Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron said that NATO was experiencing "brain death," citing a lack of coordination and America's fickleness under Donald Trump as reasons to doubt the alliance's commitment to mutual defense. NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – was formed in the wake of World War II as a counterweight against Soviet dominance in Europe and beyond. Its cornerstone is that an attack on one member is considered an attack on all. But disagreements over sharing the cost of maintaining military readiness have caused friction between the alliance's members in recent years. In 2014, the bloc agreed that each member state would increase their own defense spending to 2% of their respective GDP over the next decade. But so far, only seven of 29 members have forked out the money. Here's a look at who pays what.
In the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, Israel launched a precision attack in the Gaza Strip, targeting and killing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander. In response, the terror group fired more than 220 rockets at southern Israel. Exchanges of fire have brought cities on both sides of the Gaza border to a standstill and at least 19 Palestinians are dead and dozens of Israelis wounded. With this latest escalation, Israel now faces national security crises on multiple fronts. Here's what's going on:
50 billion: Iran has discovered a new oil field containing more than 50 billion barrels of crude oil, its president said, a development that could bolster its oil reserves by a third. However, the discovery is yet to be verified by an outside party, and it's unclear if Iran could sell any of this oil under the current US sanctions regime.
In the years since 1989, the population of most former East bloc countries has shrunk as a result of emigration and low birth rates. That has put a brake on potential economic growth, but some argue it's also contributed to the rightward shift in some of the region's countries, as many of the more liberal-minded folks have already left for Western Europe.
In 1990, the two parts of Germany reunited in a process whereby the much wealthier West absorbed the East. After decades of separation there were cultural divergences as well as economic ones. In the years since, the gaps between east and west have closed substantially, but in many ways they persist. Here's a look at a few different ways in which that's true.
Last week, Mali, an arid desert country in Western Africa with a predominantly Muslim population of 19 million, was struck by one of the deadliest jihadist terror attacks since Islamist groups took over its northern frontier some seven years ago. Islamic State militants later claimed responsibility for the attack on a military post that killed at least fifty-four people. The episode reflects a larger surge of jihadist violence in the vast Sahel region, which stretches across the southern edge of the Sahara desert. Unrest there has already reverberated far beyond Mali.
The US is opening a national security investigation into TikTok, the wildly popular short-form lip-syncing and music video app that already has more than 500 million users. Why? Because TikTok is owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance. Lawmakers are worried about how that company handles the data it gathers on its 26 million US-based users, most of whom are under 25 years old. All those users produce reams of valuable personal data that Bytedance can use to improve its AI algorithms, but the Chinese government's broader AI and data ambitions have also become a national security concern for US spooks. As the alarm bells sound in Washington over yet another Chinese tech company, here's a look at where TikTok is used most, and by whom.