Explainers

Timelines

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

Timelines Filters and Cards

United States
Trump’s Foreign Policy Moments
Donald J. Trump’s presidency has 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.
Cuba
U.S.-Cuba Relations
Since Fidel Castro’s ascent to power in 1959, U.S.-Cuba ties have endured a nuclear crisis, a long U.S. economic embargo, and political hostilities. The diplomatic relationship remained frozen well beyond the end of the Cold War but moved toward normalization during the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, whose policies have been partially rolled back under President Donald J. Trump.
Middle East and North Africa
Modern Sunni-Shia Tensions
Iran’s Islamic revolution, which brought Shias to power in 1979, and the Sunni backlash have fueled a competition for regional dominance. This timeline highlights Sunni-Shia tensions in recent decades.
Politics and Government
Political Conventions and Foreign Policy
The quadrennial U.S. presidential nominating conventions are usually dominated by domestic themes. But they have at times been flavored by global economic concerns and national security threats, offering competing Democratic and Republican visions about the United States' role in the world.
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.
Border and Port Security
U.S.-Mexico Relations
After Mexican independence in 1810, Mexico and the United States had numerous territorial disputes. Political upheaval in Mexico and economic opportunity across the border spurred migration to the United States after the Mexican Revolution. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) paved the way to a closer U.S.-Mexico relationship on security, trade, and counternarcotics.
Iraq
The Iraq War
In March 2003, U.S. forces invaded Iraq vowing to destroy Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and end the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein. When WMD intelligence proved illusory and a violent insurgency arose, the war lost public support. Saddam was captured, tried, and hanged and democratic elections were held. In the years since, there have been over 4,700 U.S. and allied troop deaths, and more than one hundred thousand Iraqi civilians have been killed. Meanwhile, questions linger over Iraq's fractious political situation.
Venezuela
Venezuela’s Chavez Era
Hugo Chávez assumed Venezuela's presidency in 1999 on a populist platform. But critics say three terms under his "socialist revolution" have made the country increasingly resemble an authoritarian state. This timeline offers a visual account of Chavez's rise to power and the impact of his presidency.
United States
U.S.-Russia Nuclear Arms Control
The nuclear arms race was one of the most alarming features of the Cold War superpower competition between the United States and Soviet Union. Both sides rapidly expanded their nuclear stockpiles, but after two decades, each embarked on efforts to cut down its arsenal. Disarmament efforts picked up speed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but maintaining momentum and confidence in arms control between the United States and Russia has proved challenging.
Somalia
Al-Shabab
With brazen terrorist attacks at home and abroad, the Somalia-based Islamist insurgent group has proved resilient despite strategic setbacks in recent years.
Energy and Environment
Oil Dependence and U.S. Foreign Policy
The United States' dependence on oil has long influenced its foreign policy. This three-part timeline traces the story of U.S. oil development, and the resulting geopolitical competition and environmental concerns, in more than forty milestones. The three major periods include the rise of oil as a commodity, beginning in 1850; the post-WWII age of geopolitical competition; and the current era of deregulation and diversification.