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.

  • A consignment of USAID medical equipment is offloaded at the Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, August 24, 2014, photo by James Giahyue/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why We 'Send Them Money'

    Dec 30, 2020

    Why does the United States send foreign countries American taxpayer money? The answer, in short, is because it serves U.S. self-interest to do so. Aid is not some act of charity at the American taxpayers' expense; it can help keep Americans safer, more prosperous, and secure.

  • An American flag waving at sunset, photo by Emily Sisson/Getty Images

    Report

    How American Influence Has Declined, and What Can Be Done About It

    Sep 8, 2020

    The United States has been declining in foreign policy achievements for two decades. Skeptics need to be persuaded that working for a more peaceful and prosperous world is in America's national and their personal interest. And sustained public support for international engagement requires cooperation across party lines.

Explore International Economic Relations

  • The national flag of Taiwan on a large number of metal containers for storing goods stacked in rows on top of each other. Conception of storage of goods by importers, exporters, photo by Sova Vitalij/AdobeStock

    Journal Article

    Trade Relations Between Taiwan and South Asia Under the New Southbound Policy

    This paper provides an assessment of Taiwan's global status as an economy, to discover where its global comparative advantages lie, then assesses its economic relations with South Asia.

    Dec 13, 2019

  • Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif arrives for a meeting among remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal at U.N. headquarters in New York City, September 25, 2019, photo by Yana Paskova/Reuters

    Commentary

    Understanding Iran's Nuclear Escalation Strategy

    Throughout 2019, Iran has gradually reduced its compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. What are its goals in doing this? Why has it adopted this strategy? And perhaps most importantly, how far does Iran intend to go?

    Dec 12, 2019

  • People walk near a burned bank, after protests against increased fuel prices, in Tehran, Iran, November 20, 2019, photo by Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Reuters

    Commentary

    Don't Expect a Thaw in Iran

    Iran's recent protests could mark the beginning of a new chapter in Iran's domestic politics. Whatever happens inside the country, though, it will not likely change Iran's foreign policy.

    Dec 11, 2019

  • (L-R) Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 9, 2019, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Does Beijing Want from the Pacific Islands?

    China's recent activities in Oceania highlight a formidable two-pronged strategy of diplomatic and economic engagement that Washington and its allies and partners will have to vigorously compete against to maintain their preeminence in the Pacific.

    Dec 9, 2019

  • Iranians protest against increased gas prices, on a highway in Tehran, November 16, 2019, photo by Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Reuters

    Commentary

    With Chaos in the Streets of Iran, Here's How the United States Could Help the Iranian People

    The Iranian people deserve American support. But current U.S. policies are hurting the cause that Iranians are fighting for while failing to achieve any strategic objectives.

    Dec 3, 2019

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan attend the official welcome ceremony in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, October 15, 2019, photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool/Reuters

    Report

    Russian Strategy in the Middle East Is Limited

    The unrest in Syria and the Arab Spring gave Russia the opportunity to increase its economic and political activities across the Middle East. But the strengths of Moscow's strategy in the short term—its transactionalism, its balancing of multiple partners—may turn out to be its undoing in the long term.

    Nov 26, 2019

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visit the Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province, Syria, December 11, 2017, photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik Photo Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Risky Game Plan for Syria

    It will take time to assess the extent to which Russia has “won“ in Syria. Absent a peaceful end to the conflict and an infusion of large-scale Western aid, downside risks for Russia could take some of the bloom off of its rose in Syria.

    Oct 29, 2019

  • Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa attends a rally against Western sanctions in Harare, Zimbabwe, October 25, 2019, photo by Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

    Commentary

    Zimbabwe’s Neighbors Express Solidarity Against a False Enemy

    The notion that sanctions are primarily responsible for the economic collapse in Zimbabwe is a useful fiction promoted by that country's authoritarian elite. In reality, the ruling party, in power for 39 years, has no one to blame but itself.

    Oct 25, 2019

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released on June 21, 2019, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    U.S. Economic War on China Weakens Nuclear North Korea, Too

    An effective way to bend North Korea toward denuclearization may be exerting consistent and targeted pressure on China. Diminishing Beijing's relevance isn't a cure-all. But it could pierce Kim's illusion of invincibility and place him in a bind to make some concessions.

    Oct 18, 2019

  • Map of Russia and Post-Soviet Europe, image by RAND Corporation

    Report

    Proposal for a Revised Regional Order in Post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia

    Disputes over the regional order in post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia are at the core of the breakdown in relations between Russia and the West and have created major challenges for the states caught in between. A new approach to the order could boost security and prosperity in the region.

    Oct 8, 2019

  • U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Emerging U.S.–China Strategic Competition and the Role of Trans-Atlantic Cooperation

    When competing with China, what role should U.S. alliances, especially the transatlantic relationships the United States has with its European partners, play? This question is potentially decisive for whether or not any strategy adopted by the U.S. to compete with China will succeed or fail.

    Oct 8, 2019

  • People's Liberation Army soldiers are seen in front of a sign marking China's 70th anniversary before a military parade in Beijing, October 1, 2019, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    The China Dream: Never Closer, yet Never More Elusive

    To achieve its goals of national rejuvenation, China needs to become a true world power. But a softening economy and political gridlock make it seem less and less likely that Beijing will realize all of its objectives.

    Oct 1, 2019

  • U.S. President Donald Trump attends a bilateral meeting with China's President Xi Jinping during the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Not to Confront China

    There are several key reasons why current U.S. policy toward China may not help advance America's competitiveness or enlist much support abroad. Most notably, the administration has yet to explain what it ultimately hopes to accomplish.

    Sep 23, 2019

  • China and USA relations concept, photo by Rawf8/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Beyond Hawks and Doves: A Better Way to Debate U.S.–China Policy

    The best long-term outcome for U.S.–China relations may be one in which inexorably intensifying competition coexists with occasionally fruitful cooperation. It is not the most inspiring result, to be sure, but it is preferable to unconstrained antagonism.

    Sep 20, 2019

  • Blog

    E-Cigarettes, 'Stand Your Ground,' Cyber Coercion: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the planned federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes, “stand your ground” laws, understanding cyber coercion, and more.

    Sep 20, 2019

  • Tool

    Tool

    The Levant Economic Integration Calculator

    This online tool allows policymakers and the public to examine how a comprehensive free trade agreement among the countries of the Levant could create significant new economic opportunities, substantially reducing regional unemployment.

    Sep 16, 2019

  • Loading cargo onto a container ship in Istanbul, Turkey, photo by Czgur/Getty Images

    Report

    Potential Benefits of Economic Integration in the Levant

    A comprehensive free trade agreement among six of the core Levant nations—Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey—could increase their average gross domestic product by 3 to 7 percent. It could also reduce regional unemployment rates by 8 to 18 percent.

    Sep 16, 2019

  • Globe map on grunge texture, photo by caracterdesign/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Time to Return to the Basics of Statecraft

    After two decades of setbacks abroad, it's time to ask whether the decline in American influence is irreversible. Ultimately, neither China nor Russia is responsible for these difficulties. Washington's failures have been self-inflicted, the result of flawed policy rather than any decisive shift in the global balance of power.

    Sep 4, 2019

  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Micronesia President David Panuelo, Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, and Palau's Vice President Raynold Oilouch hold a news conference, Kolonia, Micronesia, August 5, 2019, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    Maintaining the U.S. Edge in the Freely Associated States

    In the geo-strategically vital region of the Freely Associated States (FAS), China is increasingly competing with the United States for influence. The United States and its allies and partners will need to engage not only with economic aid, but also with other issues including health, economic development, natural disasters, climate change and illegal fishing to sustain a strong partnership with the FAS.

    Sep 3, 2019

  • Blog

    Drug Spending, Back to School, Korean Unification: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap looks at illegal drug spending, the problem of waking up early for school, possible paths toward Korean unification, and more.

    Aug 23, 2019