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

United Nations
The UN Security Council
The UN Security Council is the premier global body for maintaining international peace and security, but it faces steady calls for reform to better meet twenty-first-century challenges.
United Kingdom
Moving Past the Troubles: The Future of Northern Ireland Peace
The Good Friday Agreement has dampened sectarian conflict and brought stability to Northern Ireland, but the peace deal has been challenged by Brexit-related border tensions that have thrown the region’s hard-won gains into doubt.
United States
The U.S. Vice President and Foreign Policy
Modern vice presidents can trace much of their political influence to the broad reforms that Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale made to the second-highest elected office in the late 1970s.
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.
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.
Argentina’s Struggle for Stability
Argentina has struggled with political dysfunction and financial crises for decades. What could firebrand President Javier Milei mean for Argentina’s economy and role in the world?
Somaliland: The Horn of Africa’s Breakaway State
The would-be independent state strikes a contrast with Somalia as a place of relative stability, and despite its lack of international recognition, Somaliland continues to push its own foreign policy.
Technology and Innovation
The Crypto Question: Bitcoin, Digital Dollars, and the Future of Money
The dizzying rise of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has created new challenges for governments and central banks. Increasing popularity and high levels of market volatility have raised the stakes of the digital asset experiment.
Sub-Saharan Africa
Russia’s Growing Footprint in Africa
African governments have increasingly welcomed economic, diplomatic, and security ties with Russia—leading Western countries to denounce what they see as Moscow’s destabilizing influence and seek their own, more equal partnerships.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
What Is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
Artificial intelligence breakthroughs promise unprecedented opportunity but also economic, political, and social disruption. Experts say AI needs oversight to ensure the changes it engenders are for the better.
Venezuela: The Rise and Fall of a Petrostate
Venezuela’s ongoing descent into economic and political chaos is a cautionary tale of the dangerous influence that resource wealth can have on developing countries.
Public Health Threats and Pandemics
Fentanyl and the U.S. Opioid Epidemic
Opioid addiction has become one of the United States’ biggest killers, endangering public health, the economy, and national security. But closing the floodgates on fentanyl poses a significant foreign policy challenge.
Latin America
Mercosur: South America’s Fractious Trade Bloc
Three decades after its founding, Latin America’s largest trade bloc continues to deal with internal divisions, including over a stalled trade deal with the European Union. New leadership in Argentina and Brazil could shake things up.
The Role of Peacekeeping in Africa
Africa continues to have more peacekeeping missions than any other continent. As conflict-stricken countries increasingly look outside the United Nations for support, experts say reforms are necessary to improve peacebuilding.
International Organizations
What Is the IMF?
The International Monetary Fund, both criticized and lauded for its efforts to promote financial stability, continues to find itself at the forefront of global economic crisis management.