Published: Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:51:26 -0500
Last Build Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:51:26 -0500Copyright: Copyright 2017 by the Council on Foreign Relations. All Rights Reserved.
Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500
Tens of thousands of Rohingya are fleeing persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. This Backgrounder explores the plight of the Muslim ethnic minority group and the deepening migration crisis in Southeast Asia.
Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500
The Colombian government and FARC rebels have signed a historic peace agreement. This Backgrounder traces the origins of the country's civil conflict and the path to sustainable peace.
Syria's civil war is being fought on multiple fronts by an array of combatants whose alliances, capabilities, and in some cases motives have been in flux. This Backgrounder profiles more than a dozen of the main warring sides.
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 11:00:00 -0500
As a top destination for foreign investment, the United States seeks to strike a balance between national security and its commitment to open markets.
Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500
Differences over Taiwan’s status fuel tensions between the island and mainland, yet economic ties continue to deepen. This Backgrounder explores the cross-strait relationship.
Fri, 04 Nov 2016 10:57:00 -0400
With regional trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) facing an uncertain fate, debate has intensified in the United States over the effects of trade on employment, inequality, national sovereignty, and safety standards.
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:00:00 -0400
With the UK having voted to leave the European Union, uncertainty over the future of the bloc has intensified. Brexit supporters argue that the EU threatens sovereignty and stifles growth, while opponents counter that EU membership strengthens trade, investment, and the UK's standing in the world.
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400
The Philippines is one of the United States' oldest allies in Asia-Pacific. This Backgrounder explores the long-lasting defense ties between Manila and Washington.
Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:00:00 -0400
The manipulation of interbank lending rates by a host of global financial institutions could have significant repercussions for financial markets, consumer loans, and regulatory policy.
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Political shifts and economic challenges in Latin America could either boost Latin America's largest trade bloc or lead to its obsolescence.
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400
A leading killer among diseases is now targeted for eradication by the middle of this century. This Backgrounder examines the costly, challenging efforts to combat malaria.
Thu, 22 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Modern vice presidents can trace much of their political influence to the broad reforms that Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale made to the second-highest elected office in the late 1970s, explains this Backgrounder.
Fri, 16 Sep 2016 11:11:00 -0400
One of the leading sources of refugees in Europe is the impoverished east African nation of Eritrea. Many fleeing describe chronic human rights abuses in the country, as this Backgrounder explains.
Mon, 12 Sep 2016 11:00:00 -0400
The World Trade Organization's relevance as a forum for global trade talks faces growing doubts as countries increasingly turn to regional free trade agreements to advance their interests. This Backgrounder explains the origins of the WTO and the debate over its future.
Wed, 07 Sep 2016 10:30:00 -0400
The United States and Cuba are moving toward normalization of relations for the first time in more than fifty years. This Backgrounder looks at the complicated relationship and ongoing challenges.
Tue, 06 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400
The seventy-first session of the UN General Assembly will be dominated by debates over the movements of refugees and migrants, antimicrobial resistance, and nuclear weapons.
Thu, 01 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations brings disparate neighbors together to address economic, security, political, and social issues. This Backgrounder looks at how the group has evolved over nearly fifty years.
Thu, 11 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400
The Zika virus, which has been found to cause severe birth defects, has spread across the Americas, prompting the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency.
Wed, 10 Aug 2016 11:59:00 -0400
With Iraq weakened and a civil war raging in Syria, it’s unclear whether local forces and a U.S.-led international coalition can roll back the self-proclaimed Islamic State, explains this Backgrounder.
Tue, 26 Jul 2016 11:00:00 -0400
More than twenty years after its implementation, the North American Free Trade Agreement continues to spur debate over its impact on economic growth and jobs.
Mon, 25 Jul 2016 13:01:00 -0400
This regularly updated guide features transcripts from the Republican and Democratic presidential debates as well as select foreign policy speeches, op-eds, and interviews of the candidates.
Fri, 22 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Foreign policy issues regularly come to the fore at the national political conventions, especially during periods of global instability. Sometimes the events are marked by bitter disagreements within the parties, explains this Backgrounder.
The costs of hosting the Olympics have skyrocketed in recent decades, while the economic benefits are far from clear. This has caused a shrinking of states interested in playing host and a search for options to lighten the burdens of staging the big event.
Fri, 01 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Venezuela's opposition is calling for a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro amid economic turmoil, soaring crime, and crackdowns on dissent. This Backgrounder explores the roots of the country's crisis.
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0400
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to determine the fate of millions of undocumented immigrants and could influence how future presidents wield power, explains this Backgrounder.
Thu, 19 May 2016 00:00:00 -0400
China and India increasingly vie for strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean, while also cooperating on some transnational security issues.
Asia’s major rivers depend on water flows from the Himalayas, and regional demand continues to grow. This Backgrounder explores a looming water crisis.
Thu, 21 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400
The U.S.-Saudi relationship, long bound by common interests in oil and security, is showing strains over what some analysts see as waning U.S. involvement in the Middle East and a more assertive Saudi foreign policy.
Tue, 19 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Yemen’s mounting internal divisions and a Saudi military intervention have spawned an escalating political, military, and humanitarian crisis. The upheaval has intensified already high tensions in the Middle East.
Fri, 25 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Myanmar is undergoing significant political changes, but it still faces considerable economic and human rights hurdles.
Wed, 17 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500
Russian aggression in Ukraine has breathed new life into the Cold War-era security alliance, prompting allies to reinforce defenses in Eastern Europe and expand cooperation with nonmembers.
Mon, 15 Feb 2016 11:00:00 -0500
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has introduced an audacious set of economic policies designed to spur the country out of its decades-long deflationary slump. The results have so far been mixed.
Tue, 09 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500
Every four years, U.S. presidential candidates compete in a series of state contests to gain their party’s nomination. The political process is one of the most complex and expensive in the world.
Mon, 08 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500
China is North Korea’s biggest trade partner and arguably has the most leverage on Kim Jong-un’s regime. But while Beijing appears willing to condemn its neighbor’s nuclear developments, analysts say its cautious policies remain focused on stability.
Tue, 26 Jan 2016 10:00:00 -0500
The growth of renewable energy and distributed generation is placing the aging U.S. energy grid under increasing pressure at a time when concerns over its reliability are on the rise.
Tue, 19 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500
Violence and rampant crime have triggered the flow of asylum seekers from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to the United States, which is seeking to help address the root causes, as this Backgrounder explains.
Mon, 18 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500
China’s mounting environmental crisis is endangering the pace of its economic growth and threatening the legitimacy of the ruling party, explains this Backgrounder.
Fri, 15 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa killed thousands and spurred efforts to improve responses to pandemics, explains this Backgrounder.
Tue, 12 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500
Why do mass shootings occur more frequently in the United States than other major democracies? This Backgrounder examines select countries.
Thu, 17 Dec 2015 11:00:00 -0500
The role of the Federal Reserve has transformed in the past decade, as it has deployed trillions of dollars to boost the U.S. economy while expanding its regulatory oversight of the nation’s financial system.
Mon, 09 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0500
China, India, and Pakistan have relatively small but growing nuclear arms programs. This nuclear competition is raising concern because of long-simmering tensions and a lack of efforts at minimizing the risk posed by these weapons.
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0400
Projected capital outflows are placing pressure on the currencies of some of the world most dynamic emerging markets. This primer explains what to expect from a new currency crisis.
Wed, 14 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0400
Eurasia's Shanghai Cooperation Organization has expanded its agenda to include wide-reaching security and economic initiatives, but it remains to be seen if the bloc's members can develop and implement unified policy.
The UN’s sweeping new development agenda aims to “provide the overarching narrative” of sustainable growth for the next fifteen years, yet critics say the Sustainable Development goals are broad, unfocused, and unrealistic.
Mon, 28 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400
Military power has reemerged as an important component of Russian foreign policy, which some believe aims to reestablish Russian hegemony in the region.
Wed, 23 Sep 2015 12:00:00 -0400
An escalating migration crisis is testing the European Union's commitment to human rights and open borders.
Wed, 02 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400
The UN Security Council is the premier global body for maintaining international peace and security, but faces steady calls for reform to better meet twenty-first–century challenges.
Mon, 31 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0400
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, explains this Backgrounder.
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0400
The Chinese Communist Party faces a host of pressing domestic and international policy issues as it transitions to a new generation of leaders.
Wed, 12 Aug 2015 14:14:11 -0400
Though polio had nearly been eradicated, the virus is on the rise amid an increase in violence against vaccine workers in conflict zones. This Backgrounder examines the challenges to eradicating the disease.
Wed, 15 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400
U.S. and international sanctions have battered the Iranian economy and brought Tehran to negotiate over its nuclear program. Lifting them is central to a deal but will be a complex process.
Thu, 09 Jul 2015 11:00:00 -0400
As Europe continues to weather economic stagnation and a succession of debt crises, the European Central Bank has responded with an aggressive set of monetary policies that have redefined the bank's original mandate.
Tue, 30 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400
A recent avian flu outbreak in the United States has forced agriculture officials to destroy tens of millions of birds and has cost hundreds of millions of dollars. This Backgrounder looks at public health and food safety concerns.
Fri, 19 Jun 2015 11:55:00 -0400
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has emerged as one of the most dangerous al-Qaeda affiliates, strengthening amid political unrest in Yemen. This Backgrounder examines the group and U.S. counterterrorism operations.
Wed, 10 Jun 2015 11:30:00 -0400
Hydraulic fracturing has unlocked huge reserves of shale gas and oil, transforming the energy outlook in the United States and the world, even as local opposition and falling world prices threaten the industry.
Wed, 10 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400
As religious observance in China grows, the Chinese Communist Party continues to use religious policy to assert its authority and increasingly to coopt state-sanctioned religious organizations to promote a stable society.
The U.S. air travel system is the most heavily used in the world but it needs a much higher rate of investment to modernize and improve efficiency, explains this Backgrounder.
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 10:00:00 -0400
The recently reconstituted G7 is poised to serve as a forum for highly industrialized democracies to coordinate economic, security, and energy policy, but critics say that its membership is outdated, undermining its relevance to global governance.
The United States and China have developed competing visions for reviving ancient trade routes connecting Asia and Europe. The U.S. diplomatic strategy focuses on Afghanistan, while China hopes to economically integrate Central and South Asia. India and Russia also have regional ambitions.
Fri, 15 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400
More multinational peacekeeping forces are deployed in Africa than ever before. To be effective, operations must address questions about division of labor, funding, and capacity constraints, explains this Backgrounder.
Thu, 07 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400
Tens of millions of Chinese now identify as Christians and the number has grown rapidly, posing challenges for a government that is officially atheist and wary of threats to its power.
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400
China has increased its economic ties with Africa as it seeks to fulfill its growing energy demands. But China's way of doing business has prompted international criticism, even as its policy of noninterference faces new challenges.
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:20:00 -0400
Nicaragua’s proposed Grand Canal would be one of the world’s largest engineering projects. Its proponents say it could transform the country’s economy, while critics say it could be an environmental catastrophe.
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400
As the world's oldest regional body, the Organization of American States has served as a platform for cooperation, but ideological polarization among its members and criticisms of the organization's institutional weakness have raised doubts about its ability to remain relevant.
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400
For many foreign policymakers, economic sanctions have become the tool of choice to respond to major geopolitical challenges, from counterterrorism to conflict resolution.
Tue, 07 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400
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.
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0400
Algerian and Western counterterrorism efforts, along with an African-led peacekeeping force in Mali, have shifted the North African al-Qaeda franchise's criminal and terrorist activities to remote areas of the Sahara and Sahel, explains this Backgrounder.
Fri, 13 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0400
Some experts believe al-Shabab is at its weakest point in years following an African-led counterinsurgency campaign, but others warn of the group's resiliency in an unstable Somalia.
Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0500
Nigeria's Islamist group Boko Haram has evolved from a local insurgency to a brutal militant group that the United States has designated a terrorist organization.
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 00:00:00 -0500
Comprehensive immigration reform has eluded Congress for years, moving controversial policy decisions into the executive and judicial branches of government, explains this Backgrounder.
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 12:00:00 -0500
The three major credit rating agencies have been accused of contributing to the global financial crisis, drawing increased oversight from regulators in the United States and Europe. Nonetheless, investors continue to rely on the largely unchanged ratings services.
Wed, 11 Feb 2015 12:00:00 -0500
The eurozone, once seen as a crowning achievement in the decades-long path toward European integration, continues to struggle with the effects of its sovereign debt crises and their implications for the future of the common currency.
Fri, 05 Dec 2014 00:00:00 -0500
U.S. space exploration inspired a generation of students and innovators, but NASA's role has diminished, and the number of global space competitors is growing. This Backgrounder explores U.S. competitiveness in space.
Wed, 03 Dec 2014 11:06:03 -0500
Hong Kong has certain political and economic freedoms based on China's "one country, two systems." This Backgrounder explores the Hong Kong-mainland relationship and the city's political evolution.
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:00:00 -0400
Founded as a loose confederation of states in 1945, the Arab League has struggled to overcome dysfunction and disunity among its members. The Arab revolts of 2011 offer the League a new opportunity to pursue necessary reforms, increase legitimacy, and prove its relevance.
Tue, 14 Oct 2014 00:00:00 -0400
The U.S. transport system is badly in need of infrastructure investment, and the country could suffer competitively if the status quo persists.
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 00:00:00 -0400
The World Health Organization has to overcome serious budget and leadership challenges to face future public health crises, explains this CFR Backgrounder.
Thu, 02 Oct 2014 11:28:22 -0400
Calls for lifting U.S. controlling on energy exports are mounting as production nears a forty-five-year high.
Wed, 01 Oct 2014 00:00:00 -0400
After decades of underinvestment and mismanagement, India's infrastructure is posing a significant threat to its economic growth.
Thu, 04 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400
It remains unclear whether mounting public anger and flagging growth can catalyze India to address widespread official corruption.
Thu, 04 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400
The Muslim separatist group, based in the Xinjiang province in northwest China, presents a heightening security challenge for Beijing.
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 11:29:45 -0400
Tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors, mostly from Central America, are arriving in the United States illegally, adding severe stress to an immigration system already in need of major overhaul.
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:00:00 -0400
The crisis has spiraled into conflict that has killed thousands and continues to feed tensions between Russia and Western powers over Moscow's support for separatists.
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0400
U.S. missile defense in the twenty-first century is focused on emerging threats from North Korea and Iran, but critics say these systems are too costly and largely unproven.
Fri, 01 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0400
Hamas is the main Palestinian armed resistance group, but the Islamist movement has struggled with governance since assuming control of Gaza.
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0400
The Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, an exiled Iranian resistance group, continues to stir controversy despite its removal from a U.S. terrorist list in 2012, explains this backgrounder.
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0400
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.
Fri, 04 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0400
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.
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0400
The U.S.-Japan alliance has been the cornerstone of Washington's security policy in East Asia, but rising threats from China, North Korea, and economic recovery in both countries have raised questions about the future of the rapport.
Wed, 14 May 2014 00:00:00 -0400
As the United States pivots to Asia, disputes over territories in the South China Sea have escalated tensions and threatened regional stability.
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:22:08 -0400
An intense international debate over who manages parts of the Internet's technical infrastructure is likely to feed a broader discussion of Internet-related public policy.
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:40:41 -0400
Tech and auto companies in the United States, Europe, and Asia are moving forward rapidly with efforts to develop driverless cars and street networks. The benefits appear tantalizing, but roadblocks loom.
Fri, 14 Mar 2014 12:46:48 -0400
The most recent crisis in Ukraine has invited closer scrutiny of the European Union's approach to its Eastern neighbors.
Thu, 13 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0400
Sarin, one of the world's most lethal chemical weapons, has long been stockpiled but is rarely used by states or terrorists. Allegations of attacks on civilians in Syria, if substantiated, would represent a departure from long-standing international practice.
Wed, 05 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0500
Since 2006, the Mexican government has been in embroiled in a bloody drug war, which has failed to significantly curb trafficking. The ongoing conflict poses mounting challenges for Mexico, which is trying to polish its image as an investment hotspot, as well as the United States, its most important regional partner.
Mon, 03 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0500
After more than three decades of existence, the Group of Eight (G8) is struggling to defend its relevance amid criticism of its limited membership and lack of a compliance mechanism.
Thu, 06 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0500
Antitrust law, which has evolved primarily through landmark Supreme Court cases, plays an essential role in the maintenance of efficient markets and promotion of long-term U.S. economic prosperity.
Thu, 06 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0500
Russia's troubled North Caucasus region continues to struggle with a low-level Islamic insurgency, but a heavy-handed approach to counterinsurgency has not addressed the root causes of separatism in the region.
Mon, 03 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0500
The Good Friday Agreement has brought considerable progress and relative calm to Northern Ireland since 1998, but much work remains to dampen sectarian tensions that could lead to renewed violence and threaten progress toward greater cohesion.
Mon, 03 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0500
Income inequality is generating high-level attention and debate in the United States, but the causes are complex and the policy remedies so far are modest, explains this Backgrounder.