Explainers

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The United States and its allies have imposed broad economic penalties on Russia over its war in Ukraine. As the conflict continues, experts debate whether the sanctions are working.
  • The leading UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees is engulfed in allegations that twelve of its employees were involved in the Hamas attacks on southern Israel. The agency faces severe funding cutbacks, with huge consequences for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. 
  • New U.S. Census Bureau data shows the United States importing more goods from Mexico than from China. Will the shift change the global trading landscape?
  • A failure by the United States to continue military aid to Ukraine would spell disaster for Ukraine and its Western allies while emboldening Russia and other potential aggressors.
  • Ukraine marks the second anniversary of Russia’s large-scale invasion; the World Trade Organization (WTO) holds its thirteenth ministerial conference in Abu Dhabi amid deep uncertainty about progress on dispute settlement system reform; U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to Argentina and Brazil to forge stronger U.S.-South America ties; and the World Health Organization raises alarm about the situation at the Gaza Strip’s Nasser Hospital.
  • Miriam Elder, the Edward R. Murrow press fellow at CFR, and Carla Anne Robbins, a senior fellow at CFR and co-host of CFR’s The World Next Week podcast, sit down with James M. Lindsay to discuss where the war between Russia and Ukraine is headed as it enters its third year. 
  • World leaders gather for the sixtieth Munich Security Conference with growing concerns about a continued war in Ukraine and threats to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) cohesion; the African Union holds its annual summit as multiple crises mount, including armed conflict and democratic blacksliding; Kim Jong Un increases aggressive language and acts as North Korea prepares to celebrate the late father and leader Kim Jong Il’s birthday; and former Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is nominated to lead a coalition government as the new prime minister.
  • The Center for Preventive Action’s Global Conflict Tracker is an interactive guide to ongoing conflicts around the world of concern to the United States.
  • Most countries still have laws that make it harder for women to work than men. This inequality shortchanges not only women but also entire economies.
  • Japan's constitutional debate is about not simply the document's past but also the nation's ability to respond to twenty-first-century challenges.
  • The Digital and Cyberspace Policy program’s cyber operations tracker is a database of the publicly known state-sponsored incidents that have occurred since 2005. Know of an incident not listed in the…
  • 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?