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

  • India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (L) and Vietnam's Defence Minister General Phan Van Giang (R) shake hands during a ceremonial reception in New Delhi, India, June 19, 2023, photo by Kabir Jhangiani via Reuters Connect


    India Is Becoming a Power in Southeast Asia

    The moment has been long in coming, but India is turning into a strategic actor in Southeast Asia. Even though the United States and its Asian treaty allies are not involved, India's moves raise the tantalizing possibility that it will increasingly complement the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy to counter China in the coming years.

    Jul 10, 2023

  • James Dobbins at Politics Aside 2012


    James Dobbins, Diplomat and Nation-Building Expert, Dies at 81; Directed RAND's International Security and Defense Policy Center

    James Dobbins, a veteran diplomat called “one of the leading practitioners of the art” of nation-building by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, and who directed RAND's International Security and Defense Policy Center for more than a decade, died July 3. He was 81.

    Jul 5, 2023

  • South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol delivers a speech in Seoul, South Korea, June 6, 2023, photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Pool/Reuters


    China's Bullying Proves South Korea's Yoon Is on the Right Track

    An escalating war of words between Beijing and Seoul is raising pressure on South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol to take a softer line with China. Instead, the Yoon administration should see Beijing's threats of punishment as vindication for further strengthening and expanding Seoul's alliance with the United States.

    Jul 5, 2023

  • International Congress, many flags of different countries on flagpoles, photo by Aleksandr Koltyrin/Getty Images


    Big Themes and Geopolitics with Robert B. Zoellick

    Robert B. Zoellick shares two complementary perspectives on risks to global democracy, identifying transnational trends and pointing out geopolitical shifts in Eurasia. His message concludes with implications for the future.

    Jun 27, 2023

  • U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft meets the media after visiting jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko at a hospital in Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 14, 2012, photo by Stringer/Reuters


    Amb. John F. Tefft to Receive Top Honor for Career Diplomats

    Ambassador John F. Tefft will receive the American Foreign Service Association's 2023 Award for Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy in recognition of his outstanding Foreign Service career, his lifelong commitment to public service, and his exemplary contributions to U.S. foreign policy.

    Jun 26, 2023

  • Thom Shanker and Andrew Hoehn, photo by Karen Sayre/Eikon Photography


    Keeping America Safe in an Age of Danger: Q&A with Andrew Hoehn and Thom Shanker

    In their new book, Andrew Hoehn and Thom Shanker argue that America has entered an age of danger that may come to rival anything in its history. They explain why the national security system needs an overhaul as we face a growing array of threats, from cyber attacks to climate change.

    Jun 26, 2023

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023, photo by Leah Millis/Reuters


    Understanding America's Technological Tit for Tat with China

    China and the United States appear to be barreling towards a path that risks further ratcheting up the ongoing economic war. More-evolved strategies are needed beyond simple retaliatory spirals, to find peaceful equilibria and ensure technoeconomic competition does not spill over into military conflict.

    Jun 26, 2023

  • Report


    Simulating Chinese Gray Zone Coercion of Taiwan: Identifying Redlines and Escalation Pathways

    This paper shares the results of an exercise hosted by the RAND Corporation to explore the risk of escalation from Chinese activities in the gray zone to conventional war. The results showed an overall low risk of Taiwanese escalation.

    Jun 22, 2023

  • Volunteers work to reconstruct a school damaged by at least three bombs near Kyiv, Ukraine, May 17, 2023, photo by Dominika Zarzycka/Reuters


    How to Reform and Reconstruct Ukraine After the War

    Hostilities in Ukraine are ongoing, but it is not too early to consider post-war reconstruction. Indeed, the United States and Europe have already begun planning what will probably be the most ambitious post-war rebuilding effort in modern history.

    Jun 21, 2023

  • Concrete wall with painted united states, China and Russia flags


    Great-Power Competition and Conflict in Latin America

    This report explores the potential for competition and conflict among the United States, China, and Russia in Latin America; where competition might turn into conflict; what form that conflict might take; and the implications for the United States.

    Jun 20, 2023

  • Molecular structure illustration superimposed over Chinese and American flags, images by Livinskiy/Adobe Stock and Elen11/Getty Images


    Scientific and Technological Flows Between the United States and China

    Leaders from both the United States and China have recognized scientific and technological dominance as a national priority. But what are the potential benefits and risks of U.S.-Chinese scientific research collaboration?

    Jun 15, 2023

  • Multimedia

    RAND Experts Discuss the Reconstruction of Ukraine

    RAND experts discuss the postwar reconstruction of Ukraine. This call was recorded on June 14, 2023.

    Jun 14, 2023

  • Report


    Antarctica at Risk: Geostrategic Manoeuvring and the Future of the Antarctic Treaty System

    Leveraging open-source literature and a tabletop exercise, the authors examine the possible implications that geostrategic manoeuvring in the Antarctic in the coming decades might have on the longevity and resilience of the Antarctic Treaty System.

    Jun 13, 2023

  • Testimony


    Chinese Strategy in the Freely Associated States and American Territories in the Pacific: Implications for the United States: Addendum

    Document submitted June 5, 2023, as an addendum to testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs on May 16, 2023.

    Jun 12, 2023

  • G7 leaders before a meeting on economic security during the G7 summit, at the Grand Prince Hotel in Hiroshima, Japan, May 20, 2023, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters


    The Global Movement Against China's Economic Coercion Is Accelerating

    There is much the West can do to push back against Chinese economic pressure, and many reasons to do so. Doing so is a core interest of the United States, which now places itself in competition with China over the shape of the international order.

    Jun 9, 2023

  • Instructors and soldiers from Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and Niger during U.S.-sponsored exercises at the international counterterrorism academy in Jacqueville, Ivory Coast, March 14, 2023, photo by Luc Gnago/Reuters


    The Case for a Governance-First U.S. Security Policy in the Sahel

    Both terrorism and coups are on the rise in the Sahel. To reverse this troubling trend, the United States could ramp up support aimed at improving security governance, professionalizing militaries, and strongly sanctioning all forms of military takeovers in the region. This would require a real shift from the current U.S. security approach in the region.

    Jun 8, 2023

  • Bolivian soldiers stand next to military vehicles received by Bolivian Armed Forces from the Chinese government in La Paz, Bolivia, July 29, 2016, photo by Bolivian Information Agency/Handout via Reuters


    Countries Buy Defective Chinese Military Equipment. Why?

    China's defense industry has exported malfunctioning and defective military equipment in recent years—leaving countries short of what's needed for their security while also draining military budgets. So why do countries continue to order military equipment from China?

    Jun 8, 2023

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Invisible Blockades and Strategic Coercion

    The use of naval mines goes back more than two centuries, but the use of these weapons by both Russia and Ukraine has renewed discussion about the value of this technology for modern warfare.

    Jun 7, 2023

  • A woman hugs her boyfriend as they say good-bye prior to his deployment, at the train station in Lviv, Ukraine, March 9, 2022, photo by Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

    Journal Article

    An Unwinnable War: Washington Needs an Endgame in Ukraine

    While the Western response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine was clear from the start, the objective has been nebulous. After over a year of fighting, the likely direction of this war is coming into focus.

    Jun 6, 2023

  • U.S. President Joe Biden shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G20 leaders' summit in Bali, Indonesia, November 14, 2022, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters


    U.S.-China Rivalry in an Era of Weakening States

    With their weakened state capacity, disengaged publics, and imbalanced economies, the United States and China break the pattern seen in other rivalries between great powers. New theories and ideas will be required to cope with problems largely unknown to the great-power rivals of the recent past.

    Jun 6, 2023