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Topics are related to themes. Narrower in focus but broader in definition, topics help chart the ebbs and flows of the international system.

As resources become scarcer, governments will have to use better, more sophisticated tools, techniques and technologies to provide for their people.
The African National Congress has ruled South Africa since Nelson Mandela became the country’s first president of the post-Apartheid era, but its support is dwindling.
When outbreaks grow so large that they disrupt supply chains, stunt economic growth, inspire technological development, or affect the relations of nations, death from disease becomes something other than personal tragedy — it becomes a geopolitical crisis.
When it comes to technological advancement, the most important question is not what goods will be produced but where they will be produced — and how quickly they move around the world.
Venezuela had been relatively stable during the administration of President Hugo Chavez, but when he died, stability died with him, aided in no small part but the fall of the price of oil.
For some, the Syrian civil war is a fight for survival. For Turkey, Iran, the United States and Russia, it is an opportunity.
What started as protests during the Arab Spring eventually developed into open warfare. One president was replaced by another. Cease-fires were declared but later ignored. And now other countries, most notably Saudi Arabia, have joined the fray to advance their own interests.
The fall of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi shattered the country he left behind. No longer is there a central government but three competing ones, each with its own militia to support its claim to power.
Under pressure from all the enemies it has made in its rise to power, the Islamic State continues to lose territory in Iraq and Syria — and thus its claim as a legitimate caliphate.
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Oil made Saudi Arabia rich, but it also stunted its ability to diversify its economy.
The Kurds are stateless and are spread across Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Their bid for an independent Kurdistan has been stymied time and again.
After five decades of conflict, Colombia is making peace with its rebel groups.
For all the Iran nuclear program’s controversy, it is unlikely to spark a serious confrontation with the United States — Iran will instead leverage its control of the Strait of Hormuz, through which roughly 20 percent of all globally traded crude oil passes.
Of all the conflicts left over from the Cold War, the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute may be the most enduring.
A small country with limited resources and surrounded by potentially hostile neighbors, Israel survives by allying with powers that do have the resources to manage the balance of power in the Middle East — namely, the United States.
The Arab Spring may have empowered North Africa’s political opposition movements, which have since pushed for a variety of reforms, but governments are pushing back, some more successfully than others.
As Pakistan works to develop its tactical nuclear weapons, and as India seeks new means of deterring their development, South Asia will be uniquely vulnerable to the threat of military miscalculation.
Individuals, companies, governments and militaries alike all depend on computers. And as is so often the case, these dependencies create vulnerabilities — vulnerabilities that have made cybersecurity all the more important as proficiencies in cyber warfare and cyber crime improve.
Quantitative easing has run its course, and the road beyond this policy will be littered with higher rates of government spending.
Strategically located between East and West, the country is using its economic clout, its military might and its cultural weight to expand its influence throughout the Middle East.
For proof that the Cold War never fully died, look no further than Ukraine, the site of a much broader standoff between the West and Russia.
In the politics of pipelines, new technologies and resources and more tightly integrated pipeline systems will give countries new tolls to counter overbearing suppliers.
As the economic and political environment in Europe becomes more contentious, fundamentally opposed interests will come into conflict more and more often, further destabilizing the union.
China’s remarkable economic growth requires a remarkable amount of raw materials — more materials, in fact, than the once self-sufficient country can now produce on its own.
China's military rise has caused nothing but concern for the powers of the region, forcing them to adapt their security policies to what they see as a growing power hostile to their interests.
That countries act in their own interests and not the interest of others is a fact that has always haunted EU foreign policy.
Going forward, the United Kingdom will turn to a familiar strategy, one that it has employed since the end of World War II: balancing its relations with Continental Europe while strengthening ties with the United States.
Multiparty democracies in Africa, particularly the democracies that exist in name only, have forced some leaders to search for more creative ways to extend their terms in office.
Illicit drugs and mass migration are two of the most pressing security challenges in Latin America.
And as some eurozone members become increasingly weighed down by high debt and deficit levels, fragile economies and weak banking sectors, other eurozone members are turning to euroskeptic and nationalist parties that want to leave the currency union altogether.
Now that Egypt has dealt with the political upheaval of the Arab Spring, it is looking to reclaim its regional influence.
Commodity-dependent South American countries fall into one of two blocs: the Common Market of the South, more commonly known as Mercosur, or the Pacific Alliance.
From the early adoption of wood, wind and water to the more recent adoption of hydrocarbons, societies constantly found new and innovative ways to power their ways of life.
As recently as 2007 banks were more powerful than they had ever been. But the 2008 financial crisis proved just how dangerous that power could be.
Though Nigeria boasts Africa’s largest economy, its march toward prosperity has always been a struggle.
Climate is an overlooked agent in geopolitics. It governs the production of agriculture, disrupts supply chains and, in some cases, takes lives.
Since the end of World War II, the seas have belonged to the United States, which in that time has been free to project its forces virtually anywhere at a moments notice.
Another competition will take place once Mosul falls, and it will be fought by the very players — Iran, Iraq and Turkey, to name a few — who once banded together to save it in the first place.
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