International Economic Relations

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Increased international trade, and the lowering of barriers to such trade, frequently results in improved international relations, but it can also lead to trade wars and tariff disputes. RAND research explores bilateral and multilateral economic relations; describes how they affect global alliances, globalization, and the economic health of nations; and recommends methods to develop, encourage, and maintain these relations among diverse nations and cultures.

  • Rosneft boss Igor Sechin's yacht <em>Amore Vero</em>, which was seized by French authorities, in La Ciotat harbor, in the south of France, March 4, 2022, photo by Florian Escoffier/ABACA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Sanctioning Business Leaders in Russia

    Western sanctions are ensnaring more Russian business leaders, some of whom say they are unjustly targeted. Can those in the private sector reduce their risks of being designated? Perhaps, if they make difficult choices.

    Sep 12, 2022

  • A Japan Ground Self Defense Force soldier (left) and a U.S. Army soldier (right) salute the Japanese and U.S. flags during the opening ceremony of Rising Thunder 2021 at Yakima Training Center, Washington, December 1, 2021, photo by Spc. Dean Johnson/U.S. Army

    Report

    Economic Benefits of U.S. Alliances and Military Engagement

    Decisions about alliances and forward military presence should be based on a range of factors beyond potential economic benefits. But there is evidence that military engagement has historically helped the U.S. economy by promoting international commerce.

    Sep 1, 2022

Explore International Economic Relations

  • 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

  • A street in Moscow, Russia, April 26, 2020, photo by Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Tragic Failure to Reform Its Economy

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine and resulting sanctions will likely devastate Russia's economy. If the country had taken a more productive economic course over the past two decades, it might be looking toward a different future—one in which economic reforms had more tightly integrated Russia with the economically advanced countries, enhanced Russian influence and power, and built global trust.

    Apr 7, 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

  • Officers of the Vietnamese Marine Guard monitor a Chinese coast guard vessel in the South China Sea, about 130 miles offshore of Vietnam, May 15, 2014, photo by Nguyen Minh/Reuters

    Research Brief

    How and Why China Uses Gray Zone Tactics

    China uses a variety of gray zone tactics—coercive actions that are shy of armed conflict but beyond normal diplomatic and economic activities—to advance its objectives, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. Which tactics should the United States prioritize countering?

    Mar 30, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Competition in the Gray Zone: Countering China's Coercion Against U.S. Allies and Partners in the Indo-Pacific

    This report examines how and why China uses gray zone tactics—coercive activities beyond normal diplomacy and trade but below the use of kinetic military force—against U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific.

    Mar 30, 2022

  • A world map superimposed over people's raised hands, photo by Rawpixel/Getty Images

    Report

    Advancing Global Citizenship in America

    Concerted international action is required to address climate change and sustainability, pandemics, global security, and economic growth. But such action requires a sense of common destiny and shared responsibility among people across nations. What are Americans' attitudes toward global issues, and what could encourage them to become citizens of the world?

    Mar 24, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Disruption Without Change: The Consequences of COVID-19 on the Global Economic Balance

    The author reviews the economic track record of the United States, its competitors, and its allies to discern how economic changes induced by the COVID-19 pandemic could affect geopolitical competition and the security environment.

    Mar 21, 2022

  • An empty airport terminal at Sheremetyevo International Airport after Aeroflot suspended most international flights in order to keep leased aircraft from being detained due to sanctions, in Moscow, Russia, March 8, 2022, photo by Artyom Geodakyan/Reuters

    Commentary

    Where Is Business in Russia?

    Businesses in Russia have little hope of making a full recovery and operating normally in the global economy unless the West lifts its extraordinary sanctions. Political and civic engagement may be essential to protect their value and the interests of shareholders and employees.

    Mar 16, 2022

  • Thank you in many languages, photo by aaabbc/Adobe Stock

    Research Brief

    Talking business: How increasing languages education in the UK could benefit the economy

    Findings show that investing in languages education in UK secondary schools will return more than the investment cost. The benefit-to-cost ratio is about 2:1, meaning that every £1 spent on extra language provision could return £2 for the economy.

    Mar 2, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Responding to Russia, Sex Trafficking, Anti-Bias Education: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the false choice between responding to Russia or deterring China, how substance use and sex trafficking are connected, providing anti-bias education in U.S. schools, and more.

    Feb 25, 2022

  • The Russian flag flies above the Embassy of the Russian Federation, Washington, D.C., February 22, 2022, photo by Tom Brenner/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Test of How Effective Sanctions Are

    The threat of severe sanctions failed to stop a Russian invasion of Ukraine. But if and when harsher economic punishment is handed down to Moscow, what effect might it have?

    Feb 24, 2022

  • Thank you in many languages, photo by aaabbc/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Investment in Languages Education Could Return Double for UK Economy

    Languages play a significant role in international trade, and not sharing a common language acts as a non-tariff trade barrier. Benefit-to-cost ratios for increasing Arabic, Mandarin, French, or Spanish education in the UK are estimated to be at least 2:1, meaning that spending £1 could return £2.

    Feb 21, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Blockship Tactics to Trap Enemy Fleets

    The U.S. Navy should initiate a blockship program to counter potential threats.

    Feb 8, 2022

  • India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 25, 2021, photo by Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

    Commentary

    Modi's Foreign-Policy Juggling Act

    India lives in a difficult neighborhood, and there are no easy, straightforward solutions. But thus far—and especially under Modi—India has managed its foreign-policy challenges with remarkable effectiveness. With new partners and by making some tough decisions, there is a very good chance that it will continue to do so.

    Feb 7, 2022

  • Radio antennas on the mountains of Angeles National Forest overlooking Los Angeles County, California, photo by Sundry Photography/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How China Plays by Different Rules—at Everyone Else's Expense

    A single Chinese state-run firm has secured a controlling interest in at least 33 radio stations in 14 countries. But there is virtually no opportunity for foreign ownership, input, or influence in the Chinese media marketplace. This inequity presents U.S. leaders with an opportunity: Unless China opens its media marketplace to foreign investment and ownership, its firms should be forced to divest their American holdings.

    Feb 7, 2022

  • Pattern featuring the flags of the United States, Russia, and China, image by Getty Images/RAND Corporation

    Report

    Crossroads of Competition: China, Russia, and the United States in the Middle East

    This report details the political, economic, and military interests and activities of China and Russia in the Middle East and identifies where those efforts contest, intersect, or complement U.S. interests and activities.

    Feb 2, 2022

  • U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman meets with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, June 1, 2021, photo by U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh/Public Domain

    Commentary

    Could the U.S. Play Offense in China's Back Yard?

    Relations with Cambodia and Laos have fallen victim to the U.S. administration's foreign policy priority of shared values over shared interests. This approach has failed to make headway in Cambodia and Laos, isolates the United States in a region where few countries are true democracies, and unnecessarily cedes ground to Beijing.

    Jan 13, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Decoupling from China: How U.S. Asian Allies Responded to the Huawei Ban

    The paper analyzes how Australia, Japan, and South Korea responded to Washington's expectations of mutual support on the decoupling of Chinese technology companies from global supply chains.

    Jan 6, 2022

  • “Checkmate,” the new Sukhoi fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, at the opening ceremony of the MAKS 2021 air show in Zhukovsky, Russia, July 20, 2021, photo by Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is Russia's Su-75 'Checkmate' Aircraft a Case of Vapor Marketing?

    During a Moscow air show last summer, Russia rolled out a mockup of the Su-75, a multipurpose fighter-bomber designed to compete in the global marketplace. But given the Russian aerospace sector's difficulties in developing, let alone delivering, advanced combat aircraft, prospective buyers should consider a range of options to meet defense needs.

    Jan 6, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden participates virtually in the annual U.S.-ASEAN Summit at the White House in Washington, D.C., October 26, 2021, photo by Gripas Yuri/ABACA via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    Biden's Southeast Asia Policy Still Has Much to Prove

    As the Biden administration's first year comes to a close, how is the United States faring in Southeast Asia? Washington got a lot right, but it could do better to optimize competition against China and work on a more sensitive understanding of the delicate and at times precarious position Southeast Asian states are in.

    Dec 17, 2021