International Diplomacy

Featured

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.

  • U.S. and North Korean diplomacy depicted by pencils and people running off cliffs to meet in the middle, photo by wildpixel/Getty Images

    Report

    Is There a Better Way to Negotiate with North Korea?

    Oct 26, 2020

    The failure of recent efforts by the United States to engage North Korea in denuclearization talks calls for a different approach. A new method that addresses the reasons for past failures and reflects current realities offers promising ways forward.

  • USA flag over NYC skyline, photo by franckreporter/Getty Images

    Blog

    The Lost Generation in American Foreign Policy

    Sep 15, 2020

    Throughout the 55 years following World War II, successive U.S. administrations racked up major foreign policy successes at an average rate of about once a year. Since 2001, the pace of foreign policy achievement has fallen to once every four years. The result has been a lost generation in American foreign policy.

Explore International Diplomacy

  • Passersby walk past a countdown clock showing the adjusted days and time until the start of the postponed Tokyo Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, April 1, 2020, photo by Issei Kato/Reuters

    Commentary

    Jumpstarting the U.S.-Japan-Korea Trilateral Amid COVID-19

    Since roughly 2012, South Korea–Japan ties have frayed. Could the United States encourage trilateral medical cooperation during the pandemic, ensure that the Tokyo Olympic Games are held, and in so doing help heal the relationship between Seoul and Tokyo?

    May 6, 2020

  • A woman walks past a portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Shanghai, China March 12, 2020, photo by Aly Song/Reuters

    Commentary

    Don't Be Fooled by China's Mask Diplomacy

    China has provided coronavirus-related aid to hundreds of countries. This appears to be an effort to make the world forget its role in the COVID-19 crisis—and to take advantage of its neighbors' current distraction.

    May 5, 2020

  • A view shows JDC Hakuryu-5 deep water drilling platform in the South China Sea off the coast of Vung Tau, Vietnam, April 29, 2018, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Commentary

    Reviewing Vietnam's 'Struggle' Options in the South China Sea

    Once again, Chinese assertiveness against Vietnam in the South China Sea is on the rise. Vietnam has publicly protested each Chinese move, but these statements have yet to alter Beijing's bad behavior. Among its many options, Hanoi could look to Washington for further assistance.

    May 4, 2020

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meet in Beijing, China, August 30, 2019, photo by How Hwee Young/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    There's Still Life in the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he would terminate the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Washington and Manila have until August 9 to save it or negotiate a new VFA to avert any further alliance crisis.

    May 4, 2020

  • Representatives of 28 countries tour the Grafenwoehr training facilities and a live-fire demonstration of the XM1296 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle-Dragoon, in Grafenwoehr, Germany, September 2018, photo by Markus Rauchenberger/U.S. Army

    Research Brief

    Reimagining Conventional Arms Control

    For much of the past 30 years, conventional arms control (CAC) has played a historic role in ensuring the security of Europe. But today, the CAC regime is outdated and mostly irrelevant. New approaches to CAC are needed to address the challenges posed by the current security environment.

    Apr 29, 2020

  • The Future of the North Korean Regime

    Multimedia

    The Future of the North Korean Regime

    Soo Kim, policy analyst with the RAND Corporation, discusses the future of the North Korean regime.

    Apr 28, 2020

  • North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un sits in his vehicle after arriving at a railway station in Dong Dang, Vietnam, at the border with China, February 26, 2019, photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korea After Kim Jong Un: 'How' Matters More Than 'Who'

    With rumors swirling that Kim Jong Un has suffered a health crisis, some are already asking who might succeed him as leader of North Korea. But who is not the most important question. What will matter more is what the new regime does to establish its legitimacy and how the United States and its allies respond.

    Apr 28, 2020

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video link, held by leaders from the Group of 20 to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impacts, at his residence outside Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2020, photo by Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik Photo Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    How the Global Community Can Cooperate to Defeat COVID-19 and Recover

    The G20 met in an extraordinary virtual summit March 26 to discuss the shared global challenge of COVID-19. G20 countries could show the way for the rest of the world to cooperate on present challenges and prepare for public policy challenges moving forward.

    Apr 28, 2020

  • The U.S. Army hosted a Russian Vienna Document inspection team to observe exercise Saber Guardian at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, 2017, photo by U.S. Army

    Report

    Conventional Arms Control in Europe Needs a New Approach

    Conventional arms control (CAC) was a crucial element of the negotiations that ended the Cold War peacefully. Today, however, the CAC regime is outdated and largely irrelevant. What new CAC measures could lower the risk of conflict in Europe?

    Apr 27, 2020

  • Kim Jong Un speaks during the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in this undated photo released on December 29, 2019, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why We Really Don't Know What Happens If Kim Jong Un Dies

    The potential changes in the North Korean regime pose more questions than they answer. How prepared are observers and keen watchers from the “outside world” for a North Korean contingency? Should there be a power vacuum in Pyongyang, will U.S. policy toward the DPRK remain largely as-is?

    Apr 27, 2020

  • Report

    U.S.–Japan Alliance Conference: Regional Perspectives on the Quadrilateral Dialogue and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific

    These proceedings capture assessments by regional experts presented at a March 2019 conference on the topic of the "free and open Indo-Pacific" and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue as seen by India, Australia, and Indonesia.

    Apr 13, 2020

  • The General Assembly Hall at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, September 18, 2015. photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why COVID-19 Will Not Stop Globalization

    Commentators have predicted that the outbreak will upend how we think about the flow of people and goods across borders and leave a markedly different world in its wake. But while COVID-19 will change the mechanics of globalization, it will likely not spell globalization's death knell.

    Apr 13, 2020

  • Naval ships from India, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and the United States steam in formation in the Bay of Bengal during Exercise Malabar, September 5, 2007, photo by MCSN Stephen Rowe/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    'Quad Plus' Meetings Won't Cover China

    The “Quad” countries met with several non-Quad countries to help each other amid the coronavirus pandemic. For all the good that can come of these countries working together, the Quad Plus, if sustained, may eventually jeopardize the Quad's primary mission: to counter China's assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.

    Apr 9, 2020

  • A Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, September 5, 2017, photo by Yuri Kochetkov/Reuters

    Commentary

    New START Is Not NAFTA

    The 2010 New START Treaty with Russia reduces long-range nuclear arms. President Trump may seek a different deal, however, as he did in renegotiating NAFTA. But NAFTA talks succeeded because America had predominant leverage and because Canada and Mexico are friends. Neither holds true with Russia.

    Apr 8, 2020

  • Trucks wait to cross the Afghanistan-Iran border in Zaranj, Afghanistan, May 10, 2011, photo by Sgt. Mallory VanderSchans/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Does the U.S. Deal with the Taliban Present Opportunities for Iran in Afghanistan?

    Iran is watching closely as the United States and the Taliban negotiate an end to America's operations in Afghanistan. If the expected withdrawal of significant U.S. forces destabilizes Afghanistan, how much will Tehran assert its influence over its neighbor to the east?

    Apr 6, 2020

  • A Chinese flag flutters on a fishing boat while a China Coast Guard patrols at the disputed Scarborough Shoal April 5, 2017, photo by Erik de Castro/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Short History of China's Fishing Militia and What It May Tell Us

    China's armed fishing militia plays an instrumental role in Beijing's strategy to enforce its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Why did Beijing create a maritime militia to begin with and how has it evolved over time? What does this history suggest about its future?

    Apr 6, 2020

  • A Sabre short-range ballistic missile launches in June 2017 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, for a test of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement, an advanced missile defense system, photo by U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Maximizing Bargaining Leverage with Beijing: Developing Missiles as Bargaining Chips

    Arms negotiations may offer the only way to reduce the grave threat posed to the United States and allied security by China's missiles. U.S. owned and operated missiles could provide the best bargaining chips.

    Apr 3, 2020

  • South Korea and U.S. Special Forces during a joint military exercise in Gangwon province, South Korea, November 7, 2019, photo by Capt. David J. Murphy/U.S. Air Force/Reuters

    Commentary

    U.S.–South Korea OPCON Transition: The Element of Timing

    As Washington and Seoul continue to examine the feasibility and conditions for wartime operational control transition, decisionmakers will likely face political pressure on timing. It may well be to the advantage of both allies that the determination of the transfer be driven by a hard, thorough diagnosis of military capabilities against emerging threats.

    Apr 2, 2020

  • An empty market after a curfew was imposed to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, March 18, 2020

    Commentary

    Economic Consequences of COVID-19 in the Middle East: Implications for U.S. National Security

    The global COVID-19 pandemic will have a dramatic effect on economies across the globe. But the Middle East may be particularly affected, given the simultaneous fall in oil prices. The economic consequences of this pandemic are also likely to affect U.S. interests in the region.

    Apr 1, 2020

  • The U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort passes the Statue of Liberty as it enters New York Harbor during the COVID-19 outbreak, March 30, 2020, photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    Commentary

    After COVID-19: America Needs to Reengage with the World, Not Retreat

    The COVID-19 pandemic should lead to a further strengthening of the national and international response capacity. The alternative of erecting barriers and closing America off to the world would leave it more vulnerable to the next big shock.

    Apr 1, 2020