Explainers

  • Hobbled by foreign interventions, political instability, and natural disasters, the former French colony has long suffered from underdevelopment.
  • The Taliban have returned to power in Afghanistan twenty years after their ouster by U.S. troops, sparking concerns that they will impose harsh rule, neglect to provide basic services, and abuse human rights.
  • The U.S. health agency regulates the country’s foods and drugs, among other products. The COVID-19 pandemic and controversy over vaccines and treatments have highlighted the FDA’s role.
  • Opioid addiction in the United States has become a prolonged epidemic, threatening not only public health but economic output and national security.
  • With Chancellor Angela Merkel stepping down after sixteen years in office, the leadership of Germany, and the EU, is wide open. What is Merkel’s legacy, and what comes next?
  • Since the Myanmar military seized power in February, it has overseen economic collapse, mishandled the COVID-19 pandemic, murdered hundreds of people, and set the stage for the state to fail.
  • Members of Egypt’s jihadi movement played important roles in inspiring and plotting the 9/11 attacks. Egypt still struggles with some of the factors that gave rise to such extremism.
  • Experts expect that most new Afghan refugees will flee to neighboring Iran and Pakistan, where hundreds of thousands of Afghans already reside.
  • The events of September 11, 2001, set in motion sweeping changes to U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism practices, launched two major wars, and altered Americans’ daily routines. This timeline traces three pivotal years whose reverberations continue today.
  • The Taliban surged back to power two decades after U.S.-led forces toppled its regime in what led to the United States’ longest war.
  • Iran’s Islamic revolution, which brought Shias to power in 1979, and the Sunni backlash have fueled a competition for regional dominance. This timeline highlights Sunni-Shia tensions in recent decades.
  • Industrial disasters around the world, many involving multinational corporations, have caused significant health, environmental, and economic damages. Such tragedies have also led to lengthy legal challenges and prompted new global regulations.