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.

  • Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political chief of the Taliban, in Tianjin, China, July 28, 2021, photo by Li Ran/Xinhua via Reuters

    Commentary

    Chinese Recognition of the Taliban Is All but Inevitable

    Aug 27, 2021

    China is likely to recognize and legitimize the new leadership in Afghanistan within the coming weeks or months. Even if China has real concerns about the Taliban's willingness to keep its promises, the potential benefits are simply too great for Beijing to ignore.

Explore International Diplomacy

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting via video link from the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 21, 2020, photo by Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia Engine Troubles: Is Putin's Behavior Catching Up with Him?

    Actions taken to curb Russian malign activities around the globe appear to be affecting Russia's marine and aerospace engine sector. Efforts to arrest Russia's bad behavior might gain momentum if more countries followed the lead of Norway, which chose supporting sanctions over short-term economic gain.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • Russian Pantsir-SA missile and artillery weapon systems drive during the Victory Day Parade in Red Square in Moscow, Russia June 24, 2020, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Project

    Russia's Means of Global Influence

    Russia seeks to influence global policy through arms sales, the use of private military contractors, political interventions, social media and disinformation campaigns, and military force. A RAND project examines the workings of these levers of influence.

    Jun 11, 2021

  • Workers at the construction site of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, near the town of Kingisepp, Leningrad region, Russia, June 5, 2019, photo by Anton Vaganov/Reuters

    Commentary

    Depoliticizing Russian Gas in Europe

    At their June 16 Summit in Geneva, Presidents Biden and Putin might consider how to reduce the sharp tensions over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. Cooperation among governments and companies may offer potential.

    Jun 11, 2021

  • Call with the Experts: The North Korean Nuclear Threat

    Multimedia

    RAND Experts Discuss the Biden-Putin Summit

    In this Call with the Experts podcast, Jeffrey Hiday, director of Media Relations at RAND, is joined by RAND experts Samuel Charap, Todd Helmus, Dara Massicot, and William Courtney. Together they discuss the June 16th summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. This call was recorded on June 10, 2021.

    Jun 10, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference, held online in a video conference mode, at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia December 17, 2020, photo by Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via Reuters

    Blog

    Summit a Chance to Clarify U.S.-Russia Relations

    RAND experts discuss possible topics of conversation and potential takeaways from the upcoming summit between the United States and Russia. The summit will be a chance to rebuild and review the countries' fraught relationship.

    Jun 10, 2021

  • Indonesia's President Joko Widodo speaks to China's President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit, in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019, photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    Indonesia Is Quietly Warming Up to China

    Improving China-Indonesia relations could have profound geostrategic significance for the United States. Washington may want to focus on assistance that would benefit Indonesia itself, not just the United States in its competition with China.

    Jun 7, 2021

  • President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in attend the Medal of Honor Ceremony for Ret. U.S. Army Col. Ralph Puckett, Jr. at the White House in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2021, photo by Carlos Fyfe/Official White House photo

    Commentary

    Takeaways from the Biden-Moon Summit: Three Observations on China

    North Korea was not the only elephant in the room during the recent U.S.–South Korea summit. In the broader context of U.S. foreign policy priorities and South Korea's geopolitical concerns, China was probably the larger presence.

    Jun 7, 2021

  • President Joe Biden participates in a restricted bilateral meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2021, photo by Adam Schultz/Official White House Photo

    Commentary

    The Biden-Moon Meetings: Much Ado About Something?

    The May summit meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in elicited a wide range of opinion about its value. With diplomacy-first progressives in power simultaneously in both nations for the first time in two decades, even subtle gains may be significant.

    Jun 4, 2021

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Joe Biden hold a joint news conference at the White House, in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2021, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    U.S.-ROK Summit: Assessing Moon's Vaccine and Peace Promises

    U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held their first in-person summit in Washington in May. But beyond the formalities, how fruitful was this first sit-down, face-to-face, no-mask meeting for Moon?

    Jun 3, 2021

  • A Chinese meteorological department worker burns catalyst for cloud seeding and snowmaking to end drought in Beijing, China, February 17, 2009, photo by Oriental Image via Reuters

    Report

    What Are the Geopolitical Risks of Geoengineering?

    Geoengineering is the intentional manipulation of an environmental process on Earth to counteract the effects of climate change. Geoengineering implementation could introduce geopolitical risks. This raises the question of whether existing international governance mechanisms can manage these risks.

    May 25, 2021

  • An Indian Air Force Dassault Rafale fighter

    Report

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

    This report examines the potential benefits of, and potential impediments to, partnering more closely with India in long-term strategic competition with China.

    May 24, 2021

  • Blog

    Vaccine Hesitancy, Working from Home, Arctic Diplomacy: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on vaccine hesitancy as a symptom of ‘Truth Decay,’ how to make remote work beneficial for all, U.S. Arctic diplomacy, and more.

    May 21, 2021

  • India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends a meeting at the United Nations in New York City, New York, September 24, 2019, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    India's Brittle Confidence in America

    Democracies are supposed to get along. But that has not always been the case for the United States and India. From New Delhi's perspective, there are significant irritants in U.S.-India ties. Any of these could derail an otherwise positive relationship.

    May 21, 2021

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a videoconference meeting with members of the Lomonosov Moscow State University Board of Trustees at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, December 24, 2020, photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Reuters

    Commentary

    Sanctions Targeting Russia's Defense Sector: Will They Influence Its Behavior?

    In response to recent Russian cyber espionage, interference in U.S. elections, and the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, President Biden announced a new round of sanctions and expulsions of Russian officials. But will these sanctions hurt Russia's defense industry enough to curb the Kremlin's behavior?

    May 20, 2021

  • USS Connecticut submarine crew members after surfacing in the Arctic Circle during Ice Exercise, a biennial submarine exercise that promotes interoperability between allies and partners in Alaska, March 7, 2020, photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael B. Zingaro/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Blinken's Arctic Opportunities

    Continued positive U.S. engagement in the Arctic Council could be important for balancing the influence of Russia and China, and in moving toward the Biden administration's climate change goals. Washington's new priority on climate change could be an issue that will now bind, rather than divide, Arctic states.

    May 19, 2021

  • Then vice president Joseph Biden shakes hands with Russian prime minister Vladmir Putin in 2011

    Journal Article

    Expanding the Scope for Statecraft in U.S. Russia Policy

    In the run-up to a summit between the United States and Russia, is it time to revisit core assumptions, and expand the scope for statecraft in U.S. Russia policy?

    May 18, 2021

  • A recruit from the presidential regiment waits for a ceremony to take the oath at a military base in Kiev, Ukraine, November 16, 2013, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    How America Can Help Re-Shape the Post-Soviet Countries

    For the post-Soviet states, development could bring better living standards and social conditions and promote more stable politics and inclusive governance. The West would make the most difference by focusing on mid-ranked states, especially those undertaking reforms.

    May 17, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Deciphering PLA Media Commentaries on North Korea: All Show or Real Talk?

    Does Chinese military commentary represent accurate and authoritative views on policy toward North Korea? Are there certain military officials or publications that we should watch closely?

    May 14, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    China Dictates Terms for Sino-Japanese Relations During First Japanese Foreign Minister Visit in Four Years

    Chinese commentary on Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio's official visit to Beijing in mid-2016 highlighted the sensitivity and difficulty of mending the relationship between Asia's two most powerful countries.

    May 14, 2021

  • Blog

    Pandemic Education, Working Mothers, Predicting Cyber Threats: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the urban-rural divide in pandemic education, supporting working moms, what makes a good COVID-19 reopening plan, and more.

    May 14, 2021