Backgrounders

Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

U.S. Drone Activities in Pakistan

Author: Greg Bruno

The reliance on unmanned drones to target terror suspects in Pakistan has been quietly lauded by U.S. officials. But the covert program, which has so far gotten little public scrutiny, is facing mounting legal and ethical concerns.

See more in Defense Strategy; United States; Pakistan

China-Pakistan Relations

Authors: Jamal Afridi and Jayshree Bajoria

As the United States and India move toward cementing their warmest relationship ever, India's rival, Pakistan, is broadening its ties with its own powerful ally: China.

See more in Pakistan; China

Fifteen Nuclear Agendas to Watch

Author: Toni Johnson

The Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty gets underway amid new concerns about Iran and North Korea and disputes between nuclear haves and have-nots. Fifteen countries will play a special role in the debate.

See more in Global Governance; Proliferation

The Four Nuclear Outlier States

Author: Toni Johnson

The countries outside of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty--North Korea, Pakistan, India, and Israel--present a significant challenge for U.S. diplomacy and efforts to restrain the spread of nuclear weapons, experts say.

See more in Global Governance; Proliferation

Pakistan's Constitution

Author: Jayshree Bajoria

Pakistan's constitution continues to be the focus of political struggle, with the nation's prime minister, president, regional governments, and army vying for advantage.

See more in Pakistan; Rule of Law; Elections

State Sponsors: Cuba

The U.S. State Department continues to list Cuba as a state sponsor of terror, though most experts say the country no longer poses a threat to U.S. national security.

See more in State Sponsors of Terrorism; Cuba

Iran's Nuclear Program

Author: Greg Bruno

Iran's nuclear program is believed to have steadily progressed, despite sharply increased concerns over its intentions and sanctions over its lack of transparency.

See more in Iran; Proliferation

The Stimulus Report Card

Author: Roya Wolverson

The Obama administration says its 2009 stimulus package saved jobs and boosted growth, but Republicans and some economists worry it dampened consumer and business spending and added to long-term debt.

See more in Monetary Policy; United States

Alternative Views on Climate Change

Author: Toni Johnson

Debating global warming policy has moved to the top of agendas worldwide, but some skeptics still question whether action is necessary or possible.

See more in Climate Change