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 State of U.S. Infrastructure
The Joe Biden administration is implementing the largest federal investment in infrastructure in decades. Here’s why infrastructure matters for U.S. economic competitiveness.
Southeast Asia
What Is ASEAN?
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a regional organization that brings together disparate neighbors to address economic and security issues, but the group’s impact remains limited.
Is Industrial Policy Making a Comeback?
The threat of climate change and the rise of China have prompted renewed debate about the U.S. government’s role in shaping the economy.
Climate Change
Global Climate Agreements: Successes and Failures
International efforts, such as the Paris Agreement, aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But experts say countries aren’t doing enough to limit dangerous global warming.
United Nations
What Is the UN General Assembly?
The General Assembly hosts a much-watched debate of world leaders annually. Its 2023 meeting is expected to emphasize climate change, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and the war in Ukraine.
International Criminal Court
The Role of the International Criminal Court
The ICC was created to bring justice to the world’s worst war criminals, but debate over the court still rages.
United Nations
Funding the United Nations: How Much Does the U.S. Pay?
Many UN agencies, programs, and missions receive crucial funding from the United States. The Trump administration sharply reduced funding to some UN agencies, but President Biden has largely reversed those cuts.
United States
Is Rising Student Debt Harming the U.S. Economy?
Higher education provides students many socioeconomic benefits and increases the global competitiveness of the United States, but mounting student loan debt has sparked a debate over federal lending policies.
Latin America
How the Caribbean Is Building Climate Resilience
The Caribbean is already bearing the brunt of climate change. Governments in the region are taking steps to combat it, but are they enough?
United Nations
The Role of the UN Secretary-General
The United Nations’ top leadership position has broad authority to steer the organization’s agenda, but its impact has varied widely since 1946.
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 border enforcement at the center of the U.S. immigration debate.
United States
The Dollar: The World’s Reserve Currency
The dollar’s role as the primary reserve currency for the global economy allows the United States to borrow money more easily and impose painful financial sanctions. Other countries are beginning to consider alternatives.
Latin America
Central America’s Turbulent Northern Triangle
The United States continues to seek strategies for responding to the growing number of migrants fleeing poverty, violence, and other challenges in the Central American region.
Middle East and North Africa
What Is U.S. Policy on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?
The United States has long tried to negotiate a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but several factors, including deep divisions between and within the parties and declining U.S. interest in carrying out its traditional honest-broker role, have hurt the chances of a peace deal.
Middle East and North Africa
Turkey’s Growing Foreign Policy Ambitions
Turkey’s geography and membership in NATO have long given the country an influential voice in foreign policy, but the assertive policies of President Erdogan have complicated its role.