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.

  • An employee works as grains are loaded in a special transport cargo bound for Egypt, in the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania, May 11, 2022, photo by Olimpiu Gheorghiu/Reuters

    Commentary

    Unblocking the Black Sea for Ukrainian Grain

    Jun 15, 2022

    As Russia has been blockading ports around Odesa, Ukrainian grain exports in May were more than 60 percent lower than a year ago. Global hunger has hit a new high while 22 million tons of grain in Ukraine could rot if not exported soon.

  • People stand in line in front of Huawei's new flagship store, as it officially opens in Shanghai, China, June 24, 2020, photo by Aly Song/Reuters

    Report

    Business Community Support for U.S. Policies Toward China

    May 16, 2022

    Policies implemented by the Trump administration were designed to confront China over its problematic behaviors, such as theft of technology and intellectual property. U.S. businesses agreed with the policies, but questioned some of the tactics used. How can Washington address corporate concerns and still compete against China?

Explore International Economic Relations

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    How Can Economic and Political Ties Between U.S. and Mexico be Strengthened? (Spanish translation)

    This study identifies areas that are negatively affecting U.S.-Mexico relations and suggests that the two countries might take a binational approach to improving their long-term partnership.

    Jan 25, 2013

  • Members of the revolutionary guard attend the anniversary ceremony of Iran's Islamic Revolution at the Khomeini shrine in the Behesht Zahra cemetery, south of Tehran, February 1, 2012

    Commentary

    Sanctions Squeeze Revolutionary Guard

    Iran's inability to sell its oil due to sanctions will not only shrink the resources available to the Guard as a military force, but will crimp the wealth of individual Guard officers. This could erode the Guard's loyalty to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, writes Alireza Nader.

    Jan 8, 2013

  • a huge demonstration marched to the federal palace to protest against the draft constitution and the constitutional decree announced by President Mohamed Morsi

    Commentary

    The Mirage of the Arab Spring

    Like it or not, the United States counts among its allies a number of authoritarian Arab countries, and they are essential partners in protecting its interests, writes Seth G. Jones. The normative hope that liberal democracy may flourish in the future must be balanced by the need to work with governments and societies as they exist today.

    Jan 3, 2013

  • Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque at Imam Square in Isfahan, Iran

    Commentary

    Iran: A Rough Year in 2013

    The Islamic Republic faces the potential of stronger economic sanctions and even a military strike because of its intransigence in complying with U.N. resolutions on its nuclear program. It also must deal with twin domestic challenges—deepening malaise among the young and increasing tensions among the political elite, writes Alireza Nader.

    Jan 2, 2013

  • Commercial Book

    Commercial Book

    China's Search for Security

    Despite its impressive size and population, economic vitality, and drive to upgrade its military capabilities, China remains a vulnerable nation surrounded by powerful rivals and potential foes. The key to understanding China's foreign policy is to grasp these geostrategic challenges, which persist even as the country comes to dominate its neighbors.

    Dec 14, 2012

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    How Can Economic and Political Ties Between the United States and Mexico Be Strengthened?

    This study identifies areas that are negatively affecting U.S.-Mexico relations and suggests that the two countries might take a binational approach to improving their long-term partnership.

    Nov 27, 2012

  • Pres. Barack Obama and VP Joe Biden talk with Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China on Feb. 14, 2012

    Commentary

    America's Trouble with China

    Perhaps the best way to avoid confrontation is to cooperate on shared external threats, most notably nuclear proliferation, global climate change, and Islamic extremism. But getting to 2030 without a major confrontation will be a major achievement, writes Harold Brown.

    Nov 20, 2012

  • The Bund, Shanghai, China

    Commentary

    Confronting a Rising China Begins at Home

    As long as the United States holds tight to its values and solves its problems at home, it will be able to manage the rise of China, write Andrew Scobell and Andrew J. Nathan.

    Oct 18, 2012

  • A person holding Iranian currency

    Commentary

    The Iranian Regime Is in Trouble

    Any instability in Iran, even if it is meant to pressure Ahmadinejad, is bad news for the entire regime. The nose-diving economy has affected the lives of millions of Iranians; they are unlikely just to blame Ahmadinejad alone, writes Alireza Nader.

    Oct 4, 2012

  • A sailor mans a small craft attack team post in the Strait of Hormuz

    Commentary

    Will Iran Close the Strait of Hormuz?

    Just by threatening to close the Strait, Iran increases pressure on the U.S. to restrain Israel from attacking Iran. Other key players—including major oil importers such as China, Japan, and India—would be reluctant to support military action because of heavy dependence on Persian Gulf oil, writes Alireza Nader.

    Oct 2, 2012

  • Beijing street scene

    Commentary

    How China Sees America

    Just as Americans wonder whether China's rise is good for U.S. interests or represents a looming threat, Chinese policymakers puzzle over whether the United States intends to use its power to help or hurt China, write Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell.

    Sep 4, 2012

  • aircraft carrier USS George Washington

    Commentary

    Beijing Unflustered by Cool Ties With Seoul

    In light of deeply-rooted policy differences, so clearly on display in China’s treatment of South Korea over the past two years, no amount of tweaking around the margins of policy, inspired by internet polling, is likely to lead to dramatic improvements in the bilateral relationship, writes Scott Warren Harold.

    Aug 20, 2012

  • EU country dominoes

    Commentary

    Abandoning the Euro Would Devastate Greece

    Greece is best off doing whatever it takes to remain on the rescue program prescribed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, while tackling on its own the structural constraints to growth, writes Charles Ries.

    Aug 17, 2012

  • News Release

    News Release

    United States Should Encourage India to Take a Greater Role in Afghanistan

    India and Pakistan each have a stake in influencing developments in Afghanistan and both countries engage in Afghanistan to advance their own respective geopolitical, defense, and economic objectives. However, India has far more to offer.

    Aug 8, 2012

  • Soldiers discussing combined operations in Afghanistan, July 16, 2012

    Report

    United States Should Encourage India to Take a Greater Role in Afghanistan

    India and Pakistan each have a stake in influencing developments in Afghanistan and both countries engage in Afghanistan to advance their own respective geopolitical, defense, and economic objectives. However, India has far more to offer.

    Aug 8, 2012

  • An oil barrel

    Commentary

    Assessing the Iranian Sanctions

    The sanctions have imposed economic costs and have effectively signaled that not only the United States, but much of the rest of the world, see Iran's policies on nuclear enrichment as a serious potential threat to the region and the world, writes Keith Crane.

    Jul 9, 2012

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Fading Arab Oil Empire

    The author discusses the geostrategic importance of the Middle East.

    Jul 1, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    U.S. Air Force Engagement with Turkey on Energy Security Looks Promising

    Turkey aspires to become a key transit state for moving both natural gas and oil from the Caspian region and from the broader Middle East via pipelines crossing its territory. U.S.-Turkish cooperation on energy security issues offers a promising yet modest opportunity to strengthen the bilateral relationship.

    Jun 19, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    What Can Be Done to Increase Asia's Sea-Lane Security?

    The sea lanes that supply Asia's energy needs are already vulnerable to geopolitical concerns and the threat of piracy. One approach to protecting them would be employ multiple U.S. military and government elements; a second would be to promote the capabilities of and cooperation among nations in the region.

    Jun 19, 2012

  • News Release

    News Release

    U.S. Military's Role with Petroleum Is to Assure Security

    Energy purchases made by the U.S. Department of Defense do not influence world oil prices, making cutting fuel use the only effective choice to reduce what the Pentagon spends on petroleum fuels.

    Jun 18, 2012