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

Ukraine
German and U.S. Tanks Will Be Critical in Ukraine’s Next Phase Against Russia
The main battle tanks that the United States and Germany have agreed to provide Ukraine will help its forces punch through Russian fortifications and retake lost territory.
Cybersecurity
The U.S. Government Banned TikTok From Federal Devices. What’s Next?
The ban was enacted due to growing national security concerns related to China. Critics say there are more effective ways to protect U.S. data privacy.
Ukraine
The West Is Sending Light Tanks to Ukraine. Will They Make a Difference?
Ukraine is set to receive dozens of light tanks from the United States, France, and Germany. How will these weapons bolster Ukraine’s defense against Russia?
Iran
Iran Isn’t the Only Country With Morality Police
Multiple countries have special police that enforce Islamic moral codes. Here’s how Iran’s morality police compare to other forces with the same goals.
Brazil
Lula Is Back. What Does That Mean for Brazil?
President-Elect Lula will soon take office in Brazil, more than a decade after his second term ended. What’s in store for this third Lula administration?
Technology and Innovation
What Does the Cryptocurrency Decline Mean for Bitcoin Countries?
El Salvador and the Central African Republic have made Bitcoin legal tender, but market volatility has undermined the experiment.
Peru
Why Was Peru’s President Impeached?
The impeachment of President Pedro Castillo Terrones marks Peru’s latest political crisis. As violent protests extend into their second week, what’s in store for the Andean nation?
Immigration and Migration
Climate Change Is Fueling Migration. Do Climate Migrants Have Legal Protections?
As climate change makes some parts of the earth uninhabitable, a climate migration crisis looms that international law is not prepared to address.
European Union
The EU Needs Alternatives to Russian Energy. Here’s the Plan.
Europe has long been reliant on Russian natural gas, but the war in Ukraine is forcing governments to look for different energy sources. 
Climate Change
COP27 Didn’t Make Enough Progress to Prevent Climate Catastrophe
The UN climate summit delivered on a loss and damage fund, but it fell short on goals to reduce emissions and avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
Iran
Do Iran’s Women Protesters Have the Power to Topple the Regime?
Despite limits to their political and social power, Iranian women are leading protests that could jeopardize the regime.
COVID-19
When Will COVID-19 Become Endemic?
Government leaders are optimistic that COVID-19 is becoming endemic, meaning more predictable and manageable. But many scientists say it’s too soon to behave like the pandemic is over.
Germany
Germany’s China Policy: Has It Learned From Its Dependency on Russia?
The German economy remains heavily dependent on China, its largest trading partner, despite mounting geopolitical tensions between the West and Beijing.
Venezuela
Do U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela Work?
Given Venezuela’s urgent humanitarian needs and the global energy crunch, Washington is considering easing sanctions on Caracas in exchange for democratic reforms.
North Korea
North Korea Has Escalated Its Military Provocations. Here’s Why.
North Korea seeks to exploit major-power rivalries and weaken U.S.-South Korea ties with its ramped-up missile testing. Already, it has ratcheted up nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula to their highest level in years.