In Briefs

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

In Brief Filters and Cards

European Union
Merkel’s Legacy and the Future of Germany
With Chancellor Angela Merkel stepping down after sixteen years in office, the leadership of Germany, and the EU, is wide open. What is Merkel’s legacy, and what comes next?
Myanmar
Myanmar Is a Failing State—and Could Be a Danger to Its Neighbors
Since the Myanmar military seized power in February, it has overseen economic collapse, mishandled the COVID-19 pandemic, murdered hundreds of people, and set the stage for the state to fail.
Middle East and North Africa
The Role of Egyptians in the 9/11 Attacks Still Reverberates Today
Members of Egypt’s jihadi movement played important roles in inspiring and plotting the 9/11 attacks. Egypt still struggles with some of the factors that gave rise to such extremism.
Afghanistan
Where Will Afghan Refugees Go?
Experts expect that most new Afghan refugees will flee to neighboring Iran and Pakistan, where hundreds of thousands of Afghans already reside.
Middle East and North Africa
Where Iran Stands on the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan
Iran welcomes the departure of U.S. forces from its eastern neighbor but could have concerns about the potential reemergence of Sunni-Shia tensions with the Taliban back in power.
Monetary Policy
Fed Excitement Mounts: Waiting for Jackson Hole
Higher inflation has sparked a fierce debate among economists and generated enormous interest in the Fed’s response, which has far-reaching implications for the U.S. and global economies.
China
How Will China Deal With the Taliban?
China could become a crucial supporter of Taliban-led Afghanistan, building Beijing’s influence in South and Central Asia as long as the regime in Kabul does not export extremism.
Afghanistan
How the Afghan Army Collapsed Under the Taliban’s Pressure
Despite having larger numbers and better equipment than the Taliban, Afghan forces were never strong enough to sustain government control in the absence of U.S. firepower.
United States
How Will Biden Handle DACA?
The Obama-era policy protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation has faced a raft of legal challenges. It could now be up to the Supreme Court to decide the program’s fate.
Terrorism and Counterterrorism
How Has the Terrorism Threat Changed Twenty Years After 9/11?
The U.S. counterterrorism response to the September 11, 2001, attacks yielded some remarkable successes and disastrous failures in hunting al-Qaeda. The top terrorist threat today, though, is domestic rather than foreign. 
Climate Change
Why NOAA Matters for U.S. Climate Policy
The federal agency tasked with weather forecasting and research has played a growing role in climate policy, but also faced controversy during the Trump administration. What does NOAA do?
Pharmaceuticals and Vaccines
The COVID-19 Vaccination Challenge: Lessons From History
Vaccines are a major public health success story, but the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the many challenges involved in getting a vaccine to everyone who needs it.
COVID-19
Five Graphics That Show the Delta Variant’s Threat
The Delta variant is driving new COVID-19 surges, even as countries around the world make gradual progress in vaccinating their populations. Five graphics show how the strain is taking over and who’s at risk.
Americas
The Assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise: What to Know
The murder of Haiti’s embattled president stands to deepen the country’s political, economic, and humanitarian crisis.
Japan
Here’s Why Tokyo Is Hosting the Summer Olympics Despite COVID-19
The challenge of hosting the Olympic Games in Tokyo amid the coronavirus pandemic has confounded Japan’s government, but postponing the Olympics further does not seem to be an option.