Explainers

  • Many UN agencies, programs, and missions receive crucial funding from the United States. The Trump administration sharply reduced funding to some UN agencies, but President Biden has largely reversed those cuts.
  • India’s Muslim communities have faced decades of discrimination, which experts say has worsened under the Hindu nationalist BJP’s government.
  • Power in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the so-called Palestinian territories, has been divided among three entities: a governing body called the Palestinian Authority, the militant group Hamas, and the state of Israel. But as Israel now seeks to destroy Hamas, it is unclear who would administer Gaza instead.
  • The UN Security Council is the premier global body for maintaining international peace and security, but it faces steady calls for reform to better meet twenty-first-century challenges.
  • Iranian support has boosted the military prowess of Yemen’s Houthis, helping them project force into the Red Sea. In return, the group has extended the reach of Iran’s anti-West axis of resistance.
  • 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?
  • U.S. President Joe Biden delivers his last State of the Union address before elections to a polarized Congress; Iran holds its first parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections since the 2022 protests sparked by the death of activist Mahsa Amini; Bosnia and Herzegovina marks independence as ethnic divisions fester; and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) welcomes Sweden as its newest member state.
  • Kate Schecter, president and CEO of World Neighbors, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss progress and setbacks in promoting economic development in some of the world’s poorest countries.
  • 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.
  • 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?