Explainers

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ukraine pushes for wider international support and endorsement of its proposed peace process at Switzerland’s Ukraine peace summit; the UN Security Council deliberates how to assist Sudanese civilians and de-escalate the civil war; diplomatic pressure builds for a U.S.-backed cease-fire deal in the Gaza Strip; and Russian ships arrive in Cuban waters for exercises. 
  • Liana Fix, a fellow for Europe at the CFR, and Matthias Matthijs, senior fellow for Europe at CFR and associate professor of international political economy at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, sit down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the results and consequences of the 2024 European Parliament elections.
  • All twenty-seven European Union (EU) member states vote in European Parliament elections with polls showing right-wing parties poised to gain more seats; the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrial democracies meet in Italy with a sizable agenda, including support for Ukraine and trade concerns with China; the United States prepares for an above-normal hurricane season; and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and partner exporters, known as OPEC+, extend oil output cuts.
  • 2023 was a tumultuous year, marked by violent conflicts, democratic erosion, and record-high temperatures. This year, experts at the Council on Foreign Relations, along with visiting world leaders and thinkers, unpacked these issues and more. Join CFR’s director of studies, Jim Lindsay, in looking back at his list of the ten most impactful events of the year.  
  • Taiwan's relationship with the United States, China, and the rest of the world has a complex history that informs why the island is so consequential to today's geopolitics. To better understand these dynamics, David Sacks, CFR's fellow for Asia studies, answers questions about Taiwan's history and its significance to diplomacy in East Asia. For more on the relationship between the United States, China, and Taiwan, check out the Council on Foreign Relations–sponsored Independent Task Force, "U.S.-Taiwan Relations in a New Era". cfr.org/us-taiwan
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) could transform economies, politics, and everyday life. Some experts believe this increasingly powerful technology could lead to amazing advances and prosperity. Yet, many tech and industry leaders are warning that AI poses substantial risks, and they are calling for a moratorium on AI research so that safety measures can be established. But amid mounting great-power competition, it’s unclear whether national governments will be able to coordinate on regulating this technology that offers so many economic and strategic opportunities.
  • Since the end of World War II, nuclear weapons have threatened international relations. The Cold War produced stalemates that seemed to reduce the threat of nuclear conflict, but several countries’ more recent acquisitions of nuclear weapons have brought the world into a dangerous new era of nuclear uncertainty. With nuclear tensions on the rise once again, what lies ahead for nuclear diplomacy?  
  • The quadrennial U.S. presidential nominating conventions often focus on domestic themes. But they have at times been flavored by global economic concerns and national security threats, offering competing Democratic and Republican visions about the United States’ role in the world. In the 2024 race, Democratic incumbent Joe Biden and his challenger, Republican Donald Trump, are projecting starkly different worldviews.
  • Disputes over overlapping exclusive economic zones in the South China Sea have intensified in recent decades, while the territorial row over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea dates back to the nineteenth century.
  • Ukraine has shown resilience and perseverance despite facing multiple challenges and Russian interference since it achieved independence in 1991. Russia’s threats have culminated in the annexation of Crimea and Europe’s biggest land battle in eighty years.