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

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the Prime Minister's office in Tokyo, Japan, March 16, 2021, photo by Eugene Hoshiko/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Japan-U.S. Summit and Cooperation with South Korea

    The Biden administration's goal of renewed Japan–South Korea–U.S. trilateralism is laudable and promising, but substantial obstacles remain. The passage of time alone is not going to strengthen ties between South Korea and Japan. Washington may have to play a leading role if it wants to see relations between Seoul and Tokyo improve.

    Apr 6, 2021

  • The modern creative communication and internet network connect in smart city, photo by Blue Planet Studio/AdobeStock

    Multimedia

    U.S.-Japan Alliance Conference: Advancing Cooperation on Defense and Strategic Technology

    In its ongoing U.S.-Japan Alliance conference series, RAND hosted two virtual events in February 2021 to tackle important topics facing the United States and Japan.

    Mar 31, 2021

  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (R) and Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne (L) participate in the inaugural Quad leaders meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in a virtual meeting in Sydney, Australia, March 13, 2021, photo by Dean Lewins/Reuters

    Commentary

    What to Expect When You're Expecting So Much from the Quad

    In March, the leaders of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia met virtually for their first Quadrilateral Security Dialogue group meeting. What are the goals of the Quad? What tangibly can or will the Quad do and what does it look like in practice?

    Mar 31, 2021

  • Multimedia

    Multimedia

    Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East Panel Discussion

    The start of a new U.S. administration offers an opportunity to rethink some of the fundamental premises underlying American policymaking in the Middle East.

    Mar 29, 2021

  • People walk at a street market in Sanaa, Yemen, February 5, 2021, photo by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

    Commentary

    Congressional Options to Advance Peace in Yemen

    An enduring peace in Yemen will require addressing Yemen's most immediate needs while working to develop its economic, political, and security institutions. U.S. lawmakers have the tools to help shape this effort and could help end the conflict and bring stability to Yemen.

    Mar 29, 2021

  • L-R: Bahrain Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the Abraham Accords signing ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C., September 15, 2020, photo by Gripas Yuri/ABACA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Abraham Accords Offer Historic Opportunity to Spur Mideast Growth

    The Abraham Accords have heralded a dramatic shift in the relationship between Israel and the Muslim nations of the world. While these accords represent a major political breakthrough, they also represent a possible new chapter in the region's development: away from conflict and toward a shared economic vision of prosperity.

    Mar 25, 2021

  • Blog

    Game Theory to Help the Vaccine Rollout, Abraham Accords, Telehealth: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how game theory can help the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, potential economic benefits of the Abraham Accords, telemedicine use during the pandemic, and more.

    Mar 19, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a nationally televised address to the nation in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., March 11, 2021, photo by Chris Kleponis /Pool via CNP/Reuters

    Commentary

    Reevaluating U.S. Partnerships in the Middle East Under the Biden Administration

    U.S. partnerships in the Middle East are in particular need of modernization, and the Biden administration could seize the opportunity to reevaluate its relations with traditional partners. A good start could be to elevate regional stability as the United States' primary interest in the Middle East and to pursue this aim with tools that extend beyond military cooperation.

    Mar 17, 2021

  • Delegates attend talks between Afghan government and Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar, September 12, 2020, photo by Ibraheem al Omari/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Biden Administration's Afghanistan Challenge

    American efforts to speed up plodding Afghan peace talks seem unlikely to produce results fast enough to facilitate a withdrawal of remaining American and NATO forces by May 1. But the initiative could prove beneficial if it impels the two Afghan sides to at least begin engaging on the principles upon which an expanded government should operate.

    Mar 16, 2021

  • Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, observes ship formation from the USS Nimitz in the South China Sea, February 9, 2021, photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Vietnam Must Be Pleased with the Biden Administration—for the Most Part

    After four years of steadily strengthening U.S.-Vietnam security relations under the Trump administration, the presidential transition to Joe Biden naturally carries some measure of uncertainty for Hanoi. Early signs from the Biden administration, however, are extremely positive for Vietnam.

    Mar 16, 2021

  • The guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett (DDG 104) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) transit the South China Sea, February 9, 2021, photo by MC3 Cheyenne Geletka/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Biden's China Reset Is Already on the Ropes

    The prospects of a U.S.-China reset are rapidly fading, and both sides bear some measure of responsibility. Beijing has refused to change its own assertive behavior. And all signs thus far point to a Biden administration that plans to take an exceptionally hard line against China.

    Mar 15, 2021

  • Illustration of hand holding U.S. flag superimposed on a head, photo by Scar1984/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'Liberalism, the Blob, and American Foreign Policy: Evidence and Methodology' by Robert Jervis

    Robert Jervis' “Liberalism, the Blob, and American Foreign Policy: Evidence and Methodology” is a thoughtful review of two books written by prominent international relations theorists John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. Jervis focuses his critique primarily on methodology and argues that the actual historical record is more complicated than either Mearsheimer or Walt suggests.

    Mar 12, 2021

  • U.S. Marines check a barrel for contamination during a training exercise at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, California, April 30, 2013, photo by Sgt. Keonaona C. Paulo/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Could the Bioweapons Treaty Be Another Tool for Addressing Pandemics?

    What might governments do to reduce the risk of future large-scale biological attacks or naturally occurring pandemics? Perhaps now is the right time to revisit the 46-year-old Biological Weapons Convention treaty and make it a better tool against future biological threats.

    Mar 12, 2021

  • A pro-government tribal fighter stands at his position in Marib, Yemen, October 2, 2020, photo by Ali Owidha/Reuters

    Commentary

    Pathways to Peace in Yemen: National Reconciliation or a 'Phased' Approach?

    Any pathway to an enduring peace in Yemen could take decades to recover from the economic, political, and social costs of this civil war. A phased approach could require patience from the Yemeni people and a robust and enduring commitment from the international community. But war has brought Yemen to this point, and there are few remaining options.

    Mar 5, 2021

  • Blog

    Vaccine Hesitancy, Sexual Misconduct in the U.S. Military, the Iran Nuclear Deal: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Black Americans’ vaccine hesitancy, sexual harassment and sexual assault in the U.S. military, rejoining the Iran nuclear deal, and more.

    Mar 5, 2021

  • A U.S. Air Force 34th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-35 Lighting II conducts an inflight refueling in the skies above the United Arab Emirates, May 8, 2020, photo by Tech. Sgt. Kat Justen/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    What the UAE Weapons Deal Says About the United States and Its Alliances

    Various U.S. administrations have long wanted U.S. allies to do more, but in many parts of the world the most logical partners are authoritarian states with different interests than those of the United States. The sale of military equipment to the United Arab Emirates provides just the latest example.

    Mar 1, 2021

  • Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, June 25, 2020, photo by Mark Makela/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Biden Can't Turn Back the Clock on the Iran Nuclear Deal

    Enacted in 2016, the Iran nuclear deal was predicated on a geopolitical context that no longer exists. Addressing Iran's nuclear program today may require a different solution.

    Mar 1, 2021

  • Blog

    Teachers Quit Due to Stress, Peace in Yemen, America's Middle Class: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how stress leads teachers to quit their jobs, U.S. strategy in the Middle East, America's shrinking middle class, and more.

    Feb 26, 2021

  • Japan's Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi attend a video conference with Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Defence Minister Ben Wallace (on the screen) at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, Japan, February 3, 2021, hoto by Franck Robichon/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Strong Japan-U.K. Alliance Needed to Counter China

    With Brexit behind it, Britain faces a question about what role it should play in the world. Assuming it wants to remain a power that can shape—but not dominate—international relations, it makes sense to partner with like-minded states, such as Japan.

    Feb 24, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Traditional U.S. Approaches to Middle East Not Working: Reimagined Strategy Would Lean Less on Massive Arms Sales, More ...

    U.S. policies in the Middle East are built on outdated “legacy” aid packages, massive arms sales, and a disproportionate focus on the Iranian threat that fail to advance American interests—or help the region's people—and need to be rethought.

    Feb 23, 2021