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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  • Closeup of South Korean and Japanese flags, photo by Oleksii Liskonih/Getty Images

    Commentary

    South Korea Should Consider Sticking with Intelligence-Sharing Pact with Japan

    Amid the downturn in South Korea's relations with Japan this summer, Seoul gave three months' notice of its intent to withdraw from the two countries' direct intelligence-sharing arrangement. But it is not too late for the Moon administration to reverse course.

    Nov 5, 2019

  • Chinese staffers adjust U.S. and Chinese flags before the opening session of trade negotiations between U.S. and Chinese trade representatives in Beijing, February 14, 2019, photo by Mark Schiefelbein/Reuters

    Commentary

    A New Phase in Middle-Power Adjustment to U.S.–China Competition?

    Observers of world order focus inordinately on intensifying strategic competition between the United States and China. Less examined, but no less important, is how their competition is affecting geopolitics outside of the two countries.

    Nov 5, 2019

  • Flags of United States, Russia, and China on a chess board, photo by Albert_Karimov/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How the United States Could Lose a Great-Power War

    The U.S. armed forces are now preparing for an age of great-power competition and rightly so. The 2018 National Defense Strategy shows the Defense Department is focused on the threats posed by Russia and especially China to U.S. interests, allies, and established partners such as Taiwan. For now, U.S. forces appear poorly postured to meet these challenges.

    Oct 30, 2019

  • Blog

    The Syria Withdrawal, Climate Policy, Drones: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the effects of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, one expert's take on climate policy, how drones could help get blood to soldiers who need it, and more.

    Oct 25, 2019

  • A Turkish army howitzer is positioned near the Turkish-Syrian border in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, October 17, 2019, photo by Murad Sezer/Reuters

    Commentary

    Indecision in Washington Compounded the Kurds' Dilemma

    Core qualities of statesmanship and statecraft have been notably lacking in charting the U.S. administration's Syria end game. This has compounded the unavoidable costs of withdrawal with charges of betrayal and a retreat under fire.

    Oct 18, 2019

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released on June 21, 2019, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    U.S. Economic War on China Weakens Nuclear North Korea, Too

    An effective way to bend North Korea toward denuclearization may be exerting consistent and targeted pressure on China. Diminishing Beijing's relevance isn't a cure-all. But it could pierce Kim's illusion of invincibility and place him in a bind to make some concessions.

    Oct 18, 2019

  • Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2017, photo by TIMA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Iran, the Unitary State

    Current and future U.S. policy toward Iran must begin with the premise that the Islamic Republic is the sum of its parts and that to try to empower moderates or disempower hard-liners is naive. Rather, Washington should strive to deal with Iran as it is, not as Washington wishes it were.

    Oct 18, 2019

  • Blog

    School Start Times, Streaming Apps, Brexit: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on later school start times, how streaming apps could help Americans be more active, the latest Brexit news, and more.

    Oct 18, 2019

  • Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah wave Hezbollah and Lebanese flags at a rally marking the 10th anniversary of the end of Hezbollah's 2006 war with Israel, in Bint Jbeil, Lebanon August 13, 2016, photo by AZIZ TAHER/Reuters

    Commentary

    Iran's Proxies Are More Powerful Than Ever

    The Trump administration has pursued a so-called maximum pressure strategy designed to alter the course of Iran's foreign and security policies, which relies heavily on sanctions to change Iranian behavior. Financial sanctions are an important part of any counterterrorism strategy. But they aren't enough.

    Oct 16, 2019

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech during the ceremony of the National Army Day parade in Tehran, Iran, September 22, 2019, photo by West Asia News Agency via Reuters

    Report

    Why Iran's Domestic Debates Should Matter to the United States

    Iran's internal debates play a critical role in framing, molding, and selling foreign and security policies. Understanding areas of both consensus and division among Iranian elites is key to developing a realistic policy on Iran and ensuring successful engagement in any future negotiations.

    Oct 9, 2019

  • U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Emerging U.S.–China Strategic Competition and the Role of Trans-Atlantic Cooperation

    When competing with China, what role should U.S. alliances, especially the transatlantic relationships the United States has with its European partners, play? This question is potentially decisive for whether or not any strategy adopted by the U.S. to compete with China will succeed or fail.

    Oct 8, 2019

  • Map of Russia and Post-Soviet Europe

    Report

    Proposal for a Revised Regional Order in Post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia

    Disputes over the regional order in post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia are at the core of the breakdown in relations between Russia and the West and have created major challenges for the states caught in between. A new approach to the order could boost security and prosperity in the region.

    Oct 8, 2019

  • Taiwan's guards of honour attend a welcoming ceremony for Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine in Taipei, Taiwan, July 27, 2018, photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

    Commentary

    China Will Struggle to Shut Taiwan Out of the Pacific

    With the decisions of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati to recognize Beijing over Taipei, the list of Taiwan's official diplomatic partners has decreased to 15. But China is likely to have a difficult time eliminating Taiwan's presence diplomatically in the Pacific.

    Oct 3, 2019

  • People's Liberation Army soldiers are seen in front of a sign marking China's 70th anniversary before a military parade in Beijing, October 1, 2019, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    The China Dream: Never Closer, yet Never More Elusive

    To achieve its goals of national rejuvenation, China needs to become a true world power. But a softening economy and political gridlock make it seem less and less likely that Beijing will realize all of its objectives.

    Oct 1, 2019

  • Blog

    Drug Prices, China, Workplace Harassment: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on U.S. prescription drug prices, how not to confront China, sexual harassment in today's workplace, and more.

    Sep 27, 2019

  • Snow-covered mountains rise above the harbor in Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 15, 2018, photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

    Commentary

    Engaging with Greenland

    Greenland's resources and geographic position would confer economic and strategic value to the United States. But its postcolonial history and unique governance regime complicate the prospect of direct ownership.

    Sep 23, 2019

  • U.S. President Donald Trump attends a bilateral meeting with China's President Xi Jinping during the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Not to Confront China

    There are several key reasons why current U.S. policy toward China may not help advance America's competitiveness or enlist much support abroad. Most notably, the administration has yet to explain what it ultimately hopes to accomplish.

    Sep 23, 2019

  • China and USA relations concept, photo by Rawf8/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Beyond Hawks and Doves: A Better Way to Debate U.S.–China Policy

    The best long-term outcome for U.S.–China relations may be one in which inexorably intensifying competition coexists with occasionally fruitful cooperation. It is not the most inspiring result, to be sure, but it is preferable to unconstrained antagonism.

    Sep 20, 2019

  • 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