Backgrounders

Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

China in Africa

Authors: Christopher Alessi and Beina Xu

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.

See more in China; Africa (sub-Saharan); Oil; Trade

Governance in India: Women's Rights

Author: Beina Xu

Several high-profile sexual assault cases in India have sparked a national debate over women's rights and the need for social reform in a rapidly modernizing country.


See more in India; Women

Afghanistan's National Security Forces

Author: Greg Bruno

The growth and strengthening of Afghanistan's domestic security forces is seen as key to an eventual U.S. exit, but some analysts caution that progress will remain slow.

See more in Afghanistan; NATO

Eric H. Holder Jr., Attorney General

Author: Joanna Klonsky, Associate Editor

President Barack Obama's attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., has criticized some of the Bush administration's counter-terrorism moves, calling for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center and bans on torture.

See more in Counterterrorism; United States

Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State

Author: Joanna Klonsky, Associate Editor

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a senator and former First Lady, has offered a tough pragmatism on national security matters and called for reviving U.S. credibility in the world.

See more in Diplomacy and Statecraft