International Diplomacy


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.

  • Q&A

    What Went Wrong in Yemen: Q&A with Alexandra Stark

    Peace talks in Yemen have stalled and the Houthis, who control much of the country, are now attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea in a show of support for Gaza. How did things go so wrong? And how might the United States play a more effective role throughout the region?

    May 8, 2024

  • Commentary

    Japan's Remarkable Call for American Leadership

    In early April, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida appeared before the U.S. Congress and told the United States to act like a global power. But Kishida's speech contained no censure or accusations. Just a plea from one of America's closest allies to come back and be the champion of the international order that it knows America can be.

    Apr 22, 2024

Explore International Diplomacy

  • A collage showing a Soviet nuclear ballistic missile in Red Square, Moscow; a Soviet ship using a water cannon against a Chinese fisherman on the Ussuri River, May 6, 1969; and a U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat aircraft launching from the flight deck of the USS Independence, March 10, 1996, photos by CIA, China Photo Service/Dutch National Archives, and U.S. Navy


    Managing Escalation Between Nuclear-Armed Powers

    The return of great-power competition and the war in Ukraine have highlighted the stark risks of conflict with nuclear-armed rivals. What lessons can be learned from historical cases that could help identify adversary thresholds and manage escalation during a potential crisis?

    Feb 22, 2024

  • Digital image of a lock in a circle with one straight line on the left and many curved lines on the right, photo by MF3d/Getty Images


    Cooperation Could Be Critical to U.S. AI Success

    Cooperation between allies could be especially important to the development of artificial intelligence (AI). But co-developing AI applications with other nations faces many challenges as rapid advancements in the technology outpace policies and procedures designed during the industrial age.

    Feb 20, 2024

  • Commentary


    The Era of Coast Guards: Combating Gray Zone Tactics Through an Indo-Pacific Combined Maritime Force of Law Enforcement Partners

    This paper describes how a combined maritime force of international coast guards and maritime law enforcement agencies under U.S. Coast Guard leadership might institute a shared vision focused on enforcing maritime law and international norms.

    Feb 20, 2024

  • Multimedia

    RAND Experts Discuss the Second Anniversary of Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

    In this Call with the Experts podcast, RAND experts discuss the state of the conflict in Ukraine and its prospects, the war's global implications, possible outcomes and solutions, and what the West and the rest of the world might be doing now and once hostilities end.

    Feb 16, 2024

  • Presidential candidate Alexander Stubb attends his election reception in Helsinki, Finland, February 11, 2024, photo by Lehtikuva/Emmi Korhonen via Reuters


    How Finland Approaches Its New NATO Role Is a Key Decision for the New President

    Finland's presidential election is complete, and Alexander Stubb is the winner. As the president holds executive power to set foreign and security policy, as well as commanding the military, NATO countries are watching closely to see which course their newfound ally will chart.

    Feb 14, 2024

  • Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, D.C., May 1, 2023, photo by Leah Millis/Reuters


    The Good and the Bad for Biden in Southeast Asia

    Since entering office in 2021, one of the Biden administration's foreign-policy priorities has been a more effective Indo-Pacific strategy to compete with China, especially in Southeast Asia. Three years on, the administration's policy has bright spots, but still lacks a clear strategy for the region.

    Feb 8, 2024

  • Soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during a United Nations peacekeeping mission

    Journal Article

    The Future of Multilateral Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention

    The multilateral system, defined as the set of rules, norms, and institutions that together constitute the world's governance architecture, is not static. Several drivers of change threaten to erode hard-earned gains the system has delivered.

    Feb 5, 2024

  • New Zealand's Prime Minister Chris Luxon at a bilateral meeting at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices in Sydney, Australia, December 20, 2023, photo by Mick Tsikas/Reuters


    New Zealand's New PM Isn't Going Back to Old Ways on China

    Much is still unknown about the details of the new New Zealand government's foreign and security policy approach, and much remains subject to change. The early indications, however, point to a New Zealand planning to deepen alignment with like-minded partners, not just to address China, but probably in regard to other challenges as well.

    Jan 17, 2024

  • Newly recruited Houthi fighters participate in a ceremony at the end of their training in Sanaa, Yemen, January 11, 2024, photo by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters


    What's Behind the Surge in Attacks by Yemen's Houthis

    What can Washington do now to avoid repeating its past mistakes in Yemen and deal with the threat posed by the Houthis?

    Jan 11, 2024

  • Abdullah Bin Sharaf Alghamdi, President of Saudi Data and Al Authority, speaks during the Global Al Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 21, 2020, photo by Ahmed Yosri/Reuters


    From Soccer to AI, Saudi Arabia Spends to Win

    The Saudis have set their sights on becoming leaders at the cutting edge of technology development in everything from biotechnology to semiconductors and artificial intelligence. And they appear to be prepared to pay top dollar to do it. This complicates U.S. critical technology strategy.

    Dec 29, 2023

  • Flags of Ukraine and Europe blow in the wind Kyiv, Ukraine, February 24, 2023, photo by Kay Nietfeld//dpa/Reuters


    Elements of an Eventual Russia-Ukraine Armistice and the Prospect for Regional Stability in Europe

    There is no going back to normal relations with Russia after its wanton violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity. But it is still possible to conceive of managing the competition with Russia and working out regional arrangements that will reduce the possibility of future conflicts and contribute to regional and global stability.

    Dec 21, 2023

  • U.S. Marines conduct multilateral training alongside the Netherlands Royal Marines, German Sea Battalion, and Belgian Paratroopers in Norway, February 21, 2019, photo courtesy of 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company/U.S. Marine Corps


    The U.S. Military Needs to Build Arctic Capabilities and Capacity

    By making substantial investments in Arctic platforms, equipment, infrastructure, and training, U.S. military forces will be better able to shape the Arctic security environment, helping to deter potential threats and protect U.S. interests in a region that is tightly linked to overall U.S. interests.

    Dec 21, 2023

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum during a two day state visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, December 13, 2023, photo by Thinh Nguyen/Reuters


    Vietnam's Show of Welcome for Xi Reflects Growing Self-Confidence

    Chinese leader Xi Jinping's recent visit to Vietnam aimed to reinvigorate bilateral ties, but produced mixed outcomes. Hanoi and Beijing signed a number of substantive bilateral deals, but Vietnam is also strengthening partnerships with other strategically significant nations, complicating any future Chinese aggression.

    Dec 20, 2023

  • Then–Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga attends a the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) at the Prime Minister's Office in Tokyo, Japan, July 2, 2021, photo by Masanori Genko/The Yomiuri Shimbun via Reuters Connect


    PALM10: Japan's Chance to Engage with Pacific Island Countries

    Next year, Japan will host the 10th triennial Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM10), the “cornerstone” of Japan's diplomacy toward the Pacific Island countries. As China attempts to increase its influence in the region, Japan must marshal a strategic response that connects these states to its broader objectives in the Indo-Pacific.

    Dec 19, 2023

  • Photos by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters, Carlos Barria/Reuters, Florence Lo/Reuters, skynesher/Getty Images, Ronen Zvulun/Reuters, Lucy Nicholson/Reuters, Geber86/Getty Images, image by Haley Okuley/RAND


    Looking Back on the Big Policy Stories of 2023

    As 2023 draws to a close, RAND president and CEO Jason Matheny highlights areas where RAND is tackling the most urgent and complex problems we face. Each is a small reminder that where there are thoughtful people working tirelessly to find solutions, there is hope.

    Dec 14, 2023

  • A Minnesota Air National Guard C-130 taxies for take off in the snow


    Insights from the Plan Blue 21 Game: Examining the Role of Sensing and Partner and Allied Contributions to Competition with Russia in the Arctic

    This report describes the 2021 U.S. Air Force–sponsored Plan Blue game, which examined competition against Russia in the Arctic with a focus on the role of sensing in competition and featured robust participation from regional partners and allies.

    Dec 14, 2023

  • Newly recruited fighters who joined a Houthi military force intended to be sent to the Gaza Strip march during a parade in Sanaa, Yemen, December 2, 2023, photo by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters


    A Precarious Moment for Yemen's Truce

    The truce in Yemen is imperfect, but it is the only barrier currently preventing the country from sliding back into widespread war. A comprehensive negotiation process is the most viable option for peace in Yemen in the near term, and the only barrier to the humanitarian devastation that a full-scale resumption of the war in Yemen would surely bring.

    Dec 13, 2023

  • Unloading a truck at White Beach, Japan


    Assessing the Value of Overseas Military Campaigning in Strategic Competition

    The authors examine trade-offs between the contributions of campaigning instruments to U.S. strategic goals and their costs. They provide the foundations of a decision-support tool to inform U.S. Department of Defense campaign planning.

    Dec 13, 2023

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Evolution of the Post-Quantum Cyber Environment

    This article examines the impacts quantum computing and international competition on technical standards will have on the security and safety of the future international cyber environment.

    Dec 11, 2023

  • Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese, U.S. president Joe Biden, Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida, and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi at the Quad Leaders' Meeting in Tokyo, Japan, May 24, 2022, photo courtesy of the Official Website of the Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet


    America's Indo-Pacific Alliances Are Astonishingly Strong

    As 2023 draws to a close, U.S. alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific are just about the deepest and most robust they have been in all their history. The United States will likely continue to bolster and expand its network to complicate and deter future actions that China and North Korea might take to threaten, undermine, or otherwise undo the Indo-Pacific order.

    Dec 8, 2023