Explainers

In Briefs

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

In Brief Filters and Cards

Hong Kong
Is Hong Kong Still Autonomous? What to Know About China’s New Laws
Beijing’s new national security legislation could effectively end Hong Kong’s promised semiautonomy.
Treaties and Agreements
Open Skies: Another Dying Arms Control Agreement?
A pending U.S. withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies has alarmed some allies in Europe, who fear losing a valuable means of monitoring Russia.
Lebanon
What’s Driving Lebanon’s Midpandemic Protests?
An unprecedented financial and political crisis has sparked mass protests in Lebanon, but a nonresponsive government and the coronavirus pandemic could stand in the way of demonstrators’ demands.
Economic Crises
How Will Aviation Giants Emerge From the Pandemic?
The coronavirus has cut into few industries more deeply than aviation and aerospace, putting some strategically important companies in dire financial straits.
Coronavirus
Comparing Coronavirus Lockdowns: The Federal-Local Divide
The United States is one of the few leading economies to delegate responsibility for coronavirus restrictions to state and local governments.
Coronavirus
A Double Pandemic: Domestic Violence in the Age of COVID-19
Governments worldwide have imposed lockdowns to contain the coronavirus, but those same restrictions have increased the risks associated with domestic violence, especially for women, children, and LGBTQ+ individuals.
Puerto Rico
The Coronavirus Challenge for Puerto Rico
The coronavirus is delivering yet another heavy blow to natural disaster–prone Puerto Rico, threatening to deepen the U.S. territory’s economic and social crisis.
Russia
Will the Pandemic Weaken Russia’s ‘Deep State’—or Make It Stronger Still?
As Putin tries to manage Russia’s coronavirus outbreak, the national security bureaucracy faces challenges and opportunities of its own.
Asia
Trash Trade Wars: Southeast Asia’s Problem With the World’s Waste
China’s decision to ban most trash imports has left waste-exporting countries in the lurch and Southeast Asian landfills overflowing.
Iran
Iran’s Perplexing Pandemic Response
Iran has suffered one of the most severe coronavirus outbreaks and remains highly vulnerable as a result of official missteps and misinformation.
Coronavirus
Why Countries Are Giving People Cash Amid the Pandemic
The United States is not alone in giving millions of people stimulus checks. Dozens of countries are also using cash transfer programs to help people cope with the pandemic’s economic toll.
Arctic
What’s at Stake With Rising Competition in the Arctic?
A changing climate and growing competition for resources is raising tensions among Arctic nations.
Coronavirus
What Is the Defense Production Act?
President Trump has turned to the Defense Production Act to deal with a shortage of critical medical supplies created by the coronavirus pandemic. What does the law do?
United States
Coronavirus and Farmworkers: Is the Food Supply at Risk?
Foreign farmworkers, many of them undocumented, face unique risks due to the coronavirus pandemic. Their struggles reveal vulnerabilities in the U.S. food system.
Coronavirus
India: Fighting Coronavirus in an Informal Economy
India has so far prevented a major outbreak of the coronavirus, but the trade-off in doing so has meant hardship for those in the vast informal economy.