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.

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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Russian interior ministry board in Moscow, Russia, March 20, 2023, photo by Sputnik/Alexei Nikolskyi/Kremlin via Reuters

    Commentary

    Stalled in Ukraine, Kremlin Increasingly Turns to Political Theater

    Stymied in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has amped up the political theater to achieve his objectives. How do we interpret Putin's statements? While no nuclear threat should be ignored, Putin's pronouncements remain in the realm of propaganda.

    Apr 17, 2023

  • Polish and American soldiers stand near their armored vehicles during NATO exercises at the military range in Bemowo Piskie, near Orzysz, Poland, May 24, 2022, photo by Kacper Pempel/Reuters

    Commentary

    Stick with Europe

    The United States' chief competitive advantage in the contest with China is its dominant global network of friends and allies. Now is the time to strengthen those coveted ties—in Europe and elsewhere.

    Apr 17, 2023

  • U.S., Australia and UK flags in front of the USS Asheville , a Los Angeles–class submarine, at HMAS Stirling, Western Australia, March 14, 2023, photo by AAPIMAGE via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    Why China Should Worry About Asia's Reaction to AUKUS

    If most Indo-Pacific nations support AUKUS—or refuse to condemn it—then Beijing will have more geostrategic and military implications to worry about than AUKUS itself. As long as AUKUS continues to assuage nuclear-proliferation concerns, then the region will view it as a legitimate counter to Chinese military excesses.

    Apr 15, 2023

  • The U.S. Capitol at dusk, photo by Stephen Emlund/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Truth Decay and National Security

    Truth Decay—the declining role of facts in American public life—creates national security vulnerabilities, including by making the United States more susceptible to foreign influence. What can be done to mitigate such risks?

    Apr 12, 2023

  • Service members of pro-Russian troops ride an armoured vehicle in the town of Popasna in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine, June 2, 2022, photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

    Journal Article

    How the Ukraine War Accelerates the Defense Strategy

    This piece explores the implications of the Defense Department's support for Ukraine on the National Defense Strategy, and support for Taiwan in particular.

    Apr 11, 2023

  • A Chinese warship takes part in a military drill off the Chinese coast near Fuzhou, Fujian Province, across from the Taiwan-controlled Matsu Islands, China, April 11, 2023, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    As China Ascends, Concerns Grow It Might Be Tempted into a 'Splendid Little War'

    When a nation newly ascends or returns to the status of a leading international power, it often feels the need to publicly demonstrate its rise through a brief, victorious war. Today, China's increasing strength may tempt it to pursue such a conflict, and not necessarily with Taiwan, if it anticipates that victory will be swift, decisive, and demonstrative.

    Apr 11, 2023

  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Emmanuel Macron, and Olaf Scholz meet at Elysee Palace in Parisé, photo by Ukrainian Presidency via ABACAPRESS.COM/Reuters

    Commentary

    Europe: Ukraine's Essential Ally

    While the United States is Ukraine's primary military backer, Europe is sharing the war's overall burden, sanctioning Russia, arming Ukraine, and helping prepare it to join the European Union, as well as absorbing huge economic costs. Europe's partnership with the United States on Ukraine may be Western diplomacy's finest hour since the Berlin Wall fell.

    Apr 10, 2023

  • Dissertation

    Dissertation

    Whither the Liberal International Order? Does an Attenuated Liberal International Order Affect the Propensity, Incidence, and Intensity of Conflict?

    Seeks to understand and anticipate the impact of an attenuated or weakened Liberal International Order on propensity, incidence, and intensity of conflict.

    Apr 5, 2023

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Scottish Affairs Committee: Scotland's Role in UK Defence of the North Atlantic and Arctic Amid Rising Geopolitical Tensions

    The aim of this evidence is to analyse the UK's national security priorities in the North Atlantic and the High North and how to develop Scotland's role as an asset in the pursuit of these priorities.

    Apr 4, 2023

  • U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 10th Mountain Division stand security at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 15, 2021, photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell/U.S. Marines via Reuters

    Commentary

    Why U.S. Military Interventions Fail and What to Do About It

    There will always be situations in which military intervention is the best or only option for the United States. But policymakers must also recognize that in many cases, the best response to a crisis or potential threat is to take no military action at all and rely instead on diplomacy or sanctions—or simply learn to live with an elevated threat.

    Mar 30, 2023

  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. President Joe Biden walk through the colonnade of the White House in Washington, D.C., January 13, 2023, photo by Mandel Ngan/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Japan's New Security Policies: A Long Road to Full Implementation

    The historic ambition contained within Japan's new defense strategies is notable. But the reality is that an extraordinary alignment of political, economic, fiscal, and other stars will be necessary for Japan's government to fully implement their stated ambitions over the next five to ten years.

    Mar 27, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    20 Years After the Iraq War, China-Russia Ties, Correctional Education: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on reflecting on the Iraq War, the pandemic and prison education, North Korea’s latest threats, and more.

    Mar 24, 2023

  • Visitors stand in front of a screen displaying Chinese President Xi Jinping next to a flag of the Communist Party at a military museum in Beijing, China, October 8, 2022, photo by Florence Lo/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Is China Strengthening Its Military? It's Not All About War

    China's military modernization goals serve a variety of political and military purposes, none of which imply any intent to actually start a war. A grasp of the myriad drivers could help observers more accurately assess the danger posed by the PLA's modernization.

    Mar 24, 2023

  • Police officers escort five people detained in the kidnapping of four Americans in the city of Matamoros, in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, March 10, 2023, photo by Attorney General of the State of Tamaulipas (FGJ)/Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    Should Mexico's Drug Cartels Be Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations?

    While the outcry over the kidnapping and murder of U.S. citizens by members of the Gulf Cartel in Mexico is understandable, stridency should not preclude strategic assessment. America's problem with drug trafficking is not the lack of statutes, but the magnitude of the problem.

    Mar 22, 2023

  • A statue of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein remains in front of a destroyed communication center in Baghdad, Iraq, March 28, 2003, photo by Reuters Photographer/Reuters

    Q&A

    Twenty Years After the Iraq War, a Q&A with RAND Experts

    On the 20th anniversary of the war in Iraq, RAND experts discussed what the war means for the people of Iraq and the veterans who fought there, what lessons the U.S. military learned (or did not learn), and what effect it has had on the balance of power in the Middle East and the global reputation of the United States.

    Mar 21, 2023

  • Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar shake hands before the start of G20 foreign ministers' meeting in New Delhi, India, March 2, 2023, photo by Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    India Can Bridge the U.S.-Russia Divide over Ukraine

    No country is as well positioned as India to mediate between Russia and the United States, and bring the Ukraine conflict to an end. Even limited success in ending the war will bolster India's credentials as an emerging great power, capable of accomplishing remarkable things that others cannot.

    Mar 20, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Opioids in America, Silicon Valley Bank, Semiconductors: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on addressing America's illicit opioids problem, Silicon Valley Bank’s demise, Taiwan’s semiconductor dominance, and more.

    Mar 17, 2023

  • Taiwanese domestically-built Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDF) take part in the live-fire, anti-landing Han Kuang military exercise, which simulates an enemy invasion, in Taichung, Taiwan, July 16, 2020, photo by Ann Wang/Reuters

    Multimedia

    The View of the Taiwan Strait from the U.S.-Japan Alliance

    An October 2022 event gathered experts to examine the view of the Taiwan strait from the U.S.-Japan alliance. Presenters considered the Taiwan strait issue from the perspectives of the United States and Japan.

    Mar 15, 2023

  • Chips being installed on a microprocessor, photo by Hseyin/Adobe Stock

    Report

    What Taiwan's Dominance in Semiconductor Production Means for the U.S.

    Semiconductors have become an integral part of nearly every industry. Production of the highest-end semiconductors exists almost entirely in Taiwan. If China were to unify with Taiwan, there are no good short-term options for responding to the disruption that would cause to the global semiconductor supply chain.

    Mar 13, 2023

  • An Australian Army S70A-9 Black Hawk helicopter prepares to land on the flight deck of the Royal Australian Navy dock landing ship HMAS Choules in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, July 14, 2013,,photo by ABIS Cassie McBride/Australian Defense Force

    Commentary

    Is Australia's Defense Strategy Based on a Mistaken Assumption?

    The concept of “impactful projection” has become a topic of heightened interest in the Australian strategic discourse, as pundits wait on further information from the Defense Strategic Review. But is the concept underpinned by a fundamentally mistaken assumption?

    Mar 10, 2023