Timelines

Chronologies of major foreign policy and security developments, both in the United States and globally.

Timelines Filters and Cards

Courts and Tribunals
Leaders Facing Justice
Since 1945, many regime leaders and key figures have been brought before domestic and international courts to answer to charges including genocide and crimes against humanity, amid a larger struggle to promote and enforce the rule of law worldwide.
Middle East and North Africa
U.S. Relations With Iran, 1953–2021
Onetime allies, the United States and Iran have seen tensions escalate repeatedly in the four decades since the Islamic Revolution.
Afghanistan War
The U.S. War in Afghanistan
The Taliban insurgency remains resilient nearly two decades after U.S.-led forces toppled its regime in what led to the United States’ longest war.
China
U.S. Relations With China
Since 1949, U.S.-China relations have evolved from tense standoffs to a complex mix of intensifying diplomacy, growing international rivalry, and increasingly intertwined economies.
Public Health Threats and Pandemics
Major Epidemics of the Modern Era
For more than a century, countries have wrestled with how to improve international cooperation in the face of major outbreaks of infectious diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic, which killed more than 2.5 million people and brought the world to a near halt in 2020, underscores the urgency.
United States
U.S.-Russia Nuclear Arms Control
The nuclear arms race was perhaps the most alarming feature of the Cold War competition between the United States and Soviet Union. Over the decades, the two sides signed various arms control agreements as a means to manage their rivalry and limit the risk of nuclear war. However, deep fissures have reemerged in the U.S.-Russia relationship in recent years, raising once again the specter of a nuclear arms race.
Kurds
The Kurds’ Quest for Independence
The Kurds are one of the world’s largest peoples without a state, making up sizable minorities in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Their century-old quest for independence is marked by marginalization and persecution.
United States
Trump’s Foreign Policy Moments
Donald J. Trump’s presidency marked a profound departure from U.S. leadership in areas such as trade and diplomacy, as well as an across-the-board toughening of immigration policies.
Election 2020
Election Security 2020
In the weeks leading up to the 2020 election, technology firms and the U.S. government took steps to prevent and combat election interference in cyberspace. Nonetheless, there were still a handful of incidents.
India
U.S.-India Relations
Since India’s independence, ties with the United States have weathered Cold War–era distrust and estrangement over India’s nuclear program. Relations have warmed in recent years and cooperation has strengthened across a range of economic and political areas.
South China Sea
China’s Maritime Disputes
Disputes over overlapping exclusive economic zones in the South China Sea have intensified in recent decades, while the territorial row over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea dates back to the nineteenth century.
Japan
Last Days of Imperial Japan
Japan experienced unparalleled destruction by U.S. military forces during World War II, resulting in its complete capitulation. Washington played a decisive role in Tokyo’s postwar transition and reconstruction, but the legacy of Japan’s imperial wartime actions continues to be a source of tension with its Asia-Pacific neighbors.
Energy and Environment
Ecological Disasters
Industrial disasters around the world involving multinational corporations, such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, have caused irreparable health, environmental, and economic damages. Such tragedies have also led to lengthy legal challenges and prompted new global regulations.
Climate Change
UN Climate Talks
Since 1992, when the United Nations recognized climate change as a serious issue, negotiations among countries have produced notable accords, including the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement. But leaders have struggled to maintain momentum and failed to slow global temperature rise.
Ukraine
Ukraine’s Post-Independence Struggles
Ukraine has been dogged by corruption scandals, economic mismanagement, and Russian interference since it achieved independence in 1991. At the same time, it has cultivated relations with the United States and Europe.