Explainer

Assistants await patients at a check-in counter for vaccinations against COVID-19 at the converted Merkur-Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany on Dec. 1.

Where Do Things Stand With the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout?

The U.K.’s quick approval of the Pfizer vaccine means some Britons will get shots starting next week—but in the rest of the world, it’s going to take a while for regular people to get inoculated.

U.S. President Donald Trump

Why Is Trump Threatening America’s Defense Budget?

The president is pushing against a law that digital rights groups say protect social media firms.

Google’s offices are seen in downtown Manhattan on Oct. 20.

5 Questions About the Antitrust Case Against Google That You Should Not Be Afraid to Ask

Far from a game-changer, the case highlights how observers continue to get Big Tech wrong.

A Lebanese protester

Why Is Saad Hariri Back in Charge of Lebanon?

An entrenched sectarian political system, self-serving leaders leftover from the civil war, and a protest movement more ambitious than organized seem to have set Lebanon’s revolution back where it started.

People protesting the results of the parliamentary vote gather by a bonfire in front of the seized main government building, known as the White House, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Oct. 6.

Is This the Beginning of Kyrgyzstan’s Next Revolution?

The Central Asian state is the latest post-Soviet republic jolted by an electoral crisis. But the ongoing protests are driven by internal dynamics, not international ones.

U.S. President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden face off in a debate.

What Happens If a Presidential Candidate Dies Before Election Day?

Trump’s physician expressed optimism about the president’s health after he tested positive for the coronavirus. But his hospitalization brings to light new questions on what happens if a worst-case scenario hits while Americans are casting their votes.

trump-coronavirus-covid-19-world-leaders-coronavirus-johnson-bolsonaro-foreign-policy-illustration-b

When the Coronavirus Reaches the Top

Trump is far from the first world leader to face the political implications of his own positive COVID-19 test. What happens next?

A video still shows members of Azerbaijan's armed forces firing artillery during clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in an unidentified location, from footage released Sept. 28.

Why Are Armenia and Azerbaijan Heading to War?

The Soviet collapse caused a brutal conflict that’s remained unresolved for three decades.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and French President Emmanuel Macron speak after the closing press conference of the seventh Med7 Mediterranean countries summit in Corsica on Sept. 10.

Turkish Military Maneuvering Pushed Italy and France to Join Forces in the Mediterranean. Now What?

Formerly competitors, Paris and Rome’s Pax Mediterranea may spell Ankara’s final estrangement from Europe.

Sailors standing on the deck of a warship at a parade during the Turkish International Ceremony at Mehmetcik Abidesi Martyrs Memorial near Seddulbahir Turkey on April 24, 2015.

How Did the Eastern Mediterranean Become the Eye of a Geopolitical Storm?

The region’s powers and the West are facing off against Turkey—and Turkey is not going down without a fight.

Women protest in Belarus

Why Belarus Is Not Ukraine

Yes, there are surprisingly big protests—like those that rocked Kyiv six years ago—being met with brutal crackdowns. But Belarus is a whole different story.

In this photo illustration, the WeChat privacy policy is displayed on an iPhone in Washington on Aug. 7.

Why Is the United States Effectively Banning WeChat and TikTok?

Apps are just the latest frontier in the U.S.-China contest. Washington is signaling to global firms the risks of doing business with Beijing.

This aerial photo taken on January 2, 2017 shows a Chinese navy formation, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning (C), during military drills in the South China Sea.

The U.S. Declared China’s South China Sea Claims ‘Unlawful.’ Now What?

The announcement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brings the United States in line with international law and opens the door for sanctions and a more unified response to Chinese “bullying” in the key waterway.

Ruslan Boshirov

What’s This Unit of Russian Spies That Keeps Getting Outed?

Unit 29155 of the GRU is behind plenty of Russia’s high-profile misadventures abroad—and now, apparently, the bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Indian protesters burn a poster of Chinese President Xi Jinping along with Chinese items in response to the killing of Indian soldiers by Chinese troops, in Ahmedabad on June 16, 2020.

Why Are India and China Fighting?

Nuclear powers New Delhi and Beijing engage in a skirmish marking the first combat deaths along their border in more than four decades.

Dominic Cummings

Britain Hates Johnson’s Machiavelli

Conservative Party advisor Dominic Cummings has drawn national wrath over a seemingly minor scandal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron

Are the Germans Edging Closer to True Fiscal Union?

In a striking reversal, Merkel joins with France in recommending a euro fund that could be a timid first step toward greater integration.

Medical staff members, wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus that began in the city, arrive with a patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, China, on Jan. 25.

How to Tell What’s Really Happening With the Wuhan Virus

China struggles with a fast-moving outbreak, as the authorities move to cut off unauthorized information.

Medical staff transfer patients to hospital in Wuhan, China, on Jan. 17.

Wuhan’s 11 Million People Face Quarantine as Virus Fears Spread

Trains and flights out of the central Chinese city have been canceled as the toll from a new coronavirus grows.

Technicians work at the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor in Iran on Dec. 23, 2019.

The Iran Deal Is Not Dead Yet, but It’s Getting There

Europe’s decision to start the dispute settlement process may set the clock ticking on the deal’s ultimate demise.

Hong Kong lawmaker Regina Ip

What Just Happened in Hong Kong’s Elections?

Hong Kongers turned out in droves to defeat pro-Beijing candidates.

Workers fill sacks with lithium carbonate at the state-owned lithium extraction complex in the southern zone of the Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia.

Bolivia’s Lithium Isn’t The New Oil

A popular theory around Evo Morales’s removal is completely mistaken.

Police fire tear gas to disperse protesters in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Violence Will Get Worse

Police brutality has pushed protesters to extremes.

A Lebanese protester chants slogans during ongoing anti-government demonstrations in Lebanon's capital Beirut on Oct. 31.

Why Protesters in Lebanon Are Taking to the Streets

The protests combine political and economic grievances and could bring down the country’s sect-based political order.

Ilham Tohti lectures in a classroom in Beijing on June 12, 2010.

Ilham Tohti’s Sakharov Prize Will Drive Beijing Crazy

The imprisoned Uighur economist represents an entire people under attack by China.

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands.

How Turkey and Russia Carved Up Northern Syria

The pact cements Ankara’s annexation of a significant chunk of formerly Kurdish-held land.

Kurdish female troops from the Syrian Democratic Forces overlook the front line.

Why Is Turkey Fighting Syria’s Kurds?

Turkey’s president says Syrian Kurdish fighters are terrorists—but he’s a very unreliable narrator.

U.S. President Donald Trump exits after speaking at the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York on Sept. 24.

Why Ukrainegate Is Nothing Like Russiagate 

U.S. President Donald Trump has a far more damaging scandal on his hands.

A picture taken on Sept. 15 shows an Aramco oil facility at the edge of the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

What You Need to Know About the Attacks on Saudi Oil Facilities

So far, attacks attributed to Iran haven’t resulted in a military confrontation with the United States.

Queen Elizabeth II welcomes the newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson on July 24, 2019 in London, England.

The Queen Can’t Do Anything About Brexit

The suspension of Parliament is outrageous—but it’s all Boris Johnson’s fault.

A woman places flowers beside a makeshift memorial outside the Cielo Vista Mall Wal-Mart where a shooting left 20 people dead in El Paso, Texas, on August 4, 2019.

How Does Online Racism Spawn Mass Shooters?

White nationalist terrorism is becoming normalized through internet forums.

Protesters face off with police during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019.

Why Is Hong Kong Erupting?

Hong Kongers are fighting for their city's unique status under the shadow of Beijing.

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan sign a landmark treaty eliminating U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range and shorter-range nuke missiles in Washington in December 1987.

What Does the Demise of the INF Treaty Mean for Nuclear Arms Control?

Trump’s exit from the U.S.-Russia treaty, which officially takes effect Friday, raises questions about whether the era of arms control is ending—or being reinvented.

Special counsel Robert Mueller leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the Capitol in Washington on June 21, 2017. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

How to Read Between the Lines of the Mueller Report

Here’s what to expect from the long-awaited—and now heavily redacted—probe into Trump’s Russia ties.

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