Visual stories that delve into some of the world’s most pressing issues.

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Hong Kong
China’s Crackdown on a Free Hong Kong
After the British government handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997, Beijing promised to let the city keep its capitalist economy and some of its democratic freedoms under the “one country, two systems” approach. However, Hong Kong’s future looks grim as Beijing increasingly cracks down on protests, free press, and dissent.
United Kingdom
The Uncertain Future of the British Commonwealth
Before her passing in 2022, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated seventy years on the throne. As Charles III takes the crown, Caribbean countries are debating whether to stay in the Commonwealth or follow Barbados, which broke ties with the Crown in 2021. Why are countries choosing to leave, and what could that mean for the future of the monarchy?
Diplomacy and International Institutions
Celebrating Ten Years: Conference on Diversity in International Affairs
As part of its commitment to diversity and inclusion, CFR celebrates a decade of hosting the annual Conference on Diversity in International Affairs (CDIA) in collaboration with the Global Access Pipeline and the International Career Advancement Program.
United States
How Has the U.S. Refugee System Changed Over Time?
Since the creation of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program in 1980, more than three million refugees have been accepted into the country. Until recently, the United States was the world’s top country for taking in refugees. However, bans on refugees from certain countries significantly curtailed admissions during the Donald Trump administration and reignited a debate over the program’s national security implications. Now, President Joe Biden has pledged to restore the program as crises worsen in places such as Afghanistan and Ukraine.
After Seventy-Five Years, Will Japan Strengthen Its Military?
Since it went into effect seventy-five years ago, Japan’s constitution has prevented the country from engaging in combat. But China’s growing military power and North Korea’s increasing threats raised concerns about the strength of Japan’s defenses. Some Japanese politicians have called for a revised constitution so the country can effectively confront twenty-first century challenges. Already, Japan’s defense spending is steadily rising, and the Japanese military is now allowed to work with other militaries, including the United States’. Still, some Japanese people are wary of constitutional change, which has protected them from conflict. Can Japan maintain its pacifist constitution?
Is Russia Committing War Crimes in Ukraine?
Russian forces have been accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine, including an apparent massacre in the city of Bucha and the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol. What’s the difference between these types of grave crimes, and who has the authority to prosecute them?
Where Are Ukrainian Refugees Going?
Europe’s largest humanitarian crisis in decades is unfolding in Ukraine. Russia’s invasion has displaced millions of people, thousands of whom remain in Ukraine, and experts say the number of refugees could grow to seven million. Here’s what people are facing in Ukraine and what the international response has been from European countries and international organizations.
Labor and Employment
Why Are Countries Pushing for a Global Minimum Tax?
A global tax agreement has been signed by 136 countries that will require corporations to pay a minimum tax rate of 15 percent. The deal would end decades of competition between governments to attract foreign investment. Here’s why some economists are pushing for the reform and why others support lower corporate taxes.
Public Health Threats and Pandemics
Where Has COVID-19 Contact Tracing Worked?
As part of global efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, health officials have tried a variety of contact-tracing strategies in countries around the world. Some have been success stories; others have been flops, as governments struggled to get buy-in from the public or shore up the resources needed for comprehensive tracing. Here are five countries’ experiences with contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cryptocurrencies and the Future of Money
The increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies poses big challenges for governments, some of which are responding with their own digital currencies. Here are some of the benefits and risks of crypto.
Saudi Arabia
The Dangers of the Middle East’s Kafala System
The kafala system regulates the lives of tens of millions of migrant laborers in the Middle East, but growing outrage over human rights abuses, racism, and gender discrimination has fueled calls for reform.
Are the Olympics Worth the Cost?
The Olympics cost host countries billions of dollars. With concerns growing over displacement, debt, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, countries are questioning whether to host the big event.
2021 in Review
We Are the Council on Foreign Relations
For one hundred years, CFR has been examining the most pressing foreign policy issues of the day through its events, books, podcasts, educational products, Foreign Affairs magazine, and award-winning website. Facing global challenges such as COVID-19, climate change, and Chinese and Russian aggression, CFR continues to be a trusted resource for those trying to understand the world around them.
How Are Green Parties Shaping Global Politics?
As the focus on environmental and social justice issues has increased, green parties have grown in influence across many countries. Here’s how they’re reshaping today’s political landscape.
A New Age of Space Defense
A handful of countries including China and Russia are breaking new ground in developing space weapons. Does that mean the world is headed for an arms race in space?