Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.
The United States and China have developed competing visions for reviving ancient trade routes connecting Asia and Europe. The U.S. diplomatic strategy focuses on Afghanistan, while China hopes to economically integrate Central and South Asia. India and Russia also have regional ambitions.
See more in Asia and Pacific; Russia and Central Asia; Economic Development; Infrastructure
The U.S.-Saudi relationship, long bound by common interests in oil and security, is showing strains over what some analysts see as waning U.S. involvement in the Middle East and a more assertive Saudi foreign policy.
See more in Saudi Arabia; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft
Tens of millions of Chinese now identify as Christians and the number has grown rapidly, posing challenges for a government that is officially atheist and wary of threats to its power.
See more in China; Religion
Yemen’s mounting internal divisions and a Saudi military intervention have spawned an escalating political, military, and humanitarian crisis. The upheaval has intensified already high tensions in the Middle East.
See more in Yemen; Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights
Nicaragua’s proposed Grand Canal would be one of the world’s largest engineering projects. Its proponents say it could transform the country’s economy, while critics say it could be an environmental catastrophe.
See more in Nicaragua; Infrastructure; Energy and Environment
The United States is currently pursuing two of the largest trade deals in history, the Asia-focused Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the U.S.-EU Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but concerns persist over the effects of trade on employment, inequality, national sovereignty, and safety standards.
See more in United States; Asia and Pacific; Trade
For many foreign policymakers, economic sanctions have become the tool of choice to respond to major geopolitical challenges, from counterterrorism to conflict resolution.
See more in Global; Sanctions
China, India, and Pakistan have relatively small but growing nuclear arms programs. This nuclear competition is raising concern because of long-simmering tensions and a lack of efforts at minimizing the risk posed by these weapons.
See more in Asia and Pacific; Defense and Security
Though polio had nearly been eradicated, the virus is on the rise amid an increase in violence against vaccine workers in conflict zones. This Backgrounder examines the challenges to eradicating the disease.
See more in Global; Pakistan; Public Health Threats and Pandemics
Hong Kong has certain political and economic freedoms based on China's "one country, two systems." This Backgrounder explores the Hong Kong-mainland relationship and the city's political evolution.
See more in China; Hong Kong; Political Movements and Protests; Democratization
Military power has reemerged as an important component of Russian foreign policy, which some believe aims to reestablish Russian hegemony in the region, explains this Backgrounder.
See more in Russian Federation; Military Leadership; Defense Strategy
The 2014 Ebola outbreak that killed thousands in West Africa has spurred new efforts to improve regional health-care systems and global responses.
See more in Africa (sub-Saharan); Health
Calls for lifting U.S. controlling on energy exports are mounting as production nears a forty-five-year high.
See more in North America; Energy and Environment
Tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors, mostly from Central America, are arriving in the United States illegally, adding severe stress to an immigration system already in need of major overhaul.
See more in Latin America and the Caribbean; North America; Immigration
The recently reconstituted G7 is poised to serve as a forum for highly industrialized democracies to coordinate economic, security, and energy policy, but critics say that its membership is outdated, undermining its relevance to global governance.
See more in Europe; United States; International Organizations and Alliances
An escalating migration crisis driven by conflict, persecution, and poverty is vexing European authorities still grappling with their own economic and political challenges, explains this Backgrounder.
See more in EU; Middle East and North Africa; Migration
Months after protests rocked Caracas, plummeting oil prices now add to Venezuela's economic woes. The sharp reduction in oil revenue, paired with double-digit inflation, has sparked fears of a default.
See more in Venezuela; Economics; Political Movements and Protests
An intense international debate over who manages parts of the Internet's technical infrastructure is likely to feed a broader discussion of Internet-related public policy.
See more in Global; Internet Policy
Tech and auto companies in the United States, Europe, and Asia are moving forward rapidly with efforts to develop driverless cars and street networks. The benefits appear tantalizing, but roadblocks loom.
See more in Global; Technology and Science
Russian aggression in Ukraine is breathing new life into the Cold War–era security alliance, prompting allies to reinforce defenses in Eastern Europe.
See more in NATO; Europe; North America; Military Operations