Russia: Domestic Politics and Economy

Over the course of his 20 years of rule, Russian President Vladimir Putin has consolidated an authoritarian system of governance that has benefitted himself and a close group of colleagues and led Russia to take increasingly aggressive actions abroad. At the same time, Putin presided over Russia’s recovery from the economic collapse of the 1990s… Continue Reading Russia: Domestic Politics and Economy

El Salvador: Background and U.S. Relations

Congress has had significant interest in El Salvador, a small Central American nation that has had a large percentage of its population living in the United States since the country’s civil conflict (1980-1992). During the 1980s, the U.S. government spent billions of dollars supporting the Salvadoran government’s counterinsurgency efforts against the leftist Farabundo Martí National… Continue Reading El Salvador: Background and U.S. Relations

Honduras

Honduras, a Central American nation of 9.1 million people, has had close ties with the United States for many years. The country served as a base for U.S. operations designed to counter Soviet influence in Central America during the 1980s, and it continues to host a U.S. military presence and cooperate on antidrug efforts today.… Continue Reading Honduras

Mozambique: Politics, Economy, and U.S. Relations

Mozambique, a significant recipient of U.S. development assistance, achieved rapid growth following a post-independence civil war (1977-1992), but faces a range of political, economic, and security challenges including unmet development needs, a range of governance shortcomings, organized crime, an ongoing economic slump, and political conflict and violence involving both mainstream political actors and violent extremists.… Continue Reading Mozambique: Politics, Economy, and U.S. Relations

Kuwait: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

Kuwait has been pivotal to the decades-long U.S. effort to secure the Persian Gulf region because of its consistent cooperation with U.S. military operations in the region and its key location in the northern Gulf. Kuwait and the United States have a formal Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA), under which the United States maintains over 13,000… Continue Reading Kuwait: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

Cambodia: Background and U.S. Relations

U.S. relations with the Kingdom of Cambodia have become increasingly strained in recent years in light of Prime Minister Hun Sen’﷿s suppression of the political opposition and his growing embrace of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). During the previous decade, U.S. engagement with the Kingdom slowly strengthened as Western countries continued to pressure Hun… Continue Reading Cambodia: Background and U.S. Relations

Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations

Venezuela remains in a deep political crisis under the authoritarian rule of President Nicolás Maduro of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Maduro, narrowly elected in 2013 after the death of Hugo Chávez (1999-2013), is unpopular. Nevertheless, he has used the courts, security forces, and electoral council to repress the opposition. On January 10,… Continue Reading Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations

Iran: Internal Politics and U.S. Policy and Options

Summary Ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the United States and Iran have been at odds, although to varying degrees of intensity. During the 1980s and 1990s, U.S. officials identified Iran’s support for militant Middle East groups as the primary threat posed by Iran to U.S. interests and allies. Iran’s nuclear program took… Continue Reading Iran: Internal Politics and U.S. Policy and Options

Honduras

Honduras, a Central American nation of 9 million people, has had close ties with the United States for many years. The country served as a base for U.S. operations designed to counter Soviet influence in Central America during the 1980s, and it continues to host a U.S. military presence and cooperate on antidrug efforts today.… Continue Reading Honduras

Lebanon

Since having its boundaries drawn by France after the First World War, Lebanon has struggled to define its national identity. Its population included Christian, Sunni Muslim, and Shia Muslim communities of roughly comparable size, and with competing visions for the country. Seeking to avoid sectarian conflict, Lebanese leaders created a confessional system that allocated power… Continue Reading Lebanon