively impacting American interests.

    Sep 16, 2019

  • China and Taiwan flags on a chess board, photo by Kagenmi/Getty Images

    Commentary

    A Tale of Two Cities China Ignores at Its Peril

    Beijing may believe that, eventually, Taiwanese politics will turn in its favor. But it should consider experiences from the other two territories currently living under the formula—Hong Kong and Macau—to better understand why “one country, two systems” will never work in Taiwan, regardless of politics.

    Sep 12, 2019

  • Globe map on grunge texture, photo by caracterdesign/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Time to Return to the Basics of Statecraft

    After two decades of setbacks abroad, it's time to ask whether the decline in American influence is irreversible. Ultimately, neither China nor Russia is responsible for these difficulties. Washington's failures have been self-inflicted, the result of flawed policy rather than any decisive shift in the global balance of power.

    Sep 4, 2019

  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Micronesia President David Panuelo, Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, and Palau's Vice President Raynold Oilouch hold a news conference, Kolonia, Micronesia, August 5, 2019, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    Maintaining the U.S. Edge in the Freely Associated States

    In the geo-strategically vital region of the Freely Associated States (FAS), China is increasingly competing with the United States for influence. The United States and its allies and partners will need to engage not only with economic aid, but also with other issues including health, economic development, natural disasters, climate change and illegal fishing to sustain a strong partnership with the FAS.

    Sep 3, 2019

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a working lunch at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Osaka, Japan, on Friday, June 28, 2019, photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Reuters

    Commentary

    Japan's Hormuz Dilemma

    Japan is a staunch U.S. ally in the Indo-Pacific. But any decision to support a coalition against Iran in the Middle East is likely to put Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a tough position.

    Aug 16, 2019

  • A typical communist style statue in the capital city of North Korea, photo by alexkuehni/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Searching for Signs of Doi Moi in North Korea

    President Trump's second summit with Kim Jong Un prompted voluminous commentary about whether Pyongyang might adopt the “Vietnam model” of economic reform and opening up, known as doi moi. Some version of doi moi is not impossible in North Korea, but it will likely be more difficult than it was in Vietnam and made all the more so by Kim's reluctance to risk losing absolute control.

    Aug 12, 2019

  • Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (L) and U.S. President Ronald Reagan begin their mini-summit talks in Reykjavik, October 11, 1986, photo by Mal Langsdon/Reuters

    Commentary

    Reagan's Cold War Lessons for Handling Russia

    Rising public protests in Russia may be putting the Kremlin on the defensive at home. But Moscow is playing offense abroad, challenging the West more than at any time since Ronald Reagan's presidency. Reagan's strategy to counter the Kremlin back then offers insights that could help guide U.S. policy today.

    Aug 9, 2019

  • Soldiers sit on an M60A3 tank for a group photograph after an anti-invasion drill to test readiness ahead of Lunar New Year, simulating enemy invasion and the safeguarding of the weapon systems in case of air raid, in Taichung, Taiwan, January 17, 2019, Photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

    Commentary

    Making Sense of U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

    Why does the U.S. sell arms to Taiwan? And what is the impact on the cross-Strait military balance? Taiwan's arms purchase reflects a continuing concern over Beijing's military intentions; a balancing of operational and political considerations; a commitment by the United States to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself; and an American refusal to “stand down” in the face of China's aggressive behavior and coercion of Indo-Pacific democracies.

    Aug 9, 2019

  • Sailors stand guard near petrol boats at the Cambodian Ream Naval Base in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, July 26, 2019, photo by Pring Samrang/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Ramifications of China's Reported Naval Base in Cambodia

    China and Cambodia have reportedly signed a secret agreement allowing the Chinese navy to use a military facility near Ream, along Cambodia's southern coast, though both countries deny the reports. The installation of a Chinese military facility in Cambodia, if realized, would further complicate an already sensitive and tense situation in the region.

    Aug 7, 2019

  • View of the U.S. Capitol Building, photo by SurangaWeeratunga/AdobeStock

    Blog

    RAND's Summer Reading List for Congress

    For busy staff, August's respite from back-to-back meetings, hearing preparation, and late votes is hard-earned. The summer recess also provides an opportunity to get ahead of issues that will resurface in the fall. To that end, we have compiled recent RAND research on topics likely to top the congressional agenda come September.

    Aug 5, 2019

  • Two king chess pieces with United States and China flags, photo by MicroStockHub/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Yes, Sam Huntington Has Insights to Guide U.S. Competition with China

    Many U.S. observers believe that the United States is declining relative to China. The United States' long-term competitiveness will be served neither by assuming that China is fated to collapse on account of its internal contradictions nor by presuming that it is destined to preside over a world order with Chinese characteristics. Sustainable strategy requires a measured disposition.

    Jul 25, 2019

  • U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone on the border of North and South Korea, June 30, 2019, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why U.S. Negotiators Face a Tough Task After the Trump-Kim DMZ Meeting

    Denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea may be under time constraints tied to America's next presidential election. This further complicates the task facing U.S. negotiators, who seek to reach a deal that endures beyond 2020.

    Jul 15, 2019

  • Protesters break the windows of the Legislative Council building on the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China in Hong Kong, July 1, 2019, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Beijing Won't Allow Its Hong Kong Integration Experiment to Fail

    Recent events in Hong Kong have posed the stiffest challenge yet to Beijing's sovereignty. If sustained, they could push China to react to protect its national interests.

    Jul 3, 2019

  • Ji-Young Lee, the inaugural holder of the Korea Policy Chair at RAND

    Announcement

    RAND Corporation Announces Korea Policy Chair

    Political scientist Ji-Young Lee will be the inaugural holder of the Korea Policy Chair at RAND in September. She will manage a research agenda on Korea's international security relations, mentor Korea studies scholars, and build partnerships with Korean research institutes.

    Jun 27, 2019

  • A protester poses for a portrait during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, February 2, 2019, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Should the United States Do About Venezuela?

    If it becomes evident that Maduro isn't about to fall, then the Trump administration should revisit its sanctions and rescind those that weigh most heavily on the Venezuelan people, while targeting and isolating the regime.

    Jun 24, 2019

  • Protesters outside police headquarters demand Hong Kong's leaders to step down and withdraw the extradition bill, in Hong Kong, June 21, 2019, photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

    Commentary

    One Country, Two Systems, Lots of Problems

    The enormous protests in Hong Kong since spring have led to fresh fears about the viability of China's "one country, two systems" policy. It's an idea that Macau and Hong Kong officially subscribe to and Taiwan fiercely resists—but one increasingly questioned from all sides.

    Jun 21, 2019

  • The Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 4, 2019, photo by Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Post-2020 U.S. Return to the Iran Nuclear Deal?

    Now that the United States is out of the Iran nuclear deal, signing back on will not be as simple or as practical as some may hope. Too much has happened since it was first inked in 2015. With the political landscape in Tehran and Washington still taking shape, those who want to return to some kind of deal should start planning.

    Jun 20, 2019