Explainers

In Briefs

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

In Brief Filters and Cards

Labor and Employment
Labor Unions Are Getting Stronger. What Does That Mean for the U.S. Economy?
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.
France
How Will the EU Elections Results Change Europe?
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.
Lebanon
What Escalating Hezbollah-Israel Tensions and the War in Gaza Mean for Lebanon
Already hobbled by economic struggles, Lebanon now faces the prospect of war as the militant group and political party Hezbollah clashes with Israel in apparent support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Myanmar
How Myanmar Became a Global Center for Cyber Scams
Organized crime groups in Southeast Asia have seized on Myanmar’s instability amid civil war to establish a string of scam centers engaged in global online fraud operations.
United States
Why Biden Wants to Block the Nippon-U.S. Steel Deal
A proposed Japanese takeover of U.S. Steel is facing domestic political pushback that could challenge Biden administration foreign policy aims.  
Israel
What Israel’s Political Landscape Says About the Course of the War in Gaza
Amid the many uncertainties surrounding Israel’s endgame in Gaza, views among the public and leading officials indicate that Israel is preparing for a protracted war despite growing calls to accept a cease-fire.
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Few Options for Gazans as Israel Enters Rafah
An impending Israeli ground invasion of Rafah could threaten more than a million civilians seeking refuge in the city and further restrict humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.
Maldives
The Maldives Is Moving Toward China. Here’s What to Know.
Once a close Indian partner, the Maldives is now aligning more with China. Is the island nation becoming a flash point in the China-India relationship? 
United States
What Is the CHIPS Act?
Extraordinary U.S. government incentives are proving popular with many large chipmakers, but it is too early to tell how much of the semiconductor industry can be lured back to the United States.  
Egypt
Can Egypt’s Economic Overhaul Stave Off Crisis?
International lenders have pumped tens of billions of dollars into Egypt’s faltering economy amid the war in the Gaza Strip, but experts say the country’s economic crisis is not yet resolved.
Sudan
What Is the Extent of Sudan’s Humanitarian Crisis?
A year into the civil war in Sudan, more than eight million people have been displaced, exacerbating an already devastating humanitarian crisis.
Iran
Iran Attack Means an Even Tougher Balancing Act for the U.S. in the Middle East
The unprecedented Iranian attack on Israel presents U.S. officials with mounting challenges in trying to contain the conflict and maintain a deterrence against Iran and its allies.
Iran
Iran Attacks on Israel Spur Escalation Concerns
The Iranian regime’s first direct attack on Israeli territory could trigger further exchanges between the two sides and raises the most serious risk of regionwide conflict since the Israel-Hamas war began six months ago.
Economics
The IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings: What to Know
The IMF and World Bank’s spring meetings will focus on the prospects for a soft landing after years of global economic turbulence. But major challenges remain, including growing climate finance needs and persistently high global debt levels.
Rwanda
Thirty Years After Rwanda’s Genocide: Where the Country Stands Today
After the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the country has made tremendous strides toward peace and development. But critics say these have come at the cost of political freedoms.