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.

  • A soldier loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad's forces is seen in Quneitra, Syria, July 22, 2018

    Commentary

    The Power and Limits of Threat: The Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act at One Year

    Jul 8, 2021

    A powerful new U.S. sanctions law on Syria came into effect one year ago, with great notice and speculation regarding its potential effects. Now, one year later, it is apparent that the act's power lies not in who the United States has sanctioned but in who the United States could sanction.

  • Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman meets with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, June 2, 2021, photo by U.S. Embassy Bangkok

    Commentary

    Biden's Troubled Southeast Asia Policy Needs a Reboot

    Jul 6, 2021

    Nearly six months into Joe Biden's presidency, it is now possible to begin assessing the effectiveness of some of his administration's policies. When it comes to Southeast Asia, the Biden administration has thus far fallen short, but the future looks relatively bright with certain caveats.

Explore International Diplomacy

  • President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at Davao International airport in Davao City in southern Philippines, September 8, 2018, photo by Lean Daval Jr./Reuters

    Commentary

    China Has Lost the Philippines Despite Duterte's Best Efforts

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has time and again underscored his anti-U.S. and pro-Chinese orientation. Duterte now recognizes, in spite of his continued rhetoric to the contrary, that China is no friend.

    May 6, 2021

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts as he attends a parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, in this image released by North Korea's Central News Agency on October 10, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden's North Korea Policy Review Is Sparse on Details. Here's One Interpretation

    The Biden administration recently completed its North Korea policy review. Details have been sparse, but based on prior U.S. dealings with the Kims, some informed guesses about Washington's approach towards Pyongyang under the new administration can be had. Here's one.

    May 6, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Tracking Chinese Perceptions of Vietnam's Relations with China and the United States

    This article sheds light on trends in Chinese assessments of U.S.-Vietnam relations and security cooperation to discern patterns in the security dynamics between the three countries.

    May 4, 2021

  • Australian soldiers from Battlegroup War Horse take part in the final assault on Williamson Airfield in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area, Rockhampton, Queensland, during Exercise Hamel, June 27, 2018, photo by U.S. Army

    Report

    Defence Mobilisation Planning Comparative Study: An Examination of Overseas Planning

    Against the 2020 Defence Strategic Update, the authors use evidence from several countries to highlight the merits of a 'total defence' approach to mobilisation planning for Australia with the goal of meeting contemporary threats.

    May 3, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken meet virtually with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 12, 2021, photo by Pool/ABACA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden Should Consider Downsides of Stressing National Values in Indo-Pacific

    The Biden administration has argued that the United States must strengthen its Indo-Pacific alliances and partnerships to compete more successfully with China. Will Washington prioritize national interests or national values?

    May 3, 2021

  • Blog

    COVID-19 Disinformation, Biden's Address, Leaving Afghanistan: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Russian and Chinese campaigns to spread malign and subversive information on COVID-19, President Biden's address to Congress, the planned U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and more.

    Apr 30, 2021

  • Children sing and dance in front of Children's Peace Monument to commemorate the coming into effect of the TPNW at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan, January 22, 2021, photo by Osamu Kanazawa/Yomiuri Shimbun via Reuters

    Commentary

    Nuclear Ban Treaty Offers Rare Chance for Japan

    As the only country to suffer the horrors of wartime atomic bombings, one would assume Japan would eagerly sign any treaty to ban such weapons. Why hasn't Japan signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which took effect in January 2021?

    Apr 30, 2021

  • President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi behind him, Washington, D.C., April 28, 2021, photo by Melina Mara/Reuters

    Blog

    Biden's First Address to Congress: Insights from RAND

    President Joe Biden addressed a joint session of Congress, summarizing his administration's early COVID-19 response and outlining plans that aim to loosen the pandemic's year-long grip on a weary nation. The speech reflected the fact that the United States faces policy challenges across a wide range of domains.

    Apr 29, 2021

  • Joe Biden shakes hands with Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, March 10, 2011, photo by Alexander Natruskin/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Biden-Putin Summit: Do the Risks Outweigh the Potential Rewards?

    President Biden has proposed that the United States and Russia hold a summit in the coming months. If that happens, major gains may be out of reach at first. Some progress might be possible, but the risks may be greater than at most previous summits.

    Apr 27, 2021

  • Super Typhoon Noru photographed by ISS astronaut Randy Bresnick above the Northwestern Pacific Ocean on August 1, 2017, photo courtesy of NASA

    Report

    Responsible Space Behavior for the New Space Era

    The early space domain was dominated by two superpowers. Today, the world has more than 60 spacefaring nations, multiple commercial space operators, and a global economy that is inextricably linked to space. Now is the time to develop responsible space norms.

    Apr 26, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga arrive for a news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 16, 2021, photo by Tom Brenner/Reuters

    Commentary

    Suga-Biden Summit: Rekindling Confidence in the U.S.-Japan Alliance

    The April summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga signaled a deepening in the U.S.-Japan alliance. It highlighted important new areas of cooperation and a concrete agenda for U.S.-Japan relations.

    Apr 26, 2021

  • Blog

    Summer Learning, America's Middle Class, Waking Up After the Pandemic: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how to make summer learning count, U.S. deterrence in the ‘gray zone,’ why so many Americans are stuck outside the middle class, and more.

    Apr 23, 2021

  • Time-lapse of Starry Night Sky

    Multimedia

    The Need for Space Norms

    RAND senior political scientist Stephen Flanagan discusses the increasing level of space activity and the need for space norms to provide guidance for how nations should conduct space operations.

    Apr 20, 2021

  • Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden walk on the Colonnade prior to their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 16, 2021, photo by Doug Mills/Pool via CNP/InStar

    Commentary

    'Joe-Yoshi' Spirit Buoys Japan-U.S. Alliance in Turbulent Seas

    President Biden and Prime Minister Suga appear to have established a warm, personal rapport while communicating a clear vision of the importance of working together to end the pandemic, combat climate change, preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific, and defend democracy.

    Apr 20, 2021

  • China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exchange documents during the signing ceremony of a 25-year cooperation agreement, in Tehran, Iran March 27, 2021, photo by Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Does Not Have to Be America's Enemy in the Middle East

    China and Iran made a deal in which China promised to boost its investment in Iranian infrastructure in exchange for a steady supply of oil. This uptick in Chinese influence does not necessarily erode U.S. power in the region. The United States may even find overlapping interests with China since both have a stake in containing conflicts and instability.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • A perimeter fence around what is officially known as a vocational skills education center in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, September 4, 2018, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Upcoming Summit an Opportunity for Japan to Reconsider Whether to Join Rest of G-7 in Sanctioning China Over Genocide

    Japan has been lukewarm in its response to global condemnation of China's crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang. What options might President Biden have to encourage Japan to reconsider its position as he hosts his first in-person summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga?

    Apr 15, 2021

  • European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora and Iranian Deputy at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abbas Araghchi wait for the start of a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria April 6, 2021

    Commentary

    The Biden Administration Will Find It Difficult to Contain Israel and Iran's Escalating Tensions

    Iran is blaming Israel for a blackout at one of its nuclear research facilities. This attack is likely to complicate nuclear diplomacy and further erode trust between Tehran and Washington. Also, it may only incentivize Iran to advance its nuclear program.

    Apr 14, 2021

  • A New Vision for the Middle East

    Multimedia

    A New Vision for the Middle East

    Dalia Dassa Kaye and Linda Robinson discuss their study, Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East, which explores fundamental questions, such as whether and how the United States should engage the region.

    Apr 13, 2021

  • MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft return after a long-range raid from Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Nov. 4, 2016, photo by Sergeant Major Michael Cato/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    The United States Considers Reinforcing Its 'Pacific Sanctuary'

    Soon after he took office, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered a posture review to ensure that the U.S. global footprint is the right size to support U.S. strategy. Japan's continued importance to U.S. strategy and Tokyo's increased willingness to be more proactive in the security domain mean that Japan could see an uptick in U.S. military presence after this review is complete.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi at a joint press conference in Tokyo, March 16, 2021, photo by Yomiuri Shimbun/Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden Puts Japan at the Center of U.S. Policy in Asia

    Addressing the Chinese threat in the Indo-Pacific requires working with allies and partners. So far, Japan appears to be one of the priority relationships for the Biden administration.

    Apr 12, 2021