International Affairs

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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.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends an expanded meeting of the Russian Foreign Ministry Board in Moscow, Russia, November 18, 2021, photo by Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS via Reuters

    Commentary

    How Could the U.S. React to Russia's Latest Posturing on Ukraine?

    Nov 19, 2021

    Russia's military buildup along its border with Ukraine has been accompanied by dramatically tougher rhetoric in recent months. Russian President Vladimir Putin may believe Ukraine is at an inflection point and that it's time to up the ante. The risk of a major war seems real enough to justify a new U.S. approach.

  • Security personnel at the Wuhan Institute of Virology during the visit by a World Health Organization team investigating the origins of COVID-19, in Wuhan, China, February 3, 2021, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Global Health Data Sharing: The Case of China and the Two Coronavirus Pandemics

    Nov 22, 2021

    Tensions over the coronavirus seem to be prompting China to isolate itself in terms of data sharing. But the first coronavirus pandemic in 2003 actually helped open China to health collaborations with other countries. World leaders may be doing their citizens a disservice when they allow toxic geopolitics to undercut trust and international collaborations that took decades to build.

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  • Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during the National Day celebration in Taipei, Taiwan, October 10, 2021, photo by Ann Wang/Reuters

    Commentary

    Taiwan Would Be Better Off Alone

    Relinquishing diplomatic partners could free Taiwan from an unwinnable competition with China and refocus attention on what really matters: reducing China's coercive power by strengthening relationships with powers that can truly help.

    Dec 23, 2021

  • Blog

    The Most Popular RAND Research of 2021

    As another extraordinary year draws to a close, we continue to believe that objective, nonpartisan research and analysis has a key role to play in navigating what continues to be a difficult time. Here are the 10 research projects that resonated most with rand.org readers in 2021.

    Dec 22, 2021

  • Jacqueline Burns, bottom right, with Ambassador Donald Booth, at an Internally Displaced Person camp in Darfur, Sudan, in 2016, over a map of Sudan, photo courtesy of Jacqueline Burns; images by oxygen and JeanUrsula/Getty Images; design by Chara Williams/RAND Corporation

    Q&A

    Helping People Affected by Conflict: Q&A with Jacqueline Burns

    From the Air Force to Africa to RAND, Jacqueline Burns resolved to help people whose lives have been torn apart by conflict or disaster. As a senior policy analyst she wants to be a part of finding better solutions to the complex questions of peace and security.

    Dec 22, 2021

  • View of Pakistan and Taliban flags at the Friendship Gate crossing point in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, August 27, 2021, photo by Saeed Ali Achakzai/Reuters

    Commentary

    Complex Calculations Shape Pakistan-TTP Negotiations

    Pakistan sees the Taliban as a facilitator of discussions with the TTP, as an ally in persuading the TTP to negotiate, and as a guarantor of whatever agreement is reached. And given the Taliban's diplomatic isolation and desperate economic situation, Pakistan can in return assist Afghanistan's new rulers in gaining acceptance and aid.

    Dec 20, 2021

  • 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

  • An Afghan woman holds her child as she and others wait to receive package being distributed by a Turkish humanitarian aid group in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 15, 2021, photo by Ali Khara/Reuters

    Commentary

    It's Time for the West to Engage with the Taliban

    As a winter crisis looms, the Afghan people need support more than ever. Economic collapse and isolation risk provoking deeper instability, insecurity, and repression. The international community should now look seriously at making a deal with the Taliban to address these risks.

    Dec 17, 2021

  • Blog

    Gender Pay Gap Among Doctors, America's Labor Shortage, 'Hacking Equity': RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the pay gap between female and male doctors, understanding America’s weird job market, social and emotional learning, and more.

    Dec 17, 2021

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends his annual special televised question and answer session at Moscow's World Trade Centre, June 30, 2021, photo by Alexei Nikolsky/Reuters

    Commentary

    Deterring Putin in Eastern Europe

    After having gone years without a significant threat from Russia, NATO leaders and legislatures now may be recognizing that the security environment has changed and the more comfortable political status quo is gone. But if NATO were to decide to stand firmly together, conflict in Europe may be deterred and strategic stability restored.

    Dec 16, 2021

  • A new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile being launched in waters off the east coast of North Korea in a photo released by the North Korean Central News Agency on October 20, 2021, photo by KCNA via/Latin America News Agency via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    North Korea's Nuclear Arsenal and Prospects for Regional Peace

    Nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea have hovered at a standstill since 2019. With the door to diplomacy seemingly closed and North Korea marching forward on weapons development and making threatening statements, what are the prospects for Pyongyang's denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula?

    Dec 16, 2021

  • Members of the Iowa National Guard load vehicles during railhead operations at Camp Shelby, Miss., photo by Sean Taylor/U.S. Army

    Report

    Weighing the Trade-Offs of U.S. Military Interventions

    Military interventions can be effective at advancing U.S. interests in some contexts and situations. But they can have the opposite effect in other cases, creating long-term entanglements and increasing economic and strategic costs without realizing U.S. objectives.

    Dec 13, 2021

  • HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to Portsmouth after her maiden operational deployment in Portsmouth, United Kingdom, December 9, 2021, p

    Commentary

    Ready for Take-Off? The Next Generation of UK Maritime Air Power

    The recent deployment of a Carrier Strike Group represents a marked shift in the United Kingdom's ambitions and capabilities for power projection in both the maritime and air domains. The United Kingdom is hoping to work closely with NATO Allies to enhance the Alliance's collective ability to deploy maritime airpower as part of a flexible posture that can deter and respond to threats both close to home and far afield.

    Dec 10, 2021

  • Blog

    Russia and Ukraine, Climate Migration, Democracy in Asia: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Russia and Ukraine, planning for climate migration, the state of democracy in Asia, and more.

    Dec 10, 2021

  • Armoured vehicles are deployed to carry out a shore defense operation as part of the HanKuang military exercise in Taipei, Taiwan, September 16, 2021, photo by Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Reuters

    Commentary

    Preventing China from Taking Taiwan

    The single most challenging high-end threat to a key American national security interest today is probably a Chinese invasion attempt against Taiwan. The United States could try to make that scenario unthinkable for Beijing by ensuring that China cannot dominate the western Pacific region.

    Dec 9, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, speaks virtually with Chinese leader Xi Jinping from the White House in Washington, D.C., November 15, 2021, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    Avoiding a New Surge of Regime Change

    As competition with China in the developing world heats up, the United States need not repeat the sad legacy of the Cold War with a surge of new efforts at covert regime change and harassment. Instead, America could maximize the systemic advantages it has long enjoyed, meet reformist leaders and movements in the developing world on their own terms, and trust the long-term appeal of American norms and values.

    Dec 8, 2021

  • Ukrainian Marines take part in multinational Sea Breeze 2021 military exercises involving more than 30 countries near Kherson, Ukraine, July 2, 2021, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    If Russia Invaded Ukraine

    The United States and NATO worry that Russia may be planning an invasion of Ukraine. A renewed crisis could spur the United States and its NATO allies to go beyond, perhaps well beyond, their responses to Russia's 2014 assault.

    Dec 8, 2021

  • The Second Battalion of the 99th Brigade of the Republic of China Marine Corps at the Presidential Palace in Taipei, Taiwan, July 6, 2020, photo by Wang Yu Ching/ CC BY 2.0

    Commentary

    The Counterintuitive Sensibility of Taiwan's New Defense Strategy

    As the United States prepares to deter China from attacking Taiwan and defend it from an attack, are the Taiwanese themselves doing everything they can to defend their territory?

    Dec 6, 2021

  • A woman casts her vote during the by-election in Port Dickson, Malaysia, October 13, 2018, photo by Lai Seng Sin/Reuters

    Report

    Democracy Remains Fragile in the Asia-Pacific

    In Asia, there has been a reduction in the number of autocracies over time but also a rise in the number of partial democracies. What makes some Asian states slide toward authoritarianism? What policies can support democratization, and how can external actors help?

    Dec 6, 2021

  • Blog

    Addressing Anti-Asian Racism, Stabilizing U.S. Rivalries, the Debt-Ceiling Fight: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on countering anti-Asian racism, the instability of U.S. rivalries with Russia and China, the rise in extremist online activity, and more.

    Dec 3, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Assessment of Electronic Health Records for Infectious Disease Surveillance: Final Mapping Exercise Report

    The objective of the project is to investigate the current status of EHR systems in the EU and European Economic Area and the potential capacity for the use of these data for surveillance of infectious diseases within ECDC's remit.

    Dec 1, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden speaks virtually with Chinese leader Xi Jinping from the White House, November 15, 2021, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Report

    A Guide to Extreme Competition with China

    The U.S.-China competitive dynamic is at a critical crossroads. What realistic, actionable policy options should U.S. policymakers consider in developing effective strategies for this competition?

    Dec 1, 2021