Backgrounders

Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

Renewing America

Renewing America

Gasoline Prices

Author: Toni Johnson

With the Middle East unrest ongoing and the global economy recovering, gasoline prices are rising considerably. But policies to ease U.S. consumer impact take time and policymakers are divided over the course of action.

See more in United States; Oil; Energy Policy

Hamas

Author: Zachary Laub

Hamas is the main Palestinian armed resistance group, but the Islamist movement has struggled with governance since assuming control of Gaza.

See more in Israel; Palestine; Terrorism

Poland's Economic Model

Author: Christopher Alessi

Poland has maintained economic growth despite the global financial crisis and eurozone woes, while asserting itself as a leading advocate for greater European integration.

See more in Economic Development; Poland

Author: Steven J. Markovich

Spending on research and development is cited as important to a globally competitive economy. But a crucial U.S. advantage appears to be eroding.

See more in United States; Innovation

Deterring Iran's nuclear weapons program is a foreign policy priority for the United States. Candidates for the 2012 presidential elections debate the best options, including a military strike.

See more in Iran; Elections

Amid sluggish growth and high unemployment, the economy has emerged as the central issue of the 2012 presidential campaign, as the candidates debate the role of government in jumpstarting the economy and creating jobs.

See more in Elections; United States

U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney accuse China of currency manipulation and unfair trade practices and support an expanded U.S. presence in Asia, but Romney dismisses the president's efforts as inadequate.

See more in Elections; United States