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.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits Kherson, Ukraine, November 14, 2022, photo by Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters

    Commentary

    What's the Harm in Talking to Russia? A Lot, Actually

    Despite the way it is commonly portrayed, diplomacy is not intrinsically and always good, nor is it cost-free. In the Ukraine conflict, the problems with a push for diplomacy are especially apparent. The likely benefits of negotiations are minimal, and the prospective costs could be significant.

    Nov 22, 2022

  • U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink and Ukraine's Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova visit Borodianka, in the Kyiv Region, Ukraine, June 4, 2022, photo by Edgar Su/Reuters

    Commentary

    Do Americans Know Who Their Diplomats Are? Or What They Do?

    Americans have a limited understanding of how diplomats are selected and how diplomacy interacts with other elements of the U.S. national security establishment. Efforts to better inform and engage the American public about the work of diplomacy and who American diplomats are would lead to a greater understanding of the job and its people.

    Jun 20, 2022

Explore International Diplomacy

  • Bongbong Marcos during a campaign rally in Manila, Philippines, May 7, 2022, photo by Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    New Philippine President Marcos Jr. Likely Won't Repeat Duterte's Foreign Policy Mistakes

    The May 2022 election of Bongbong Marcos as the next president of the Philippines will hold significant implications for Manila's foreign policy. He is likely to be influenced by the policies of both his father, former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, yielding a new government interested in engaging China while keeping the United States close by.

    May 10, 2022

  • Illustration of astronauts on a space colony unloading boxes from a spaceship, photo by CSA-Printstock/Getty Images

    Commentary

    An Alternative Way to Think About Space Regulation

    There are currently no international binding rules that would address growing threats in space. Without more-defined and enforceable rules of war regarding space and space assets, the danger of a destructive conflict in space grows significantly.

    May 9, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on arming Ukraine, after touring a Lockheed Martin weapons factory in Troy, Alabama, May 3, 2022, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Escalation Fixation

    Fears of global nuclear annihilation should have produced a concerted effort by all sides to keep the Ukraine conflict limited. But the focus on escalation—rather than ensuring Russia's defeat—has instead made the international security picture more precarious.

    May 6, 2022

  • The United Nations Security Council during a meeting on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City, New York, May 5, 2022, photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

    Commentary

    How to Save the Postwar Order

    For the last decade or so, debate has raged among scholars and policymakers about the significance of the post–World War II, rules-based international order. Is it a feeble myth, or is it a powerful influence on state behavior? Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the global response to it has put these competing claims into sharp relief.

    May 6, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    A Peacekeeping Operation in Ukraine, Synthetic Opioids, Geoengineering: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on why it may be time to consider a peacekeeping operation in northern Ukraine, supporting veterans with traumatic brain injury, a new response to synthetic opioids, and more.

    Apr 29, 2022

  • Illustration of two hands playing chess, one with a U.S. flag sleeve and the other with a China flag sleeve, photo by siraanamwong/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'Isolating the Enemy' by Tao Wang

    In his book, Isolating the Enemy: Diplomatic Strategy in China and the United States, 1953–1956, Dr. Tao Wang reviews key moments in the diplomatic strategies of China and the United States between 1953 and 1956. Although the book illuminates fascinating aspects of the period's diplomatic history, it unfortunately does not offer much insight into the reasons for the relative success of these contrasting strategies.

    Apr 27, 2022

  • A still frame from a short film created by artist-in-residence V+J. The video summarizes RAND’s 2021 paper on geoengineering as a tool to address global warming.

    Project

    The Risks of Geoengineering

    Geoengineering—the intentional manipulation of the climate—could help curb global warming, but it could also have world-altering consequences. In a new animated video, RAND artists-in-residence Juan Delcan and Valentina Izaguirre take a lighthearted look at this serious issue.

    Apr 27, 2022

  • Ukrainian national flags fly over graves of fallen soldiers at a cemetery in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 24, 2022, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Geostrategic Consequences of Russia's War Against Ukraine

    After two months of fighting in Ukraine, some longer-term geostrategic consequences are coming into focus. Russia may emerge as a massive loser. Perhaps not since the collapse of the USSR has European security been so challenged. But Ukraine and its Western partners are showing that aggression in Europe may not pay.

    Apr 26, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Responding to Russian Cyberattacks, Rebuilding Ukraine, Climate Change: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how the U.S. could respond to Russian cyberattacks, what it will take to rebuild Ukraine after the war, why U.S. employers still have the power over workers, and more.

    Apr 22, 2022

  • Multimedia

    Current Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Policy in the Middle East

    The RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy (CMEPP) hosted a roundtable conversation featuring former U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Ambassador (ret.) Ryan Crocker, Former Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman, Esq., and CMEPP Director Linda Robinson. These panelists explored the challenges and opportunities for U.S. policy in the Middle East 20 years after 9/11.

    Apr 22, 2022

  • Photorealistic 3d illustration of a satellite orbiting the Earth, photo by imaginima/Getty Images

    Commentary

    U.S. Decision on ASAT Testing a Positive Step Towards Space Sustainability

    The United States recently committed not to conduct destructive, direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing. This sets an important example others might follow and takes an important first step towards a binding, international ban.

    Apr 21, 2022

  • Building cranes and power lines connecting high-tension electricity pylons next to a construction site in Kyiv, Ukraine, July 10, 2020, photo by Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

    Commentary

    Rebuilding Ukraine

    By leveraging better investment conditions and reforms and broad international support, Ukraine could carry out a well-executed reconstruction program once the fighting ends. It might repair much of the war damage and help Ukraine move into the ranks of faster-growing European economies.

    Apr 18, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Russian Mercenaries, Online Extremism, the Commercial Space Market: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Russia's use of mercenaries, understanding how extremist movements operate online, trends in the commercial space market, and more.

    Apr 15, 2022

  • Aerial view of Los Angeles City Hall at sunset in Los Angeles, California, photo by simonkr/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Supporting the People of Ukraine Through Sister Cities

    The Los Angeles City Council recently voted to adopt the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv as a Los Angeles sister city, which could speed the flow of goods and services to the war-torn Ukrainian capital.

    Apr 14, 2022

  • A Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system drives during a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, May 7, 2021, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'Escalation and Deescalation of Crises, Armed Conflicts, and Wars'

    The evolving crisis in Ukraine has generated much discussion about whether Moscow would escalate the conflict, whether in frustration at the slow progress of its military operations, or in response to actions of other states, even possibly resorting to nuclear weapons. But what do Russian sources suggest about escalation?

    Apr 11, 2022

  • People walk in Red Square on a sunny day in Moscow, Russia, March 30, 2022, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia and Ukraine: The Economic Consequences of Peace

    Amid some hopeful signs in Russian-Ukrainian ceasefire talks, it may be useful to keep in mind that the West could gain substantial economic leverage to influence outcomes during and after Russia's war against Ukraine. How it uses this leverage could have far-reaching consequences.

    Apr 8, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Employing Insurgency in Ukraine, U.S. Hospital Prices, Reaching the Middle Class: RAND Weekly Recap

    This week, we discuss the potential value of an insurgent campaign in Ukraine; addressing L.A.’s housing crisis; lessons from the 2017 battle for Raqqa; a look at U.S. hospital prices; Americans’ options for reaching the middle class; and how to help single mothers get out of poverty.

    Apr 8, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, February 24, 2022, photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Most of the Indo-Pacific Tiptoes Around Russia

    Since the start of Russia's increasingly brutal war in Ukraine, the West has ramped up pressure on the rest of the world to condemn Moscow's belligerence and join sanctions against Russia and its regime. In the vast Indo-Pacific region, however, the West's message has fallen flat.

    Apr 7, 2022

  • Fourth and fifth generation aircraft from eight countries participated in a partnership flight to kick-off Blue Flag 21, over Uvda Air Base, Israel, on Oct. 17, 2021. This biennial training event is essential to building and maintaining defensive interoperability and ensuring Israel’s and other nations’ qualitative edge. Large-force exercises, like Israel-led Blue Flag, allow partner nations to build trust and develop a common understanding of the security environment, photo by Israeli Air Force

    Report

    Security Cooperation in a Strategic Competition

    Neither China nor Russia has a formal doctrine or strategy for security cooperation. How can the United States enhance its security cooperation policies and activities to its competitive advantage?

    Apr 6, 2022

  • The U.N. Security Council meeting room at the United Nations in New York City, March 11, 2022, photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is There a Future for Multilateralism?

    The rise in the use of informal arrangements and the proliferation in the use of regional arrangements have weakened multilateral institutions. Multilateralism's failure, if it happens, could raise significant challenges on how to address global public issues.

    Apr 4, 2022