Explainers

  • The costs of hosting the Olympics have skyrocketed, while the economic benefits are far from clear. The 2024 Paris Olympics could be a test of whether reforms to the process have made hosting a better deal.
  • Military experience gained from fighting in Syria’s civil war and decades of clashes with Israel have strengthened the Iran-backed group, but politically, its clout among Lebanon’s populace may be waning.
  • Hobbled by foreign interventions, political instability, and natural disasters, the former French colony is paralyzed by multiple crises.
  • The Group of Seven (G7) has been a forum to coordinate global policy for fifty years, but experts are increasingly questioning the group’s relevance.
  • The United Kingdom appears poised for a political shift in response to deep economic concerns, but its foreign policy priorities are likely to remain consistent.
  • More than a year into the civil war in Sudan, over nine million people have been displaced, exacerbating an already devastating humanitarian crisis.
  • Organized labor saw a historic resurgence in activity in 2023. Shifting U.S. trade policy under both Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden could continue to prioritize workers regardless of who wins in November.
  • Far-right advances in the European Parliament elections have destabilized politics in France, a longstanding pillar of the European Union, and highlighted fault lines in the bloc.
  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) wraps its seventy-fifth summit, pledging to keep Ukraine on an “irreversible” path to membership while concerns grow about the future of U.S. commitment; Japan hosts the tenth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting to counter China’s influence in the region; France struggles to form a government as party differences intensify; and President-Elect Masoud Pezeshkian raises hopes for possible change in Iran.   
  • Matthias Matthijs, senior fellow for Europe at CFR and associate professor of international political economy at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, and Daniela Schwarzer, a member of the executive board of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, sit down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the results and consequences of the snap elections in France and the United Kingdom. 
  • This special episode of The World Next Week features a summerlong feast of reading, watching, and listening treats. Deborah Amos, the Ferris Professor of Journalism in Residence at Princeton University and a former international correspondent for National Public Radio, joins CFR’s TWNW hosts Robert McMahon and Carla Anne Robbins to discuss good reads they recommend, books they are looking forward to reading, and other entertainment they are enjoying this summer.
  • 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?  
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The quadrennial U.S. presidential nominating conventions often focus on domestic themes. But they have at times been flavored by global economic concerns and national security threats, offering competing Democratic and Republican visions about the United States’ role in the world. In the 2024 race, Democratic incumbent Joe Biden and his challenger, Republican Donald Trump, are projecting starkly different worldviews.
  • Disputes over overlapping exclusive economic zones in the South China Sea have intensified in recent decades, while the territorial row over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea dates back to the nineteenth century.