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RAND's international affairs research comprises a range of cross-cutting issues, including global economies and trade, space and maritime security, diplomacy, global health and education, nation building, and regional security and stability. RAND also analyzes the policies and effectiveness of international organizations such as the UN, NATO, European Union, and ASEAN.

  • Illustration of a world map, photos by Kanok-orn/Adobe Stock and j-mel/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Competing for the International System

    The United States should view emerging strategic rivalries with China and Russia in systemic terms. That means maintaining predominant influence over the international system and also taking actions designed to shape system outcomes rather than to achieve case-specific wins.

    Nov 10, 2022

  • Excavators are seen at a nickel ore mining area at Kolonedalle village near Morowali, Indonesia's Sulawesi island, January 14, 2014, photo by Yusuf Ahmad/Reuters

    Report

    China's Role in the Global Development of Critical Resources

    China's extensive foreign investments in energy infrastructure and critical minerals have raised concerns. Case studies in coal power, electricity transmission, and seabed mining examine China's behaviors and suggest ways to build capacity among host nations to minimize the potential effects of an overreliance on China.

    Nov 7, 2022

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  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Protests in China, Negotiating with Russia, L.A.'s 'Mansion Tax': RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on protests in China amid the government's zero-COVID policy, the potential harm in negotiating with Russia, building more affordable housing in Los Angeles, and more.

    Dec 2, 2022

  • Railway workers repair the tracks damaged by Russian shelling in the northern direction, Kharkiv Region, northeastern Ukraine, November 25, 2022, photo by Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Ukrinform/Abacapress.com via Reuters

    Commentary

    Politics of Ukrainian Reconstruction

    When fighting subsides, Ukraine may undergo reconstruction on the scale of the post–World War II Marshall Plan. Debate is ramping up about core issues, such as the scope of reconstruction, sources of funding, and reforms needed for success. Ukraine and the West might begin now to forge consensus on these issues.

    Nov 30, 2022

  • Three drones are set up at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, August 10, 2020, photo by Spc. Khalil Jenkins/U.S. Army

    Report

    A New Era of Major-Power Competition

    While there is a general consensus that the United States is now in a new era of strategic competition with China and Russia, there is not yet a clear understanding of what that means or what forms it could take. How can the United States best position itself to succeed?

    Nov 30, 2022

  • An 8-ship joint-coalition formation flies over Guam during exercise Cope North 21, near Andersen Air Force Base, February 9, 2021, photo by SrA Duncan Bevan/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Managing Escalation While Competing Effectively in the Indo-Pacific

    In response to China's expanding military activity in the Indo-Pacific, the United States has increased its activity in the region over the past decade. How can America continue to safeguard its interests while limiting potential risks of escalation with China?

    Nov 30, 2022

  • Visitors to the ASML booth during the 5th China International Import Expo in Shanghai, China, November 7, 2022, photo by CFOTO/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    Export Controls Give ASML and the Netherlands an Opportunity to Lead by Example. Will They Take It?

    Dutch tech company ASML makes the complex machines required to construct advanced microchips, and it sells many of these machines to China. Harmonization of export controls between the United States and the Netherlands could limit China's development of military technologies and its human rights abuses.

    Nov 28, 2022

  • UH-1Y Venoms from USS Essex lands on HMS Queen Elizabeth, photo by LPhot Unaisi Luke/UK MOD OGL (Open Government License).

    Report

    Realising the promise of the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy in R&D and exports

    This Perspective provides a brief overview of the core principles of the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy (DSIS), before reflecting on two aspects underpinning the Strategy's assumptions: research and development (R&D) and exports.

    Nov 28, 2022

  • Quantum computer, Photo by Bartek Wroblewski/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Science and technology as a tool of power: An appraisal

    This Perspective examines the UK Government's ambition to use science and technology (S&T) as a tool of power and an integral part of the national security strategy. It also reflects on critical enablers, including conceptual and practical levers.

    Nov 28, 2022

  • People gather around remains of a military plane at the site where it crashed into a residential building in the city of Irkutsk, Russia, October 23, 2022, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russian Aircraft Keep Crashing. Could Sanctions Be the Cause?

    At least six fixed-wing Russian aircraft have crashed over Russian-controlled airspace since September. Sanctions placed on Russia by the West could well be affecting Russia's ability to manufacture and maintain parts needed to keep aircraft safe.

    Nov 22, 2022

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits Kherson, Ukraine, November 14, 2022, photo by Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters

    Commentary

    What's the Harm in Talking to Russia? A Lot, Actually

    Despite the way it is commonly portrayed, diplomacy is not intrinsically and always good, nor is it cost-free. In the Ukraine conflict, the problems with a push for diplomacy are especially apparent. The likely benefits of negotiations are minimal, and the prospective costs could be significant.

    Nov 22, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Russian Military Strategy: Organizing Operations for the Initial Period of War

    The authors of this report identify and examine several factors to assess the orientation of Russian military strategy, including the balance of power, Russian diplomacy with China, views on future war, and trends in force readiness and mobilization.

    Nov 22, 2022

  • The deep sea mining vessel Hidden Gem returns to port after test mining in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, in Manzanillo, Mexico, November 16, 2022, photo by Gustavo Graf Maldonado/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is Seabed Mining an Opportunity to Break China's Stranglehold on Critical Minerals Supply Chains?

    China dominates global supply chains for nearly all critical mineral resources, including the rare earths that power decarbonization technologies. Seabed mining may be a way to diversify critical minerals supply chains and break China's stranglehold on supplies of some of the world's most important natural resources.

    Nov 21, 2022

  • Illustration of Artemis astronauts on the moon, illustration by NASA

    Commentary

    Governance in Space: Mining the Moon and Beyond

    Without further cooperation and agreement among space powers, multiple, competing governance systems may end up being established, further increasing potential for conflict. The time to address this issue is now, so that the use of deep-space resources contributes to prosperity, security, and freedom on Earth and throughout the solar system.

    Nov 18, 2022

  • An Orthodox priest conducts a service for Russian reservists during a ceremony of their departure for military bases, in Sevastopol, Crimea, September 27, 2022, photo by Alexey Pavlishak/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Russia's War in Ukraine Has Impacted Its Christian Image

    Over the past decade, the Russian government has taken pains to present itself as a bastion of Christianity and traditional values. Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, however, there have been noticeable cracks in the receptivity to this messaging strategy.

    Nov 16, 2022

  • Taiwan Navy Marines conducted a scenario-based drill near Penghu, Taiwan, October 24, 2022, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    Xi Likely Won't Be Attacking Taiwan Anytime Soon

    Rather than start a war, Xi Jinping is more likely to intensify China's use of coercive measures against Taiwan, including diplomatic, economic, and military pressure coupled with cyber and psychological operations. If coercion fails, Beijing might turn to force as a last resort, but this still seems unlikely given the many complicating factors.

    Nov 15, 2022

  • Protesters attend a rally against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Tokyo, Japan, February 24, 2022, photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

    Multimedia

    The Impact of the War in Ukraine on the Indo-Pacific Region

    Policymakers and scholars discuss the impact of the war in Ukraine on the Indo-Pacific. Presenters examined the conflict from the perspective of Japan and the United States as well as the possible impact it may have on the international order.

    Nov 10, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the U.S.- Pacific Island Country Summit at the State Department in Washington, D.C., September 29, 2022, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    America's Pacific Island Summit: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    The United States hosted its first Pacific Islands Summit in September. Pacific Island leaders and observers from over a dozen states participated in the event and pledged to jointly tackle various challenges. But this historic summit was hardly an absolute success, and should be put within its proper context.

    Nov 7, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Lessons from the Pandemic, Diplomacy in Ukraine, Defending Taiwan: RAND Weekly Recap

    This week, we discuss lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, planning to end the war in Ukraine, reducing deaths in law enforcement custody, and more.

    Nov 4, 2022

  • The MP Materials rare earth open-pit mine in Mountain Pass, California, January 30, 2020, photo by Steve Marcus/Reuters

    Commentary

    Enhance U.S. Rare Earth Security Through International Cooperation

    Most rare earth elements and materials are sourced from overseas but China dominates extraction and processing. With closer multinational cooperation, the United States and its allies and partners could reduce vulnerabilities due to the dependency on China.

    Nov 3, 2022