Explainers

  • Differences over Taiwan’s status have fueled rising tensions between the island and the mainland. And Taiwan has the potential to be a flash point in U.S.-China relations.
  • Comprehensive immigration reform has eluded Congress for years, moving controversial policy decisions into the executive and judicial branches of government.
  • Water scarcity threatens the health and development of communities around the globe. Climate change is intensifying the problem, pushing governments to find more innovative, collaborative ways to address water stress.
  • World powers continue to punish North Korea with economic sanctions, but the pressure has so far failed to push Pyongyang toward denuclearization.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin hosts Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Sochi; U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to Cambodia, the Philippines, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda; and Kenya elects a new president amid a severe drought and the global inflation crisis.  
  • James M. Lindsay sits down with Bonnie S. Glaser, director of the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, to discuss House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and its impact on U.S.-China relations.
  • A Moscow court considers the case of Marina Ovsyannikova, a Russian reporter who protested the invasion of Ukraine; China celebrates the ninety-fifth anniversary of its People’s Liberation Army amid growing tensions with the United States; and UN member states meet in New York to discuss the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.
  • The debate over gun laws has raged in Washington for decades, often reigniting after high-profile mass shootings. In mid-2022, Congress passed a rare, compromise gun control bill, but critics say it still leaves the United States with some of the loosest gun laws in the world. Here’s how the United States and some other advanced democracies have responded to gun violence.
  • After the British government handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997, Beijing promised to let the city keep its capitalist economy and some of its democratic freedoms under the “one country, two systems” approach. However, Hong Kong’s future looks grim as Beijing increasingly cracks down on protests, free press, and dissent.
  • In 2022, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates seventy years on the throne. With Barbados the latest country to sever its ties to the British Crown, debate over whether to stay in the Commonwealth is spreading across the Caribbean. Why are countries choosing to leave, and what could that mean for the future of the monarchy?
  • As part of its commitment to diversity and inclusion, CFR celebrates a decade of hosting the annual Conference on Diversity in International Affairs (CDIA) in collaboration with the Global Access Pipeline and the International Career Advancement Program.
  • The International Olympic Committee says the games are not meant to be political. But governments and athletes have frequently used the Olympics to make statements through boycotts and protests.
  • For more than a century, countries have wrestled with how to improve international cooperation in the face of major outbreaks of infectious diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic, which brought the world to a near halt in 2020 and has killed more than six million people, underscores the urgency.
  • Japan experienced unparalleled destruction by U.S. military forces during World War II, resulting in its complete capitulation. Washington played a decisive role in Tokyo’s postwar transition and reconstruction, but the legacy of Japan’s imperial wartime actions continues to be a source of tension with its Asia-Pacific neighbors.
  • The Kurds are one of the world’s largest peoples without a state, making up sizable minorities in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Their century-old quest for independence is marked by marginalization and persecution.