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.

  • Commentary

    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

  • Report

    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

Explore International Diplomacy

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Nuclear Deterrence, Russia and Iran, Deepfakes: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how much is “enough” for U.S. nuclear forces, the budding Russia-Iran partnership, the challenge of detecting deepfakes, and more.

    Oct 6, 2023

  • Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu meets with Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani in Tehran, Iran, September 20, 2023, photo by West Asia News Agency via Reuters


    The Drivers of and Outlook for Russian-Iranian Cooperation

    Russia and Iran's recent cooperation regarding Ukraine has raised concerns that the once wary partners might be moving toward a more comprehensive, strategic alliance. Such a prospect could have significant consequences for the United States' ability to safeguard its interests in the Middle East.

    Oct 4, 2023

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Russian servicemen involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, in Moscow, Russia, September 29, 2023, photo by Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters


    Rightsizing the Russia Threat

    A proper understanding of the threat Russia poses must begin with an accurate appraisal of Russian power. Putin might harbor fantasies of world conquest. But his military cannot even fully conquer any of the four Ukrainian provinces he claims to have annexed last year. Ultimately, those are the constraints that should bound the debate about the extent of the threat.

    Oct 3, 2023

  • An aerial view of the storage tanks for treated water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, August 22, 2023, photo by Kyodo/Reuters


    Japan Risks Reputation in Oceania with Fukushima Discharge

    Japan's decision in August to begin discharging treated radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean from its destroyed Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is fairly unpopular in Oceania, potentially damaging Tokyo's reputation in this increasingly strategic region.

    Sep 28, 2023

  • People walk in front of a monitor showing news of North Korea's fresh threat in Tokyo, Japan, August 10, 2017


    North Korea and China Aren't the Allies You Think They Are

    China and North Korea have a history of friction, despite being seen as allies. As Russia, China, and North Korea move toward a closer trilateral partnership, the United States and its allies need to recognize that there are seams in the relationships that can be used to undermine it.

    Sep 27, 2023

  • A Russian military convoy travel on a main road leads to the River Enguri, about 3 km from the western Georgian city of Zugdidi, August 19, 2008.


    Anticipating Flashpoints with Russia: Patterns and Drivers

    The authors combined quantitative and qualitative modes of analysis to better understand and anticipate flashpoints with Russia.

    Sep 25, 2023

  • A civilian residential building in Kyiv, Ukraine, burns and smokes heavily after being bombed by Russian missiles, March 2022, photo by A_Gree/Alamy Stock Photo

    Research Brief

    Understanding the Risk of Escalation in the War in Ukraine

    What might lead to escalation of the war in Ukraine? And how can U.S. and allied policymakers both prepare for—and prevent—such a scenario from occurring?

    Sep 21, 2023

  • Report

    Escalation in the War in Ukraine: Lessons Learned and Risks for the Future

    This report evaluates the potential for further escalation in the war in Ukraine, including possible escalation to Russian nuclear use, to better inform U.S. and allied decisions and the public debate.

    Sep 21, 2023

  • News Release

    News Release

    RAND Analysis Outlines Possible Further Escalation in Ukraine Conflict, Including Potential for Russian Nuclear Attack

    A new RAND Corporation analysis evaluates the potential for further escalation of Putin's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, including the grave prospect of a Russian nuclear attack on Ukraine. A perception that Russian military losses on the battlefield are threatening the security of Putin's regime would provide the most likely trigger for a nuclear attack on Ukrainian territory.

    Sep 21, 2023

  • A woman walks near a destroyed hotel in Chernihiv, northern Ukraine, on April 14, 2022, following Russian attacks, photo by Kyodo via Reuters


    Looking Beyond the War: Planning for Ukraine's Reconstruction

    More certain than the outcome of the war is the need for an extensive post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. It is likely to be the largest post-war rebuilding effort since the one in Europe after World War Two. The United States and its allies and partners have an intense interest in the success of reconstruction.

    Sep 18, 2023

  • U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Vietnam's President Vo Van Thuong at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam, September 11, 2023, photo by Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters


    With ASEAN Paralyzed, Southeast Asia Seeks New Security Ties

    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations tirelessly proclaims its centrality to the region, but its inability to develop a coherent response to Chinese aggression or the crisis in Myanmar has effectively killed that claim. ASEAN members will inevitably continue to seek out alternative paths.

    Sep 18, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Teacher Pay, the Costs of Insomnia, Wildfire Prevention: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on teachers' dissatisfaction with their pay and work hours, the staggering costs of insomnia, connections between wildfires and food insecurity., and more.

    Sep 15, 2023

  • U.S. President Joe Biden holds a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) during the trilateral summit at Camp David near Thurmont, Maryland, August 18, 2023, photo by Jim Bourg/Reuters


    Separate U.S. Alliances in East Asia Are Obsolete

    Washington manages its alliances with Tokyo and Seoul separately. But growing South Korean and Japanese military capabilities make a conversation about more integration unavoidable.

    Sep 14, 2023

  • diplomacyU.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Central Asian states' foreign ministers in Astana, Kazakhstan, February 28, 2023, photo by Olivier Douliery/Pool/Reuters


    A Case for Greater U.S. Engagement in Central Asia

    Central Asia's souring relations with Russia and growing skepticism of Chinese influence have created a rare and valuable window of opportunity for the United States to bolster its image through greater long-term investment in the region.

    Sep 11, 2023

  • A USCG helicopter hovers above Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter Donald Horsley


    Priorities for the Safety and Security of the Maritime Environment

    With 95,000 miles of shoreline, the United States is a maritime nation. This Perspective summarizes key existing and emerging maritime safety and security topics for policymakers, and highlights considerations for technological modernization and strategic partnerships.

    Sep 6, 2023

  • Report


    Proposals to Address Political Interference: Outcomes of a Trilateral Dialogue

    These proceedings reflect discussions among U.S., Russian, and European Union nongovernmental experts who were convened in 2020–2021 to discuss mutual concerns regarding political interference and to find common ground on measures to address them.

    Sep 5, 2023

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the New START Treaty at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, April 8, 2010, photo by Jason Reed/Reuters


    Hard Times for U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Control

    New START is slated to expire in February 2026 and cannot be extended. The next chapter in U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control, if there is to be one, may not be written until rulers in Moscow ease repression at home, pull troops out of Ukraine, and recognize the mutual benefits of reducing, rather than stoking, nuclear tensions.

    Aug 28, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    The War in Ukraine, Income Share Agreements, the Tech 'Cold War': RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on why Ukraine isn’t like World War I, an alternative to student loans, the tech “Cold War

    Aug 25, 2023

  • A U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat on a waterway in a coastal area.


    The Safety and Security of the U.S. Maritime Environment

    The safety and security of the United States is directly tied to the safety and security of its maritime environment. This video explores opportunities and threats in this space, which are constantly evolving because of changes in economics, geopolitics, society, demography, and other factors.

    Aug 24, 2023

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India (r) meets Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, June 1, 2023, photo by ANI/Reuters


    India Is Pushing Back Against China in South Asia

    The jostling between India and China for influence in South Asia will likely prove crucial to the fate of U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy. The good news, at least for now, is that New Delhi has been mostly successful in pushing back against Beijing's rising influence across the region.

    Aug 21, 2023