The UN conference on climate change that begins December 7 in Copenhagen is supposed to produce new targets for emissions reductions, but experts say major countries are at odds on the ultimate goal of a new framework. This backgrounder looks at some of their positions.
Despite concerns over Iran's nuclear program, the Obama administration has assessed that Tehran is years from a developing a long-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon. But past Iranian secrecy and testing bombast have led some experts to remain skeptical of Tehran's capabilities and ambitions.
The United States has pursued missile defense technologies for six decades, with mixed results. Changes under the Obama administration, including adjustments to planned defenses in Europe, could portend a new direction.
The African Union succeeded the old Organization for African Unity (OAU) in 2002. Since then, the new institution has struggled to reform governing bodies inherited from the OAU while shouldering challenging new peacekeeping missions.
Opposition victory in Japan's 2009 parliamentary election served as a watershed moment in the country's electoral politics. Analysts say political change in Tokyo could result in a possible shift in its close relationship with the United States, especially in security matters.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) are Colombia's two predominant rebel groups. While both have been depleted in recent years, they remain destabilizing forces.
India's growing economic and political influence in Afghanistan has angered Pakistan, the traditional power there, and has experts worried that Afghanistan could become another battleground in the long-standing rivalry between South Asia's two giants.
The crisis following Iran's presidential vote cast a new light on the country's hotly contested media space. A crackdown has limited independent reporting but other sources remain as channels for dissent.
Brazil's economic dynamism has given it a stronger voice on global tradeand energy issues. Experts say Washington can advance its regional interests more effectively through a more sophisticated relationship with Brazil.
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.