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.

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the attempted coup at the presidential palace in Ankara, July 15, 2018, photo by Umit Bektas/Reuters

    Report

    Turkey's Nationalist Course and How It Affects U.S.-Turkish Relations

    Jan 14, 2020

    America's longstanding partnership with Turkey, a powerful NATO ally, has become strained in recent years. Their interests are not as aligned as they once were, and tensions between Turkey and Europe have exacerbated these strains. What can be done to sustain the U.S.-Turkish relationship?

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China, November 5, 2019, photo by Aly Song/Reuters

    Commentary

    What to Expect from China in 2020

    Jan 3, 2020

    Last year was an eventful one in China, with U.S.–China trade tensions escalating, protests in Hong Kong reaching a crisis point, and President Xi Jinping further consolidating power. What might the rest of the world expect from China in 2020?

Explore International Diplomacy

  • U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a working dinner after the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 1, 2018

    Commentary

    The Trump-Xi Meeting at G-20: Kicking the Can Down the Road

    Much was expected of the discussion at the 2018 G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires between the United States and China on their ongoing trade war. However, nothing of significance emerged. With signs of a global economic slowdown surfacing earlier than expected, the failed outcomes of this meeting could come back to haunt world leaders.

    Dec 14, 2018

  • Chess pieces with U.S. and China flags superimposted on world map background

    Commentary

    Is This the Beginning of a New Cold War?

    It has become increasingly common for observers of world affairs to contend that the United States and China have either entered into or are poised to embark on a new Cold War. While the contours of a long-term contest between Washington and Beijing are undoubtedly forming, especially in the economic realm, the analogy is problematic.

    Dec 12, 2018

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Beijing, China, October 26, 2018

    Commentary

    Sino-Japan Rapprochement Will Likely Fail

    Recent meetings and otherwise relative calm between China and Japan may give the impression that their ties are improving. But because of their strategic competition and fundamental differences, it is more likely than not that their current rapprochement will fail.

    Dec 7, 2018

  • A Russian cargo ship beneath a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula after three Ukrainian navy vessels were stopped by Russia from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea, Crimea, November 25, 2018

    Commentary

    No Russian Let-Up on Ukraine

    Moscow's seizure of Crimea and war in eastern Ukraine have led the West to sanction Russians and expand aid to Ukraine, and NATO to shift land and air forces eastward. Expanded Russian coercion may draw more NATO naval power closer to Russia's shores and lead to tougher sanctions.

    Dec 7, 2018

  • Senators Marco Rubio (left) and Jim Risch speak at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, June 13, 2017

    Commentary

    Congress Can Save Arms Control

    The Trump administration is seeking agreements with North Korea and Iran to eliminate their nuclear arms potential. Success may hinge on cooperation between the White House and Congress.

    Nov 27, 2018

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leads the testing of a newly developed tactical weapon in this undated photo released on November 16, 2018

    Commentary

    Why North Korea Sanctions Relief Is Inappropriate at This Time

    In early 2018, Kim Jong Un signaled that he was ready to negotiate abandoning North Korea's nuclear weapons with the United States. But since then, Pyongyang hasn't taken steps to denuclearize. The DPRK's actions speak louder than its words.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • Senior military officials watch a parade at the main Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 9, 2018

    Commentary

    How America Can Test North Korea's True Intentions

    While North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has suggested he may be prepared to abandon his nuclear ambitions, there has been no proof that he is serious. The United States could take steps to discover Kim's true intentions.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • The Ilyushin Il-96 aircraft transporting expelled Russian diplomats and their family members from the U.S., shortly after landing at Vnukovo airport outside Moscow, Russia, April 1, 2018

    Commentary

    Effective Responses to Russian Misbehavior

    Sanctions on Russians can be a powerful and effective tool, but in some cases there is a risk of spillover damage to other United States interests. It is worth considering whether America's interests may be best served by ensuring that penalties applied to Russia for misbehavior hit home against those responsible for it.

    Nov 20, 2018

  • L-R Chinese Minister of National Defense Gen. Wei Fenghe, Chinese Communist Party Office of Foreign Affairs Director Yang Jiechi, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hold a joint news conference at the U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., November 9, 2018

    Commentary

    U.S.-China Relations See Potential Thaw, but Risk of Military Crisis Remains

    Deep disagreements between China and the United States on an array of issues, exacerbated by political incentives to avoid compromise, raise a persistent risk of military crisis. Stepping up official communication, building mechanisms to manage crises, and dialing back antagonistic behavior could help cut the risk of miscalculation and help stabilize ties.

    Nov 20, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, March 20, 2018

    Commentary

    Could America Use Its Leverage to Alter the Saudis' Behavior?

    As the Saudis' chief political and military partner and the undisputed security guarantor in the Middle East, the United States has considerable influence it can wield over Saudi decisionmaking. The Trump administration could consider using its influence to encourage Saudi leadership to moderate its assertive and damaging policies abroad.

    Nov 15, 2018

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend a farewell ceremony at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone, South Korea, April 27, 2018

    Multimedia

    Potential Paths to Korean Unification

    In this Call with the Experts podcast, RAND senior international/defense researcher Bruce Bennett discusses several potential paths to Korean unification. Lisa Sodders and Khorshied Samad from the RAND Office of Media Relations moderate.

    Nov 14, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017

    Commentary

    What Does America's Political Polarization Mean for Competition with China?

    Political polarization in the United States potentially carries significant implications for America's strategic competition with China. Leaders in Washington will need to work to mitigate the effects of polarization and manage competition with China in a stable, effective manner.

    Nov 9, 2018

  • News Release

    A Study of Potential Paths to Korean Unification Recommends Avoiding Approaches Involving Armed Conflict

    An examination of nine potential paths to Korean unification recommends actions that the Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea) and the United States can take to set the conditions for stable reunification, should the opportunity arise.

    Oct 31, 2018

  • People attend a march for peace, prosperity, and reunification of Korea near the Arch of Reunification in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released September 12, 2018 by the Korean Central News Agency

    Report

    Alternative Paths to Korean Unification

    There are many ways in which Korean unification could occur or be attempted, and each holds vast uncertainties. What actions could South Korea and the United States take to set the conditions for stable reunification?

    Oct 31, 2018

  • Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, and Vladimir Putin of Russia hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Ankara, April 4, 2018

    Commentary

    Is Major Realignment Taking Place in the Middle East?

    The shifting alignments in the Middle East have intensified since the murder of the Saudi journalist Khashoggi in Istanbul. Turkey has drifted away from NATO and toward Iran and Russia. Like Tehran and Moscow, Ankara is now more anti-Western than at any point in recent memory. What does this mean for the United States?

    Oct 31, 2018

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a session at the lower house of parliament in Berlin, October 17, 2018

    Commentary

    Merkel's Departure: A Star Begins to Dim

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to not seek re-election may signal an end to two key features of post-WWII Europe.

    Oct 31, 2018

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 25, 2018

    Commentary

    Japan's Chance to Shine?

    Japan may never be a global leader in a way comparable to the United States. But Tokyo does have the power to provide leadership that will sustain key elements of the crumbling international order.

    Oct 30, 2018

  • Jerusalem skyline

    Report

    What if Palestinians Start Voting in Jerusalem City Elections?

    Since 1967, most Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have boycotted municipal elections to avoid legitimating Israeli rule. But recent polls suggest that some might be warming to the idea of voting. A game with Israeli and Palestinian policy experts examined possible consequences of the boycott ending.

    Oct 25, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, meets with Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, May 20, 2017

    Commentary

    The Khashoggi Case and the Cost of Subcontracting U.S. Policy

    Following the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the United States needs to, at minimum, return toward a distinctly American policy toward the Middle East, one which can be distinguished from that of its local partners.

    Oct 23, 2018

  • Imran Khan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, speaks to members of media after voting in the general election in Islamabad, Pakistan, July 25, 2018

    Commentary

    New Pakistan, Old Challenges

    While the United States has been voicing concerns about the destabilizing potential of China's Belt and Road Initiative, Pakistan needs the economic stability that initiative could bring. As long as Pakistan remains a poor country, its democracy will be at risk.

    Oct 17, 2018