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.

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the attempted coup at the presidential palace in Ankara, July 15, 2018, photo by Umit Bektas/Reuters

    Report

    Turkey's Nationalist Course and How It Affects U.S.-Turkish Relations

    Jan 14, 2020

    America's longstanding partnership with Turkey, a powerful NATO ally, has become strained in recent years. Their interests are not as aligned as they once were, and tensions between Turkey and Europe have exacerbated these strains. What can be done to sustain the U.S.-Turkish relationship?

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China, November 5, 2019, photo by Aly Song/Reuters

    Commentary

    What to Expect from China in 2020

    Jan 3, 2020

    Last year was an eventful one in China, with U.S.–China trade tensions escalating, protests in Hong Kong reaching a crisis point, and President Xi Jinping further consolidating power. What might the rest of the world expect from China in 2020?

Explore International Diplomacy

  • U.S. President Jimmy Carter shakes hands with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty on the grounds of the White House, Washington, D.C., March 26, 1979, photo by Warren K. Leffler/Reuters

    Commentary

    Carter's Compromise: Cowardice or Calculation?

    Jørgen Jensehaugen's Arab-Israeli Diplomacy Under Carter is a valuable addition to the literature on American peacemaking efforts that deepens our understanding of the difficult choices future administrations will confront in their effort to defuse the Arab-Israeli conflict.

    Dec 20, 2019

  • Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, conduct live-fire, fire and movement drills near Camp Beuhring, Kuwait, March 5, 2017, photo by Sgt. Xzavior McNeal/U.S. Marine Corps photo

    Commentary

    Bad Idea: Assuming the Small Wars Era Is Over

    The national security community doesn't need to deny the potential for future great power conflict—or neglect to prepare for it—in order to acknowledge the enduring reality of asymmetric threats. Containing, resolving, and even preventing smaller conflicts is essential to avoiding bigger ones.

    Dec 18, 2019

  • A fighter loyal to Libya's U.N.-backed government looks at a room burned during clashes with troops loyal to Khalifa Haftar in Tripoli, Libya, May 28, 2019, photo by Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

    Commentary

    Can Anything Stop the Flow of Advanced Weapons into Libya?

    Weapons proliferation has been a security concern for Libya and its neighbors since the revolution of 2011. If foreign arms transfers into Libya aren't reduced, the country's security situation will continue to deteriorate, giving militant groups a chance to increase their lethality and further destabilize the region.

    Dec 13, 2019

  • U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev have a few final words after a marathon meeting to conclude their mini-summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, October 12, 1986, photo by Denis Paquin/Reuters

    Commentary

    Return of Nuclear Doomsday

    Elder statesmen are again warning of nuclear dangers. But have they risen? Maybe, but they remain only faint echoes of Cold War era risks, creating an opportunity to deliberately and carefully take steps to avoid future risks.

    Dec 12, 2019

  • Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif arrives for a meeting among remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal at U.N. headquarters in New York City, September 25, 2019, photo by Yana Paskova/Reuters

    Commentary

    Understanding Iran's Nuclear Escalation Strategy

    Throughout 2019, Iran has gradually reduced its compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. What are its goals in doing this? Why has it adopted this strategy? And perhaps most importantly, how far does Iran intend to go?

    Dec 12, 2019

  • People walk near a burned bank, after protests against increased fuel prices, in Tehran, Iran, November 20, 2019, photo by Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Reuters

    Commentary

    Don't Expect a Thaw in Iran

    Iran's recent protests could mark the beginning of a new chapter in Iran's domestic politics. Whatever happens inside the country, though, it will not likely change Iran's foreign policy.

    Dec 11, 2019

  • A compass pointing toward peace for Afghanistan, photo by XtockImages/Getty Images

    Report

    Envisioning a Comprehensive Peace Agreement for Afghanistan

    Throughout years of attempts to negotiate an end to the war in Afghanistan, the conflict parties articulated only the barest outlines of envisioned outcomes. A new detailed picture of a political settlement includes options for realistic compromises. It is presented in the format of a peace accord to show what the outcome of negotiations could look like.

    Dec 10, 2019

  • (L-R) Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 9, 2019, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Does Beijing Want from the Pacific Islands?

    China's recent activities in Oceania highlight a formidable two-pronged strategy of diplomatic and economic engagement that Washington and its allies and partners will have to vigorously compete against to maintain their preeminence in the Pacific.

    Dec 9, 2019

  • Blog

    Hong Kong, Reducing Crime, Medical Marijuana: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on what the U.S. can do about Hong Kong, reducing crime in Chicago, medical marijuana, and more.

    Dec 6, 2019

  • French President Emmanuel Macron gives a news conference after a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Paris, France, November 28, 2019, photo by Bertrand Guay/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is NATO Brain Dead?

    French President Macron's remark about the brain death of NATO was provoked by President Trump's October 6 decision, since modified, to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria. Macron is right to wonder how Trump would respond to any threat to European security. But he is wrong to attribute this uncertainty to diminishing support for the alliance among all Americans.

    Dec 3, 2019

  • Iranians protest against increased gas prices, on a highway in Tehran, November 16, 2019, photo by Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Reuters

    Commentary

    With Chaos in the Streets of Iran, Here's How the United States Could Help the Iranian People

    The Iranian people deserve American support. But current U.S. policies are hurting the cause that Iranians are fighting for while failing to achieve any strategic objectives.

    Dec 3, 2019

  • Protesters raise their hands outside the Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Hong Kong, China, November 25, 2019, photo by Marko Djurica/Reuters

    Commentary

    U.S. Policy Options for Hong Kong

    After months of escalating police violence and protester resistance, matters in Hong Kong have come to a head. What steps could the United States consider to reduce the prospect of a resurgence in violence?

    Dec 2, 2019

  • Blog

    Artificial Intelligence Bias, Russia, Fentanyl: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on bias in algorithms, Russia's limits in the Middle East, understanding the fentanyl crisis, and more.

    Nov 29, 2019

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan attend the official welcome ceremony in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, October 15, 2019, photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool/Reuters

    Report

    Russian Strategy in the Middle East Is Limited

    The unrest in Syria and the Arab Spring gave Russia the opportunity to increase its economic and political activities across the Middle East. But the strengths of Moscow's strategy in the short term—its transactionalism, its balancing of multiple partners—may turn out to be its undoing in the long term.

    Nov 26, 2019

  • People shaking hands over an image of a city with a globe superimposed over the top, photo by chombosan/Getty Images

    Commentary

    City Diplomacy Has Been on the Rise. Policies Are Finally Catching Up

    Cities are not signing international treaties, nor do they have embassies around the world. But they can engage in all kinds of negotiations, reach agreements, and influence world politics. The State Department could tap into this power to enhance U.S. diplomacy, global image, and influence.

    Nov 22, 2019

  • Report

    Consular services to citizens abroad: Insights from an international comparative study

    This report explores the ways in which consular services to citizens abroad have been organised in seven countries (France, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, United Kingdom, United States and Australia) and identifies insights for the Netherlands.

    Nov 21, 2019

  • A Chinese Coast Guard ship from the bow of a Vietnam Marine Guard ship in the South China Sea, near Vietnam, May 14, 2014, photo by Nguyen Minh/Reuters

    Commentary

    Vietnam Needs to 'Struggle' More in the South China Sea

    With the standoff between China and Vietnam at the disputed Vanguard Bank ended, it makes sense to take stock of how Hanoi's security strategy fared in countering Chinese coercion. It may be time for Vietnam to consider a careful recalibration to allow for more “struggle” and less “cooperation.”

    Nov 15, 2019

  • 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

    South Korea announced its intent to withdraw from an intelligence-sharing arrangement with Japan. There are four reasons that Seoul should strongly consider reversing 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