In Briefs

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

In Brief Filters and Cards

Digital Policy
Social Media and Online Speech: How Should Countries Regulate Tech Giants?
Social media has been blamed for spreading disinformation and contributing to violence around the world. What are companies and governments doing about it?
Afghanistan
U.S. Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan: What Are Biden’s Options?
U.S. troops are supposed to leave by May 1, according to a U.S.-Taliban agreement. But a complete withdrawal could be disastrous.
Middle East and North Africa
How Severe Is Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis?
Yemen was suffering one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Then the pandemic struck. Now famine is looming, and signals of changing U.S. policy are being closely watched for how that could affect essential aid.
Transition 2021
Countering Violent Extremism: Three Moves Biden Should Make Now
The United States should implement a broad-based strategy to counter the growing threat of violent extremism at home and abroad. Here are three items the Biden administration can focus on.
Coronavirus
What Is the Defense Production Act?
Presidents Trump and Biden have turned to the Defense Production Act to deal with a shortage of critical medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. What does the law do?
North Korea
What Kind of North Korea Will Biden Face?
North Korea will likely continue to develop its nuclear program, but Kim Jong-un could return to negotiations if the United States makes concessions.
Russia
Putin vs. Navalny: Can Russia’s Protesters Prevail?
The Putin regime remains strong, but nationwide protests in support of Alexei Navalny are the most serious challenge to it in years.
Pharmaceuticals and Vaccines
What to Know About the Global COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout So Far
Several countries stand out for their success in delivering coronavirus vaccinations, while most of the world is struggling to figure out how to get immunizations into more arms.
Transition 2021
Biden’s First Foreign Policy Move: Reentering International Agreements
Biden has moved to rejoin the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization. They likely won’t be the last international agreements and institutions that the United States reenters.
Transition 2021
The Biden-Harris Inauguration: A Tense Tableau
The inauguration of President Joe Biden was unlike any U.S. power transition in modern times, providing stark imagery of a country at a crossroads.  
Transition 2021
How Can Corporate Leaders Do More to Defend Democracy?
In the wake of the assault on the U.S. Capitol, corporate leaders have taken a strong stand for democratic institutions. How does this fit into trends of corporate activism, and what comes next?
United States
After Trump, Is American Democracy Doomed by Populism?
The Trump presidency has demonstrated the appeal of populist authoritarianism to many Americans. The way the country responds to the attack on the U.S. Capitol will indicate how long this movement lasts.
Transition 2021
After Trump: What Will Biden Do on Trade?
President Trump disrupted U.S. trade policy in the name of better deals. President-Elect Biden proposes a combination of stronger domestic investment and better coordination with allies.
Coronavirus
How Dangerous Are New COVID-19 Strains?
The global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is underway, but the emergence of new coronavirus strains threatens to make the pandemic far worse before it gets better.
United States
Domestic Terrorism Strikes U.S. Capitol, and Democracy
The breaching of the U.S. Capitol and disruption of the presidential succession by a pro-Trump mob has inflicted lasting damage on the nation’s image as a bastion of democracy. The country should now dedicate itself to rebuilding civil discourse.