Ukrainian soldiers.

What would happen if the U.S. abandoned Ukraine? Former President Donald Trump has suggested he would do so if he returns to the White House next year and predicted he would end the war quickly, most likely by pressuring Kyiv to negotiate. But even if the intent is to bring peace, the practical effect would be to prolong the war.

An Afghan man in Kabul.

Congressional hearings on the Biden administration’s controversial withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 have become a renewed focal point for political narratives about blame. But they also create an opportunity to consider counterfactual hypothetical scenarios that could expand our understanding of the U.S failure in Afghanistan.

A U.S. military vehicle in Syria.

While an exit by U.S. forces from Syria and Iraq is unlikely in the near term, it also seems inevitable. That raises the questions of why U.S. forces are still in both countries. Despite the fraught politics around withdrawal in Washington, it’s time policymakers start thinking about how best to bring those troops home.

Despite the challenges that technological innovations like artificial intelligence and autonomous drones pose to governance and society, they will continue to emerge. In the absence of any global agreement, there is still an opportunity for governments to seize on the benefits these advances might bring, while encouraging their ethical and democratic use.

Mozambican soldiers.

A surge in violence in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado underscores the complex nature of the conflict there. After a period of reduced activity over the past three years, the insurgency has engaged in a series of high-profile attacks since December, underscoring the need for a more comprehensive approach to the conflict.

President Joe Biden’s first priority upon taking office was to reassure U.S. allies of America’s ongoing security commitments, promising that “America is back.” Despite some missteps along the way, that effort has paid off during the current standoff with Russia over Ukraine. But Biden still has a lot of work to do when it comes to shoring up America’s security partnerships to deal with a rising China.

Hezbollah supporters.

Hezbollah and Israel have been locked in limited but deadly conflict for five months, with the violence in danger of escalating into a fuller, more devastating war. Western officials are attempting now to mediate some de-escalation on the Lebanon-Israel front. There is only so much they can do, though, without a cease-fire in Gaza.

Polish and French forces train together.

The European Union is making efforts to step up in security, proposing a joint defense spending program and setting targets for increased joint weapons purchasing and procurement. But can the EU actually become a security provider, rather than a security consumer dependent on the U.S.? There are good reasons to remain skeptical.

Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Since the start of the brutal campaign in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed that Israel’s military operations will eradicate the militant group Hamas. The Biden administration has backed that assertion, in both rhetoric and policy. Five months into that campaign, it is less believable today than it has ever been.

Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa.

A standoff between Ecuador and Russia over a proposed arms transfer to Ukraine last month foreshadows how global competition among great powers may play out in Latin America moving forward. If the region doesn’t learn from the episode, it will find itself vulnerable to much larger forms of economic coercion over the coming decade.

U.S. President Joe Biden.

Recent contradictory statements from U.S. and Israeli officials highlight how the two sides are working at cross purposes over the war in Gaza, but also illustrate Washington’s seeming inability to restrain a key ally. And yet, the Biden administration has appeared to go out of its way to give Israel diplomatic cover for the war.