In the face of persistently high unemployment, policymakers and workers look to innovation and entrepreneurship to create new jobs. This Backgrounder discusses how entrepreneurs create and finance the startups that power U.S. job growth, and the ramifications of policies such as the JOBS Act.
NATO has been the foundation of transatlantic security for more than sixty years, but despite its longevity, critics question whether the alliance can stay relevant in the face of emerging threats, limited funding, and debates over its mission.
Since its founding in 1944, the World Bank has evolved from a lender focused on European reconstruction into the preeminent international institution for economicdevelopment and poverty reduction. This Backgrounder examines the Bank's history and role.
As the world's oldest regional body, the Organization of American States has served as a platform for cooperation, but ideological polarization among its members and criticisms of the organization's institutional weakness have raised doubts about its ability to remain relevant.
Most lawmakers agree corporate tax reform is an important step in improving U.S. global economic competitiveness, but a debate over rate levels and whether to tax foreign profits of multinationals remains unresolved.
A surge in pirate attacks off the Somali coast in recent years has prompted the deployment of an international coalition of navies. But experts say that military force alone cannot address the underlying issue of failed Somali governance.
Trade accounts for an increasing portion of the U.S. economy, and the Obama administration has embraced a ramped up export strategy. But debate persists over the merits of a vigorous free trade agenda.
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 Obama administration's 2013 budget plan has revived debate over the sustainability of U.S. spending. This Backgrounder outlines the competing policy paths on fiscal reforms and the global consequences for failing to bring down U.S. debt.
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.
This backgrounder traces the evolution of Nigeria's Islamist group Boko Haram, from a local insurgency fighting to protest crippling poverty, political corruption, and police abuses, to a brutal militant group that's designated by the United States as a terrorist organization.
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.