The year 2011 was packed with unforeseen challenges for U.S. foreign policy. This guide lists a range of CFR materials on the year's most consequential developments and their implications, and expert forecasts on political and economic trends in 2012.
Vaclav Havel went from designing theater sets to choreographing the Czech Republic's entry into NATO. One constant in his improbable rise to president was a steely commitment to human rights, as reflected in selected excerpts.
Russia's pending membership in the World Trade Organization could alter its global economic standing and boost trading partners. But experts say Moscow must restructure its economy to benefit from joining the club.
At a Brussels summit, EU leaders agreed to develop a new fiscal union in an effort to preserve the indebted eurozone. Analysts say Britain's decision to opt out of the plan could dramatically reshape the path of European integration.
Global discussions on Afghanistan tend to be dominated by security issues, but a conference marking ten years since the ouster of the Taliban must focus on economic growth and development, say experts.
Secretary Clinton is in Myanmar to gauge recent reforms by the military-backed regime. Experts are calling for further democratization, including strengthening the rule of law and reconciliation with ethnic minority groups.
The failure of the bipartisan supercommittee adds to a pattern of legislative gridlock that has left critics and international investors doubtingCongress's ability to address the nation's looming fiscal challenges.
The international Occupy movement faces crackdowns in several cities, but continues to spur public discourse over economic inequality. But there is sharp debate over how to translate protest into policy changes.
President Obama will end his Asia tour at the East Asia Summit in Bali, reinforcing U.S. commitments to allies. But experts say Washington must fix the U.S. economy to retain any long-term leadership role in the region.
In Canberra, President Obama announced an expansion of defense ties, but it has prompted debate among Australian analysts over balancing a strategic U.S. alliance with growing economic ties with Beijing.
New Prime Minister Mario Monti faces the daunting task of reining in Italy's high public debt. Analysts say he will have to tackle fiscal irresponsibility to rebuild market confidence and prevent the eurozone's third largest economy from defaulting.