In Briefs

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

In Brief Filters and Cards

Cambodia’s Elections: No Surprises, but an Uncertain Leadership Future
Prime Minister Hun Sen retained his grip on power after Cambodia’s stage-managed elections, with his party winning 120 out of 125 seats. But his long-awaited succession plan could create chaos and confusion in the country.
How Frozen Russian Assets Could Pay for Rebuilding in Ukraine
Will Ukraine’s international backers use billions of dollars in seized Russian assets to support rebuilding the war-ravaged country?
South Africa
Will South Africa’s Power Crisis Sink Its Green Ambitions?
A devastating power crisis is plaguing South Africa, battering its economy and threatening to sink its climate goals amid the global race to renewables.
Food and Water Security
Russia Killed the Black Sea Grain Deal. These Countries Could Suffer Most. 
Moscow’s exit from the deal generated alarm in a number of populous lower-income countries dependent on Ukrainian grain.
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s Investments Raise Questions of ‘Sportswashing’
Saudi Arabia has made unprecedented investments in international sports. Critics accuse the kingdom of “sportswashing” its reputation for human rights abuses.
South Korea
What’s Causing the Rise in China-South Korea Tensions?
Mounting frictions between the two sides appear to be part of China’s efforts to disrupt the ties between South Korea and the United States but could end up drawing the two allies even closer.
For Europe, Time to Plan for a Post-Putin Russia
The short-lived Wagner Group revolt highlighted for Europeans the fragility of Vladimir Putin’s regime and their own vulnerability to an unstable Russia.
NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
How Should NATO Think About Ukrainian Membership After Russia’s Coup Attempt?
NATO will strengthen its partnership with Ukraine at its upcoming Vilnius summit, but the failed coup in Russia could add to divisions over membership.
Expect Changes in Russia as Response to Wagner Rebellion
The challenge to Russia’s military and leadership from the mercenary Wagner Group marks a setback to Putin’s stature and possibly the Ukraine war effort.
Defense and Security
AUKUS Explained: How Will the Trilateral Pact Shape Indo-Pacific Security?
The fledgling agreement is set to deepen defense cooperation among Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, but it could be decades before it delivers on its promise.
How Bad Is Ukraine’s Humanitarian Crisis a Year Later?
A year after Russia’s invasion, Ukraine is suffering a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. The outflow of millions of refugees has placed a strain on neighboring countries.
When Will COVID-19 Become Endemic?
Government leaders are optimistic that COVID-19 is becoming more predictable and manageable, but the pandemic isn’t over yet.
Military Operations
What Is Russia’s Wagner Group Doing in Africa?
Russia’s Wagner Group has intervened in the affairs of several African countries, providing military and security support while expanding Moscow’s influence across the continent.
Here’s How to Read Turkey’s Election Results—So Far
Turkey’s presidential runoff election set for May 28 appears to favor longtime incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with little chance that he will ease up on his authoritarian ways.
Syria Is Normalizing Relations With Arab Countries. Who Will Benefit?
The Assad regime and Arab capitals will reap the greatest rewards, but ordinary citizens and certain foreign governments involved in Syria’s war have less to gain.