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.

  • South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden arrive for a state dinner at the National Museum of Korea, in Seoul, South Korea, May 21, 2022, photo by Lee Jin-man/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Yoon Suk-yeol Is Biden's Perfect South Korea Partner

    Yoon Suk-yeol, South Korea's conservative new president, has shown that he is in lockstep with U.S. President Joe Biden on foreign policy. During Biden's Indo-Pacific trip in May, their conversations in the security domain suggest Yoon's overlapping tenure with Biden heralds a golden era in the U.S.-South Korea alliance.

    Jul 5, 2022

  • U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink and Ukraine's Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova visit Borodianka, in the Kyiv Region, Ukraine, June 4, 2022, photo by Edgar Su/Reuters

    Commentary

    Do Americans Know Who Their Diplomats Are? Or What They Do?

    Americans have a limited understanding of how diplomats are selected and how diplomacy interacts with other elements of the U.S. national security establishment. Efforts to better inform and engage the American public about the work of diplomacy and who American diplomats are would lead to a greater understanding of the job and its people.

    Jun 20, 2022

Explore International Diplomacy

  • Indian Border Security Forces and Pakistan Rangers exchange sweets on the 76th Independence Day, at the India-Pakistan Wagah Border in Amritsar, India August 15, 2022, photo by Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times/Sipa USA

    Commentary

    India-Pakistan Ties Are Warming—but Don't Get Excited Just Yet

    While the warming trend in India-Pakistan ties is encouraging, it makes sense to keep a healthy check on expectations. Events could easily derail progress. Ultimately, it will take trust for India and Pakistan to normalize their relationship, and developing trust takes time.

    Sep 27, 2022

  • Members of China's research team setting up an ocean profiling float near the icebreaker Xuelong in the Arctic Ocean, August 18, 2016, photo by Wu Yue/Xinhua/Alamy

    Report

    China's Growing Role in the Arctic

    China has become a player in the Arctic region, engaging in economic, scientific, cultural, diplomatic, and military activities. What security risks do China's investments pose, and what could the United States and its partners do to mitigate undesirable Chinese involvement in the region?

    Sep 27, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Putin's Latest Threats, U.S. Policy in the Middle East, Disaster Recovery: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Russia's troop mobilization and the ongoing war in Ukraine, U.S. policy in the Middle East, building a more diverse teacher workforce, and more.

    Sep 23, 2022

  • Cars drive and residents gather at the Shorja wholesale market during a sandstorm in Baghdad, Iraq, July 3, 2022, photo by Ahmed Saad/Reuters

    Report

    A New Approach to U.S. Security Policy in the Middle East

    U.S. interests in the Middle East and the risks posed to them have evolved in ways that call for a modified set of priorities. The United States should not disengage from the region, but instead protect its interests by relying less on military operations and more on diplomacy and other civilian tools.

    Sep 22, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with journalists in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, June 29, 2022, photo by Dmitry Azarov/Sputnik via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Rise of the Rest: How Russia Views the Future World Order

    What Russia seeks is new political leadership across the Western world that does not support a status quo that can isolate Russia from the capital and technology it needs to generate security and prosperity over the long term.

    Sep 19, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden talks with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1, 2021, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    Indonesia Is Looking for More Than Security Support from the United States

    Rather than remain aloof from the new great power competition between the United States and China, Indonesia has quietly, albeit determinedly, favored relations with Washington, though in reality, it does not have much of a choice.

    Sep 14, 2022

  • Rosneft boss Igor Sechin's yacht Amore Vero , which was seized by French authorities, in La Ciotat harbor, in the south of France, March 4, 2022, photo by Florian Escoffier/ABACA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Sanctioning Business Leaders in Russia

    Western sanctions are ensnaring more Russian business leaders, some of whom say they are unjustly targeted. Can those in the private sector reduce their risks of being designated? Perhaps, if they make difficult choices.

    Sep 12, 2022

  • Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia attends Security Council meeting convened at the request of the Russian Federation who accused Ukraine of developing biological weapons under the tutelage of the United States, at U.N. Headquarters in New York, March 11, 2022, photo by Lev Radin/Sipa USA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Debunking Russian Lies About Biolabs at Upcoming U.N. Meetings

    Before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, its diplomatic missions began circulating some particularly fantastical lies. It's tempting to write off such claims as cartoonish propaganda. But Russia is making similarly outrageous claims to the United Nations and other international forums. Such maneuvers could dangerously undermine international arms control agreements.

    Sep 12, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021, photo by Denis Balibouse/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Wisdom of U.S. Restraint on Russia

    The United States has been gradually increasing assistance to Ukraine without provoking a wider war. Although this approach has frustrated Ukrainian leaders and many observers, it reflects the best traditions of Cold War–era crisis diplomacy—pursuing U.S. interests while avoiding a direct clash with a rival, always with an eye on the long term.

    Sep 12, 2022

  • A health worker tests a patient for COVID-19 at a new temporary walk-in site in Seoul, South Korea on Monday, December 14, 2020. The government opened over 150 free testing centers on Monday to combat the worst COVID-19 outbreak the country has faced, photo by Thomas Maresca/UPI/Alamy Stock Photo

    Report

    Public Health and Soft Power: The Republic of Korea's Initial COVID-19 Response and Its Implications for Health Diplomacy

    The Republic of Korea's successful proactive response to the coronavirus 2019 pandemic has received global attention. How might the nation leverage this success to demonstrate soft power and help build a strong alliance for global health security?

    Sep 7, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Back to School, Vaccinating Kids, Space Security: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the well-being of America's educators, the effort to vaccinate kids and teens, security in outer space, and more.

    Sep 2, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks regarding the East Jerusalem Hospital Network at Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem, July 15, 2022, photo by Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

    Commentary

    Middle East Peace: The Biden Administration's Approach

    The primary goal of President Biden's July trip to the Middle East was clearly to reassert U.S. leadership with traditional allies in the Arab world. There are a few points worth highlighting from the Israel/Palestine portion that may be important to keep an eye on.

    Aug 31, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Diversity in the Military, Telemedicine Abortion, China and Taiwan: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the benefits of increasing and maintaining diversity in the armed forces, the challenges of telemedicine abortion, whether Indo-Pacific countries are backing China or Taiwan, and more.

    Aug 26, 2022

  • Signing of Treaty on Outer Space in May, 1964, photo by United Nations/ CC BY-SA 2.0

    Commentary

    Reduce Friction in Space by Amending the 1967 Outer Space Treaty

    Space has the potential to be a domain in which current great-power competitions and frictions can be mediated. The international community might consider updating the existing space legal regime to ensure it meets current political, economic, social, and technical challenges.

    Aug 26, 2022

  • Russian service members stand guard at the Nagurskoye military base in Alexandra Land on the Arctic islands of Franz Josef Land, Russia, March 29, 2017, photo by Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

    Commentary

    How the Russian Invasion of Ukraine May Impact the Arctic

    The United States and its Arctic partners suspended cooperation with Russia at the Arctic Council in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. The prospect of returning to the council's business as usual seems very far away.

    Aug 22, 2022

  • U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends a meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office in Taipei, August 3, 2022, photo courtesy of Taiwan Presidential Office/Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Indo-Pacific Mostly Backs 'One China,' but Taiwan Gets Some Love, Too

    Almost the entire Indo-Pacific region backs China over Taiwan. But U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's August trip to Taiwan made it clear that key U.S. allies strongly support Taiwan's cause, particularly in the face of a potential war over the island. This suggests that Beijing's assertive behavior is steadily alienating nations that otherwise may have minded their own business.

    Aug 22, 2022

  • Russian service members ride an armoured vehicle in the Russian-held part of the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, July 23, 2022, photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

    Commentary

    Understanding Russia's Motivations, and Using Them

    The concept of ontological security could help explain Putin's war on Ukraine and his regime's reasoning. It's about maintaining a continuous sense of self, and in this case, of state identity. Putin may have deemed the invasion necessary to maintain a sense of continuity and order, where order is Russia's continued adversarial relationship with the West.

    Aug 19, 2022

  • Workers make parts for pneumatic guns at one of the eight manufacturers licensed by the Ministry of Public Security in Qingliu county, Fujian province, China, May 26, 2022, photo by Hu Guolin/FeatureChina via AP Images, Workers make parts for pneumatic guns at one of the eight manufa

    Tool

    Where Has China Sent Weapons and Security Contractors?

    China exported weapons to 38 countries from 2018 to 2021. It also exported private security contractors to protect and secure its interests in other countries, such as mining facilities and ports. A map of the exports shows China's expansive influence across Asia and Africa and into Latin America.

    Aug 19, 2022

  • A Ukrainian army officer looks at a destroyed SS-24 missile silo near the town of Pervomaisk, Ukraine, October 30, 2001, photo by Gleb Garanich CVI/CLH//Reuters

    Commentary

    How Russia's Nuclear Double Cross of Ukraine Teaches Dangerous Lessons

    Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the West's support for Kyiv has been tempered by an ace up Vladimir Putin's sleeve: the potential use of nuclear weapons. But other countries are taking notice, which could imperil world stability even further.

    Aug 16, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden, alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, Swedish Ambassador to the U.S. Karin Olofsdotter and Finnish Ambassador to the U.S. Mikko Hautala, signs documents endorsing Finland's and Sweden's accession to NATO, at the White House, in Washington, D.C., August 9, 2022, photo by Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

    Commentary

    Finnish and Swedish NATO Membership: Toward a Larger, Stronger, Smarter Alliance

    Finland and Sweden are poised to become full NATO members in the near future. The Nordic pair's entry into NATO means that alliance leaders and planners confront new challenges, and just as many opportunities.

    Aug 12, 2022