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 Moon Jae In attends a meeting with senior advisers at the presidential office in Seoul, South Korea on August 24, 2020, photo by Blue House/Handout/Latin America

    Commentary

    What Does South Korea Herald for the Biden Administration?

    Dec 4, 2020

    South Korea appears to be running on all cylinders to build relations with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, with President Moon Jae-in and his team busy issuing public statements and arranging high-level meetings with key players in the incoming administration. What can the Biden administration expect from South Korea on critical foreign policy issues?

  • President-elect Biden announces his key health team nominees and appointees in Wilmington, DE, December 8, 2020, photo by CNP/InStar/Cover Images/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Biden's Africa Strategy Might Look Like

    Dec 10, 2020

    Biden's election may present Washington with a welcome opportunity to reset its relationship with sub-Saharan Africa. It could behoove U.S. policymakers to engage with the region to ensure that the United States will be positioned to take full advantage of whatever opportunities arise, and, when necessary, do whatever might be possible to avert unfavorable outcomes.

Explore International Diplomacy

  • North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un gives field guidance at construction sites in Samjiyon County, North Korea, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 18, 2018

    Commentary

    North Korea: Seeking Influence on President-Elect Biden

    North Korea's past post-election provocation patterns suggest that the United States might have days to weeks before the North's first provocations. The Biden team might consider actions to convince Kim Jong-un that provocations will hurt him.

    Nov 17, 2020

  • A U.S. sailor demonstrates patching a pipe leak during a damage control exchange during naval exchange activity Vietnam.

    Report

    Regional Responses to U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific: Vietnam

    This report explores Vietnam's perspective on rising U.S.-China competition by evaluating how Vietnam is responding to U.S. and Chinese influence in diplomatic and political, economic, and security and military domains.

    Nov 12, 2020

  • The guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey transits the Pacific Ocean while participating in Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC)

    Report

    Regional Responses to U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific: Study Overview and Conclusions

    The authors define U.S.-China competition for influence and assess competition in nine countries across the Indo-Pacific to gain insight into how the United States could work more effectively with allies and partners in Southeast Asia and beyond.

    Nov 12, 2020

  • An F-22 Raptor conducts a combat air patrol mission over an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, September 13, 2019, photo by MSgt. Russ Scalf/U.S. Air Force

    Research Brief

    Who Has More Influence in the Indo-Pacific, the United States or China?

    Neither the United States nor China is clearly winning the competition for influence in the Indo-Pacific region as a whole. China has more economic influence, and the United States has more diplomatic and military sway. But partners generally value economic development over security concerns.

    Nov 12, 2020

  • Laos Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith (L) and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi following a meeting in Beijing, China, August 3, 2016, photo by Rolex Dela Pena/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Vietnam Is Losing Its Best Friends to China

    The wide range of Chinese activities with Cambodia and Laos must be jarring for Vietnamese leaders. China has eclipsed Vietnam in Indochina, and that means that Hanoi's angst will only continue to rise in its own backyard. Vietnam will likely have to find alternative means of engaging Cambodia and Laos to combat Chinese influence in this critical region in the years to come.

    Nov 2, 2020

  • U.S. and China flags crossed on a table, photo by studiocasper/Getty Images

    Commentary

    U.S. Election Won't Dramatically Change the Indo-Pacific Strategy

    No matter who wins the U.S. presidential election, the outcome is unlikely to impact the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy in any significant way. Bipartisan agreement in Washington to counter and compete with China makes clear that the United States will continue to push back against Beijing.

    Nov 2, 2020

  • U.S. and North Korean diplomacy depicted by pencils and people running off cliffs to meet in the middle, photo by wildpixel/Getty Images

    Report

    Is There a Better Way to Negotiate with North Korea?

    The failure of recent efforts by the United States to engage North Korea in denuclearization talks calls for a different approach. A new method that addresses the reasons for past failures and reflects current realities offers promising ways forward.

    Oct 26, 2020

  • Italian air force F-35 and Eurofighter Typhoons fly in formation over Italy during a training mission, courtesy photo, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa

    Report

    European Contributions to NATO's Future Combat Airpower

    European air forces currently have limited capabilities for defending allies in high-intensity conflict. However, Europe's airpower is trending in the right direction, especially with the introduction of fifth-generation aircraft.

    Oct 22, 2020

  • Photo by Ron Przysucha/U.S. Government Photo

    Commentary

    PIF Fragmentation May Alter U.S.-China Competition in the Pacific

    The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) may be on the verge of fragmentation, and if it happens, the consequences for U.S.-China geostrategic competition could be significant. A divided PIF would likely present several opportunities and challenges for China and the United States as their competition ramps up in Oceania.

    Oct 14, 2020

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 5, 2019, photo by Maxim Shipenkov/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    China's Friends Are Few and Unreliable

    Amid escalating competition, China and the United States are actively shoring up their diplomatic relationships in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. Compared to the United States, China's friends are certainly not as numerous, nor are they as reliable. That is a major challenge for Beijing.

    Oct 12, 2020

  • The USS Carney, a missile-guided destroyer, approaches the Bosphorus Strait on its journey to transit out of the Black Sea, photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Weston Jones/U.S. Navy

    Report

    Russia, NATO, and Black Sea Security

    The Black Sea region is a locus of the competition between Russia and the West for the future of Europe. What is Moscow doing to advance its goals there? And how might NATO allies and partners respond?

    Oct 5, 2020

  • Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Sochi, Russia, February 15, 2019, photo by Sergei Chirikov/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Belarusian Mortgage on Russia's Future

    In September, President Vladimir Putin signaled that Russia was throwing its weight behind embattled Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. But any move to enforce Putin's will in Belarus could invite tougher Western sanctions and scare investors. This would exacerbate problems facing Russia's flagging economy.

    Oct 5, 2020

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the 13th Political Bureau meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in this image released June 7, 2020 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korea Has Agreed to Denuclearization. Trump Could Try to Make It Happen

    President Trump came into office determined to rein in the North Korean nuclear weapons program. But it has become quite clear that North Korea has no intention of giving it up. How might the United States bring North Korea into compliance with its denuclearization commitments?

    Sep 28, 2020

  • U.S. Navy vessels in the Philippine Sea, November, 2018, photo by MC2 Kaila V. Peters/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Ambiguity Has Its Uses

    As China's thirst to resolve the Taiwan issue intensifies, the United States' halfhearted commitment to the island will become increasingly perilous: too weak to deter Chinese aggression but strong enough to drag the United States into a war. No U.S. approach to Taiwan will offer a perfect guarantee of peace. But the United States has many options short of the provocative, costly, and diplomatically risky step of an unconditional security pledge.

    Sep 24, 2020

  • Dissertation

    Dissertation

    Loosening the Okinawan Knot: A Mixed-Methods Study of Okinawan Public Perceptions of the U.S. Military

    Provides a detailed and reliable understanding of the nature of the Okinawan public's perceptions, policy preferences, and cultural attitudes regarding the problems and benefits associated with the U.S. military in Okinawa.

    Sep 21, 2020

  • Blog

    Wildfires, America's Wealth Gap, Screening for COVID-19 at Work: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the growing risk of wildfires, how Americans' incomes have grown (or not), workplace screenings for COVID-19 symptoms, and more.

    Sep 18, 2020

  • U.S. Marines engage targets during a live-fire demonstration near At-Tanf Garrison, Syria, Sept, 7, 2018, photo by Cpl. Carlos Lopez/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    In the Middle East, Russia and China Expand Their Influence

    While the United States is concerned primarily about a resurgent China's inroads in the Middle East, it is also nervous about the gambits of a revanchist Russia. As the United States decides when and how to contest China and Russia—in and beyond the Middle East—it will have to resist alarmism as vigorously as complacency.

    Sep 18, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Moscow's Calibrated Coercion in Ukraine and Russian Strategic Culture

    This paper analyzes Russia's use of force in Ukraine since the end of major combat operations in February 2015.

    Sep 16, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Strategic Sderzhivanie: Understanding Contemporary Russian Approaches to "Deterrence"

    This paper argues that viewing Russia's actions through the lens of the concept "sderzhivanie" can help Western analysts and decision-makers better understand the drivers of Moscow's behavior.

    Sep 16, 2020

  • USA flag over NYC skyline, photo by franckreporter/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The Lost Generation in American Foreign Policy

    Throughout the 55 years following World War II, successive U.S. administrations racked up major foreign policy successes at an average rate of about once a year. Since 2001, the pace of foreign policy achievement has fallen to once every four years. The result has been a lost generation in American foreign policy.

    Sep 15, 2020