Authoritative, accessible, and regularly updated primers on hundreds of foreign policy topics.


Why China-Taiwan Relations Are So Tense

Differences over Taiwan’s status have fueled rising tensions between the island and the mainland. Taiwan has the potential to be a flash point in U.S.-China relations.

Energy and Environment

How the U.S. Oil and Gas Industry Works

The United States is the world’s top producer of oil and natural gas. Its decision to either continue at this pace or curb production to achieve its climate goals will have global consequences.

Explainers Video Filters and Cards

The Economics of Hosting the Olympic Games
The costs of hosting the Olympics have skyrocketed, while the economic benefits are far from clear. The 2024 Paris Olympics could be a test of whether reforms to the process have made hosting a better deal.
What Is Hezbollah?
Military experience gained from fighting in Syria’s civil war and decades of clashes with Israel have strengthened the Iran-backed group, but politically, its clout among Lebanon’s populace may be waning.
Haiti’s Troubled Path to Development
Hobbled by foreign interventions, political instability, and natural disasters, the former French colony is paralyzed by multiple crises.
Diplomacy and International Institutions
What Does the G7 Do?
The Group of Seven (G7) has been a forum to coordinate global policy for fifty years, but experts are increasingly questioning the group’s relevance.
What Are Economic Sanctions?
For many policymakers, economic sanctions have become the tool of choice to respond to major geopolitical challenges such as terrorism and conflict.
What Are Tariffs?
U.S. Presidents Trump and Biden have both turned to tariffs to support local industries amid economic confrontation with China. Here’s how these taxes work and how they’ve been used historically.
United States
How the U.S. Patrols Its Borders
President Joe Biden’s attempts to grapple with a record number of migrants are keeping the role of enforcement at the center of the debate over U.S. asylum, border, and deportation policy.
Military Operations
Sea Power: The U.S. Navy and Foreign Policy
The U.S. Navy’s dominance of the world’s oceans has made it an indispensable foreign policy tool and a guarantor of global trade, but a mix of challenges is raising difficult questions about its future.
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Foreign Policy at the U.S. National Political Conventions
Foreign policy issues regularly come to the fore at the national political conventions, especially during periods of global instability. Sometimes the events are marked by bitter disagreements within the parties.
United States
Seeking Protection: How the U.S. Asylum Process Works
Record numbers of migrants seeking to cross the southern U.S. border are challenging the Joe Biden administration’s attempts to restore asylum protections. Here’s how the asylum process works.
Palestinian Territories
Who Governs the Palestinians?
Power in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the so-called Palestinian territories, has been divided among three entities: a governing body called the Palestinian Authority, the militant group Hamas, and the state of Israel. But as Israel now seeks to destroy Hamas, it is unclear who would administer Gaza instead.
International Criminal Court
The Role of the ICC
The International Criminal Court was created to bring justice to the world’s worst war criminals, but debate over the court still rages.
Religion in China
A significant proportion of China’s population claims to follow a religion. However, the government continues to toughen oversight, increase persecution of some religions, and attempt to co-opt state-sanctioned religious organizations.
The Contentious U.S.-China Trade Relationship
Trade between the world’s two biggest economies has ballooned in recent decades, bringing significant benefits but also perils that have led to calls to rethink the relationship.
Public Health Threats and Pandemics
What Is Avian Flu?
A global surge in avian flu outbreaks in birds and some mammals is worrying poultry farmers, scientists, and health experts. The trend is provoking questions about the future of the disease and global public health.