In Briefs

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

In Brief Filters and Cards

United States
Why Biden Is Restarting the Trump-Era ‘Remain in Mexico’ Program
Tens of thousands of migrants have been sent back to Mexico under the Trump-era program. President Biden calls it “inhumane” but has so far been unable to end it.
Why China’s Global Image Is Getting Worse
The Chinese government’s increasingly aggressive diplomacy has hurt its image in much of the world. It’s unlikely to improve anytime soon.
Can U.S.-Russia Diplomacy Ease Ukraine Tensions?
Russia has demanded security guarantees that U.S. and NATO officials cannot accept, but there could still be room for building a sustainable dialogue on European security.
Terrorism and Counterterrorism
A Year After January 6, Is Accelerationism the New Terrorist Threat?
Far-right extremists are attempting to incite an insurrection to hasten the downfall of what they see as a deeply corrupt U.S. government. Some could resort to deadly acts of terrorism.
The Russia-Ukraine Crisis: A Scorecard on Biden’s Response
U.S. officials have preserved NATO unity in the face of Russian military threats, but they have not yet defined a clear negotiating agenda—or put Moscow on the rhetorical defensive.
What Is the Defense Production Act?
Presidents Trump and Biden have turned to the Defense Production Act to procure critical medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. What does the law do?
North Korea
How Kim Jong-un Advanced North Korea’s Military in a Decade
Kim Jong-un’s first ten years as North Korea’s leader were marked by economic failures, halting nuclear diplomacy, and a steady ramp-up of military power.
The Olympics Are Hard on the Environment. Will the 2022 Beijing Games Continue the Trend?
The Olympics are becoming less sustainable, and the winter games in Beijing are no exception. Can organizers make them more environmentally friendly as the climate crisis intensifies?
Middle East and North Africa
What’s the Future of the Iran Nuclear Talks?
Iran’s new negotiating team signaled few compromises as it resumed talks over freezing its nuclear program amid reports of new uranium enrichment efforts.
The Debate Over Boycotting the 2022 Beijing Olympics
The Biden administration is imposing a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing. What could a boycott accomplish, and how might China respond?
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Is Bosnia on the Verge of Conflict?
Separatist rhetoric among Bosnian Serb leadership is raising concerns about the dissolution of Bosnia. It’s part of a nationalist wave across the Balkans that threatens a return of ethnic conflict.
The Transatlantic Relationship Could Make or Break Biden’s Summit for Democracy
President Biden’s goal of bolstering democracies around the world will need robust U.S.-Europe cooperation to succeed.
United Kingdom
Queen Elizabeth II Is the Monarch of Fifteen Countries. What Does That Mean?
Queen Elizabeth II is the monarch of fourteen countries in addition to the United Kingdom. Barbados’s transition to a republic has revived debate over the future of the Crown.
COVID-19 Vaccinations: Visualizing a Year of Global Progress and Inequity
It’s been almost a year since the first COVID-19 vaccines were approved, and half of the world is at least partly vaccinated. Now, the emergence of the omicron variant is underscoring the risks of uneven distribution.
Energy and Environment
Biden Wants to Increase U.S. Offshore Wind Energy. Can He Do It?
The Biden administration has unveiled plans to dramatically ramp up the nation’s offshore wind industry to help fulfill U.S. climate pledges. How realistic is the roadmap?