Houthi supporters protest against U.S.-led airstrikes.

At a time when the global order is in flux, it is notable that the drivers of many of the core security challenges in the world today are not, in fact, states. From Hamas to the Houthis movement, to Taiwan and Kosovo, the world is dotted by “quasi-” or “de facto” states. What does that mean for the role of the nation-state?


Competition over maritime resources and territorial disputes over maritime borders highlight the tensions between national sovereignty and transnational challenges in the maritime domain. While often ignored in coverage of international affairs, it features prominently in bilateral, regional and multilateral diplomacy.

the un amid the russia-ukraine war

The United Nations’ ability to carry out its mission has been severely constrained in recent years by its member states. And many of its agencies are now facing funding shortages that could severely curtail their work. In fact, multilateralism of all stripes is under strain, from the International Criminal Court to the World Trade Organization.

Cargo ships wait in Panama Bay.

As 2024 begins, two of the world’s most important shipping routes—the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal—both face threats that require a global response. The two challenges aren’t alike. But given their effects on global trade, it’s worth asking, What if we treated them with a similar sense of urgency, strategy, attention and resources?

A campaign poster for Taiwan’s presidential election.

2023 was marked by the worst of international politics. Conflict, famine and refugee flows were all at record highs. Those trends will continue into 2024. But it is notable that 2024 also offers a litmus test for gauging how populations around the world are responding to those crises: A record number of global elections.

A health worker vaccinates a child against malaria western Kenya.

As 2023 drew to a close, it was easy to feel like the world was trending in the wrong direction. Nonetheless, behind the many “bad news” headlines from last year are a number of other “good news” stories that didn’t get as much press coverage. To usher in 2024, here are some reasons for hope in the New Year ahead.