In Briefs

Succinct rundowns on the world’s most important developments, produced by CFR’s scholars and editorial team. 

In Brief Filters and Cards

Biden’s 9/11 Withdrawal From Afghanistan: What to Know
A complete U.S. military withdrawal by September 11, 2021, could allow the Taliban to take over much of Afghanistan.
Middle East and North Africa
The Natanz Blackout: Can the Iran Deal Talks Still Succeed?
Washington and Tehran seem determined to revive the deal that freezes Iran’s nuclear program, despite domestic criticism on both sides and the apparent sabotage of an Iranian facility.
Pharmaceuticals and Vaccines
Vaccine Passports: What to Know
Some governments and businesses are starting to use digital and paper passes that certify a person has been immunized against COVID-19, spurring debate over the ethics of vaccine passports.
Europe and Eurasia
Armenia’s Postwar Crisis: What to Know
Armenia has been riven by disputes over its leadership since its military defeat by Azerbaijan last fall. Newly called elections are unlikely to reconcile the divisions in Armenian society caused by the battlefield losses.
El Salvador
Why Central American Migrants Are Arriving at the U.S. Border
Thousands of people are arriving at the U.S. southern border after fleeing the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. President Biden is reviving efforts to tackle the problems that are prompting them to migrate. 
South Korea
Will the New U.S.-South Korea Deal Boost East Asian Security?
With fresh agreement on sharing costs for the nearly thirty thousand U.S. troops in South Korea, the Biden administration can now focus on bolstering the alliance and addressing challenges posed by China and North Korea.
Nuclear Energy
The Fukushima Disaster Didn’t Scare the World Off Nuclear Power
In fact, experts say the fight against climate change could spark a nuclear energy revival.
How Japan Is Upgrading Its Military
Prime Minister Suga will keep working to upgrade Japan’s military amid increasing pressures from China, North Korea, and Russia.
United States
Can the State Department Bring More Diversity to the U.S. Diplomatic Corps?
President Biden has vowed to diversify the top ranks of government agencies. The small and shrinking number of senior Black diplomats, in particular, could undermine U.S. foreign policy goals.
United States
Migrants at the U.S. Border: How Biden’s Approach Differs From Trump’s
President Biden is adopting a different approach than his predecessor to an increasing number of migrants who are arriving at the southern border after fleeing hardship in their home countries.
United States
Breaking Down Biden’s Immigration Actions Through Abbreviations
Abbreviations are a fixture of U.S. immigration policy. CFR explains some of the most commonly referenced agencies, policies, and programs, and what President Biden is doing about them.
The Conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region: What to Know
The military campaign has resulted in a humanitarian crisis and fears of regional instability. A path forward will require international cooperation, careful diplomacy, and an inclusive political process that restores confidence among the country’s diverse population.
Digital Policy
Social Media and Online Speech: How Should Countries Regulate Tech Giants?
Social media has been blamed for spreading disinformation and contributing to violence around the world. What are companies and governments doing about it?
U.S. Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan: What Are Biden’s Options?
U.S. troops are supposed to leave by May 1, according to a U.S.-Taliban agreement. But a complete withdrawal could be disastrous.
Middle East and North Africa
How Severe Is Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis?
Yemen was suffering one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Then the pandemic struck. Now famine is looming, and signals of changing U.S. policy are being closely watched for how that could affect essential aid.