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.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits Kherson, Ukraine, November 14, 2022, photo by Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters

    Commentary

    What's the Harm in Talking to Russia? A Lot, Actually

    Despite the way it is commonly portrayed, diplomacy is not intrinsically and always good, nor is it cost-free. In the Ukraine conflict, the problems with a push for diplomacy are especially apparent. The likely benefits of negotiations are minimal, and the prospective costs could be significant.

    Nov 22, 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

  • Presidents Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy at a ceremony honoring service members who supported the international response to the unrest in Libya, at Cannes City Hall, November 4, 2011, photo by MC2 Stephen Oleksiak/U.S. Navy

    Report

    Weighing Entanglement Risks of U.S. Security Relationships

    Some analysts argue that security relationships cause the United States to adopt its partners' interests, incentivize allies and partners to engage in reckless behavior, and risk getting dragged into conflicts. Others contend that the United States avoids entanglement by keeping its own interests in mind.

    Nov 22, 2021

  • EU Defence Ministers meet in Brussels, Belgium, November 16, 2021, photo by Mario Salerno/Council of the EU

    Commentary

    U.S. Support for European Strategic Autonomy Could Boost Transatlantic Solidarity and Security

    Leaders of EU member states and institutions have recently renewed calls for Europe to assume a greater role and increased autonomy in transatlantic and global security and defense. How can Europe and the United States work together to reduce misperceptions about strategic autonomy and chart an outcome that could enhance transatlantic solidarity and security?

    Nov 19, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends an expanded meeting of the Russian Foreign Ministry Board in Moscow, Russia, November 18, 2021, photo by Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS via Reuters

    Commentary

    How Could the U.S. React to Russia's Latest Posturing on Ukraine?

    Russia's military buildup along its border with Ukraine has been accompanied by dramatically tougher rhetoric in recent months. Russian President Vladimir Putin may believe Ukraine is at an inflection point and that it's time to up the ante. The risk of a major war seems real enough to justify a new U.S. approach.

    Nov 19, 2021

  • Russian missile air defence systems at the international military-technical forum Army-2021 in Moscow Region, Russia, August 23, 2021, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Report

    How Diplomacy Could Be Used to Discourage Russian Arms Sales

    Countering Russian arms sales could reduce Russia's influence on other nations as well as revenue that indirectly enables its irresponsible international behavior. The United States and its allies need to provide credible diplomatic and military alternatives, and work with countries to address their security needs.

    Nov 18, 2021

  • A soldier stands guard near a tank position close to the Russian border near the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, March 24, 2014, photo by Dmitry Neymyrok/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is Russia About to Make a 'Serious Mistake' in Ukraine?

    Russian military shifts and stinging Kremlin criticisms of Ukraine are raising questions about Moscow's aims. Russia's seizure and annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine in 2014 led to a strong Western response. What could be in store now?

    Nov 15, 2021

  • Taiwan Air Force during annual exercises designed to prove the military's capabilities to repel a Chinese attack in Chang-Hua, Taiwan, May 28, 2019, photo by Aventurier Patrick/ABACA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Taiwan Is Safe Until at Least 2027, but with One Big Caveat

    Although Chinese President Xi Jinping clearly seeks to bring Taiwan to heel, and by force if necessary, he also continues to promote “peaceful reunification” as Beijing's preferred means. Xi likely would have toughened up his language by now if he thought war was a real possibility.

    Nov 10, 2021

  • A large European Union flag lies at the centre of Schuman Square outside European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, May 8, 2021.

    Multimedia

    European Strategic Autonomy in Defence

    What does European strategic autonomy in defence mean for the EU, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and EU-U.S. relations? In this Expert Insights podcast, Lucia Retter, Stephanie Pezard, and Stephen Flanagan discuss the path towards greater EU defence integration and factors that affect how this autonomy develops going forward.

    Nov 9, 2021

  • Report

    European Strategic Autonomy in Defence: Transatlantic visions and implications for NATO, US and EU relations

    This study examines the meaning of European strategic autonomy in defence and its implications for the U.S., NATO and US-EU relations using a scenario methodology and transatlantic expert consultation.

    Nov 9, 2021

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a Report on Enlarged Meeting of the 2nd Political Bureau of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this image released July 5, 2021, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Report

    A Realistic Approach for Dealing with North Korea's Nuclear Weapons

    Pursuing the unachievable goal of convincing North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons can only complicate the real challenge of managing a nuclear-armed North Korea. The United States and its allies should instead focus on deterrence and a series of negotiated agreements to control further development.

    Nov 3, 2021

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his 6th State of the Nation address at the House of Representative in Manila, Philippines, July 26, 2021, photo by Lisa Marie David/Reuters

    Commentary

    Duterte's Dalliance with China Is Over

    When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016, he pledged to shift his country's foreign policy away from the United States in favor of China and Russia. His China-friendly policy is now effectively over, and he's doing his best to align the Philippines with the United States once more.

    Nov 2, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin at Moscow's World Trade Centre in Moscow, Russia, June 30, 2021, photo by Alexei Nikolsky/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Neighbors Have More Leverage Than They Think

    While Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia may be top priorities for Russia, Moscow has less room for maneuver than its power might suggest. Some of Moscow's difficulties with neighbors could leave openings for the West.

    Oct 25, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden responds to a question from a reporter in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., September 24, 2021, photo by Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden Administration Shows Unwavering Support for Taiwan

    Ten months into the Biden administration, it is abundantly clear that the United States will continue to strengthen ties with Taiwan and defend the island if ever attacked by China. Through both word and deed, the United States has continued to demonstrate that Taipei should have no worries about Washington's commitment to the island.

    Oct 20, 2021

  • A new submarine-launched ballistic missile is seen during a test in this undated photo released on October 19, 2021, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Reducing the Role of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Could Make North Korea Happy

    The threats emanating from North Korea pose a useful case study for the potential implications of reducing the role of U.S. nuclear weapons. Additional U.S. nuclear deterrence declaratory strategy, backed up by appropriate nuclear weapon capabilities and planning, may be needed.

    Oct 20, 2021

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    China and Russia, Wages and Insurance, Refugees and Technology : RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on China-Russia ties, considerations when raising the minimum wage, how refugees use digital devices, and more.

    Oct 15, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting on the sidelines of a BRICS summit, in Brasilia, Brazil, November 13, 2019, photo by Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik via Reuters

    Report

    The Chinese-Russian Relationship and Its Risks to U.S. Interests

    Over the past 70 years, China and Russia have experienced the full range of interstate relations, from conflict to alliance. Beijing and Moscow have become much closer since 2014, increasing political, military, and economic cooperation. What does this mean for the United States?

    Oct 12, 2021

  • Map of the Korean Peninsula, photo by omersukrugoksu/Getty Images

    Announcement

    Erik Mobrand Named RAND Corporation's Korea Policy Chair

    Erik Mobrand, a political scientist whose research focuses on political transformation in South Korea and Asia more broadly, has joined the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation as its Korea Policy Chair.

    Oct 8, 2021

  • Paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division prepare to board a U.S. Air Force C-17 at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 30th, 2021, photo by U.S. Army via Reuters

    Blog

    Panel Discusses Biden Strategy of Diplomacy as Tool of First Resort in the Middle East

    A distinguished panel of Middle East and national security experts expressed concerns about potential side effects of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan on U.S. Middle East policy and encouraged the Biden administration to proactively engage allies in the future.

    Oct 1, 2021

  • Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks to media after announcing his withdrawal from the party leadership race in Tokyo, Japan, September 3, 2021, photo by Kyodo/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Instability at the Top Means for Japan's Alliance with the United States

    Having shorter-serving prime ministers tends to minimize Japan's ability to operate as a strategic player. If Suga's resignation is the start of a revolving door, then the implications for Japan's policies and the U.S.-Japan alliance could be significant.

    Sep 22, 2021

  • Visualization

    Visualization

    Potential Drivers of Crises in the Arctic

    Historically in the Arctic, regional tensions have been resolved before turning into major crises. With the Arctic gaining more attention in recent years, are existing governance mechanisms enough to handle future diplomatic challenges?

    Sep 22, 2021

  • Taliban flags are seen on a street in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 16, 2021, photo by West Asia News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    China and Pakistan See Eye to Eye on the Taliban—Almost

    Beijing and Islamabad share a long history of cooperation and have much in common on Afghanistan. Both are poised to benefit strategically from the Taliban's success. But the Taliban's resurrection almost certainly will add some stress to an otherwise positive and productive bilateral partnership.

    Sep 21, 2021