Rail infrastructure is a critical component of a transportation network capable of helping the United States compete in global markets. Efforts to expand and modernize U.S. rail, particularly to include high-speed trains, are under debate as lawmakers weigh costs and benefits.
Targeted killings have become a central component of U.S. counterterrorism operations around the globe. Despite pointed criticism over transparency and accountability issues, analysts say the controversial practice seems likely to expand in the future.
The eurozone, once seen as a crowning achievement in the decades-long path of European integration, is buffeted by a sovereign debt crisis of nations whose membership in the currency union has been poorly policed.
China has increased its economic ties with Africa as it seeks to fulfill its growing energy demands. But China's way of doing business has prompted international criticism, even as its policy of noninterference faces new challenges.
Founded as a loose confederation of states in 1945, the Arab League has struggled to overcome dysfunction and disunity among its members. The Arab revolts of 2011 offer the League a new opportunity to pursue necessary reforms, increase legitimacy, and prove its relevance.
With oil supplies tight, regions most vulnerable to oil supply disruptions present a significant economic concern, particularly threats to the Strait of Hormuz and unrest in Nigeria, explains this Backgrounder.
Kim Jong-il's death has prompted discussion about the future of the isolated country and its nuclear weapons program. Experts cited in this CFR Backgrounder believe a post-Kim regime in North Korea would remain a tough nuclear negotiator.
President Obama vowed in January 2009 to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. Two years later, the White House continues to face challenges to that promise, leaving critics to suggest the facility will remain open for the foreseeable future.
Lawmakers are considering sharp cuts to defense spending as part of mandated deficit-reduction efforts. This Backgrounder discusses the effects of such major cuts and implications for U.S. military strategy.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has emerged as the most dangerous al-Qaeda affiliate, strengthening amid political unrest in Yemen. This Backgrounder examines the group and U.S. counterterrorism operations.
The longstanding U.S.-South Korea alliance, created as a bulwark against a communist North Korea, has expanded to include tighter trade ties and cooperation on global issues from climate change to international development.
NCDs such as cancer and heart disease are becoming leading causes of death in the developing world and will be the focus of a September UN meeting. But health experts and others are divided about how much funding should go into a global campaign aimed at preventing NCDs and whether infectious disease programs will suffer as a result.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.