What is the Electoral College?

Every four years, people all over the world watch as the results of the American presidential election come in. By the end of the night, the result is usually clear but how the process actually works is anything but. The source of confusion is the Electoral College. To win, a candidate needs to have 270 votes in the Electoral College. But what is it? What is the relationship between the few hundred voters in the Electoral College and the tens of millions who went to the polls on election day? It seems a bizarre way of choosing the president of the most powerful country in the world.

What is Boko Haram?

When Boko Haram comes on the news, you may want to turn away. Boko Haram is an Islamic terrorist organization in Northern Nigeria that has killed hundreds in the past decade. The media largely ignores the steady stream of horrors, but the group received widespread attention in 2014 for the kidnapping of 276 girls from their school dormitory. The Nigerian police and army seem incapable of halting the atrocities. The international community seems not to care.

What’s behind the violence of Boko Haram?

Why Do India and Pakistan Hate Each Other?

Pakistan and India don’t like each other at all. With good reason. Pakistan’s intelligence agency has given support to Pakistani terrorists in India, who have killed hundreds over the past decade. On the Indian side of the border, where many would prefer to live under Pakistan’s authority, Indian troops have killed tens of thousands. Both countries have nuclear missiles pointed at the other. They have fought four wars in living memory. The relationship between India and Pakistan is one of the most hostile in the world today. Why?

Why is Afghanistan So Hard to Control?

Every time Tom Collins returned to Chicago, people asked him the same question. They wanted to know why Afghanistan was such a mess. His friends and family followed the news from that part of the world more closely than most because Tom had been working there for more than a decade. He had a group chat to reassure people that he was OK after every tragedy.

How Did Sweden Get its Welfare System?

If you believe that governments should look after their people, you’ll love Sweden. Sweden’s welfare system—the benefits the state gives to its citizens—may be the best in the world. Swedes live longer than people from almost every other country and they are happier, too. Part of the reason is their solid social safety net. How did Sweden get it?

Why is Tibet Not Free?

Tibet is not a country. It is a province of China. And that is deeply frustrating for Tibetans who believe they should be independent. This anger explains the bursts of violence that affect the region. More than a hundred people have burned themselves to death in the past ten years. So why is Tibet not free?

Why is Iraq So Unstable?

If you’re in search of bad news, you can rely on Iraq. Terrorists, internal conflict, poor government, lethal explosions—these are the all too familiar headlines. Iraq’s recent past is sad. Much of its distant past is sad, too. Why? What did Iraq do to deserve all this pain? Very little. Most of Iraq’s troubles have been caused by outsiders. But our story starts in the days when Iraq was powerful and majestic.