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October 29, 2019

Global
Same-Sex Marriage: Global Comparisons

A growing number of countries are legalizing same-sex marriage amid a steady advance in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, but opposition remains strong in many countries.

A couple has their pre-wedding photos taken in Taipei, Taiwan.

August 22, 2019

Japan
The U.S.-Japan Security Alliance

The alliance with Japan has been the cornerstone of U.S. security policy in East Asia for decades, but new challenges from China, North Korea, and within the alliance itself raise questions about its…

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta addresses U.S. and Japanese forces at Yokota Air Base outside of Tokyo, October 24, 2011.

May 1, 2019

Energy and Climate Policy
Envisioning a Green New Deal: A Global Comparison

The Green New Deal has motivated those who want the United States to undertake unprecedented climate action, but it has also drawn backlash. How is the rest of the world grappling with decarbonizatio…

Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance via Getty Images

March 8, 2019

United States
The U.S. Trade Deficit: How Much Does It Matter?

President Trump has made reducing the U.S. trade deficit a priority, blaming trade deals like NAFTA, but economists disagree over how policymakers should respond.

Chinese steel factory

February 17, 2017

China
Media Censorship in China

China’s central government has cracked down on press freedom as the country expands its international influence, but in the internet age, many of its citizens hunger for a free flow of information.

Stacks of newspapers on display at a newsstand in Beijing, January 10, 2013.

October 21, 2014

Middle East and North Africa
The Arab League

Founded as a loose confederation of states in 1945, the Arab League has struggled to overcome dysfunction and disunity among its members.

Arab-League-Headquarter

July 25, 2014

Middle East and North Africa
Islam: Governing Under Sharia

Sharia, or Islamic law, is increasingly in the spotlight as its political and economic role expands in the Muslim world and even in the West.

Friday prayers at the Wazir Khan mosque in Lahore, Pakistan.

July 4, 2014

Taliban
The Taliban in Afghanistan

Though toppled from power in 2001, the Taliban regrouped to resist the U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan. As international forces draw down, the insurgency remains resilient.

Policemen gather around a shopping mall after a Taliban attack in January 2010.

December 1, 2013

Wars and Conflict
Balance of U.S. War Powers

There have long been disputes over the role of Congress and the president in waging military action.

U.S. Air Force Salute

November 7, 2011

United States
Defense Spending and the Deficit Debate

Lawmakers are considering sharp cuts to defense spending as part of mandated deficit-reduction efforts. This Backgrounder discusses the effects of such major cuts and implications for U.S. military s…