Explainers

  • Al-Shabab remains capable of carrying out massive attacks in Somalia and nearby countries despite a long-running African Union offensive against the Islamist terrorist group.
  • The swift development of effective vaccines against COVID-19 was an unprecedented scientific achievement. But production challenges, vaccine nationalism, and new variants have all presented hurdles.
  • Trade between the world’s two biggest economies has ballooned in recent decades, bringing significant benefits but also frictions over China’s state-led development and calls to rethink the relationship.
  • The Balkans have long been a source of tension between Russia and the West, with Moscow cultivating allies there as the EU and NATO expand into the region. The war in Ukraine might be shifting the calculus.
  • Sebastian Mallaby, the Paul A. Volcker senior fellow for international economics at the Council and a columnist at the Washington Post, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the likely consequences of the recent U.S. ban on the export of advanced semiconductor chips and technology to China.
  • The UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) takes place in Montreal, Canada; the European Union and Group of Seven (G7) plan to implement price caps and partial embargos on Russian oil to respond to the war in Ukraine; and the Chinese Community Party reacts to nationwide protests over its zero-COVID policy.
  • The 2022 FIFA World Cup has kicked off in Qatar, and billions of fans worldwide are tuning in to the world’s most popular live event. And yet as in years past, the Qatar Cup is transpiring under the shadow of controversy.
  • 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.
  • This tracker shows how the Belt and Road Initiative changed countries’ bilateral economic relationships with China over time.
  • More than a year after President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination, Haiti remains embroiled in a humanitarian crisis. Economic and political instability persist, and a surge in gang-related violence in and around the capital, Port-au-Prince, has displaced tens of thousands of people. World leaders are now debating whether to send troops to help restore basic governance in the country. What does the future hold for Haiti?
  • With the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, it’s up to states to decide their own abortion laws. Watch to see what has changed so far in the United States and how it compares with other countries on abortion access.  
  • As King Charles III ascends to the British throne after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Commonwealth countries are debating whether to follow Barbados, which broke ties with the Crown in 2021. Why are countries choosing to leave the monarchy, and what could that mean for its future?
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led European governments to propose bans on Russian oil and gas, but rising energy costs and a lack of alternatives are undermining the effort. Here’s how Europe has been challenged by Russia’s leverage in the energy market.
  • In March 2003, U.S. forces invaded Iraq vowing to destroy Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and end the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein. When WMD intelligence proved illusory and a violent insurgency arose, the war lost public support. Saddam was captured, tried, and hanged and democratic elections were held. In the years since, there have been over 4,700 U.S. and allied troop deaths, and more than one hundred thousand Iraqi civilians have been killed. Meanwhile, questions linger over Iraq's fractious political situation.
  • Since 1992, when the United Nations recognized climate change as a serious issue, negotiations among countries have produced notable accords, such as the Paris Agreement. But leaders have struggled to maintain momentum and failed to slow global temperature rise.
  • The United States and China have one of the world’s most important and complex bilateral relationships. Since 1949, the countries have experienced periods of both tension and cooperation over issues including trade, climate change, and Taiwan.