Important political events happen each day around the world. Fortunately, you don't have to travel the globe to learn about international politics; the Internet has the resources you need to stay current. We'll point you to the best sources for news, commentary and blogs about international politics and foreign relations. This International Politics Web Guide also offers help researching nations and intergovernmental organizations.
Reading international news is the best way to know what's happening around the globe. The Internet allows you to find immediate coverage on any issue, in any part of the world. The following sites are a collection of the most trusted sources of world news from both U.S. and international media.
- Be careful of misinformation. If you plan to venture away from mainstream media sources (or the sites we've vetted and suggested), refer to this UC Berkeley page for advice on how to assess the trustworthiness of Web sites.
- One way to keep up with breaking news is by using RSS feeds. RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication." These feeds are constantly updated to offer up-to-the-minute headlines. Just click the orange square labled "RSS" and put it in your bookmark toolbar for easy browsing.
For general international news …
is sponsored by the U.K. government and is widely considered one of the best sources for international news. In addition to carrying regular updates for regions around the world, its news Web site includes introductory reports on stories that are of continuing interest to world affairs. Visit the extensive list of BBC Country Profiles to research background and historical information on a country as well.
tailors its product for a U.S. audience. The Web site is rich in video coverage and each story is capped with a bullet point summary of the principal facts.
collects news stories from all over the world and organizes them by country and topic. Beyond the new stories, World News's homepage also features a slideshow of international news, called "Headlines in Pictures." You can also explore its section of opinion pieces under “Opinion Worldwide.”
The International Crisis Group
is a reliable way to get current information on situations of crisis conflict worldwide. And if you want to put the news you’re reading in context, you can search the sitemap and history databases as well.
For region-specific news …
claims to be the only Arab news service working independently of government influence. It now rivals the BBC in terms of audience size. Though there have been U.S. complaints of bias, it should be remembered that Al Jazeera has also come under fire in Arab countries, such as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
is a Russian daily, independent of the Kremlin. The site features one big story every day, usually focusing on a significant global matter. It also publishes articles containing smaller-scale Russian news.
Asia Times Online
reports on world news from an Asian perspective. In addition to news specific to China and other Asian countries, this paper reports on issues covered in Western papers, such as the Iraq war and American politics.
is a regularly updated compendium of African news from services across and beyond the continent. You can check out top headlines, or scroll down to search headlines by country or region.
offers news from a British perspective, as well as a list of links to international news Web sites. Use this map to find local papers for any region of the world.
These sites provide access to the vital facts that shape international news and can contextualize the news you read. Learning background information about countries worldwide significantly improves your objectivity and understanding of the social, political and economic issues at hand.
- Individual governments provide information and statistics about their countries. If you’re looking for more in-depth information, however, try a database of resources like the Duke University International and Area Studies Web site.
- Although there is valuable information on many government Web sites, beware that some countries' governments suppress information. Double check what you learn with an objective source, especially when researching countries that have a history with Communist governments.
For general information …
is a user-friendly source of a wide range of statistics. Search for statistics by subject or country.
The CIA’s World Factbook
is a good place to find maps, statistics and facts about countries worldwide. It includes a brief history as well as an analysis of the legal system and constitution of each country covered.
Governments on the WWW
is a database of governmental institutions that is as dry as dust, but rich with facts. If you really must know more about the constitution of Azerbaijan, this is the place.
For countries in crisis situations …
is a highly informative and attractive site providing regular updates on humanitarian emergencies around the globe.
Human Rights Watch
publishes information on countries where human rights are lacking or in jeopardy. Information about specific countries and issues can be found under "Regions" and "Topics" at the bottom of the homepage. Note that the material on the site is biased toward the organization's ideology.
Individual nations aren't the only players in international politics. Intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) also have significant political influence on international relations. It is helpful to understand the missions and actions of these organizations in order to fully grasp political, economic, and social situations worldwide.
- To learn about the history and past actions of IGOs, visit BeyondIntractability.org. The group is committed to offering free knowledge on issues related to conflict resolution.
- IGOs often exercise political power. Read an article in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics about OPEC, a trading IGO, for elaboration on the powers of IGOs.
For IGO databases …
Northwestern University Library
provides a comprehensive, alphabetized list of IGOs with links to their Web sites. You can also read the library's selection criteria if you're curious as to why a particular organization was included or omitted.
Stanford University’s Jonsson Library of Government Documents
is a synthesis of the two sites listed above. Whereas the Duke site allows you to search through topics and the Northwestern site lets you look at organizations themselves, Stanford offers a fully equipped search engine that lets you type in a topic or organization you want to research. The library then finds documents and Web sites that relate to your question.
For IGOs …
The United Nations
offers a few resources that keep you in touch with international affairs, including The United Nations Chronicle, which provides in-depth coverage of UN debates. The site also features a database of facts and figures for the world’s nations. Read an account of the U.N.'s history to learn more about the purpose of the organization.
(the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), originally an alliance between North American and European countries uniting to defend themselves against possible Soviet aggression, has a Web site devoted to reporting on worldwide peacekeeping efforts. Visit for multimedia news, photos, updates on NATO, or to peruse its virtual library.
The European Union
, more than a cooperative treaty organization, but less than a federation of states incorporates more than 25 countries. The EU Web site is the best place to look for a detailed definition of this entity.
The African Union
's site provides news and updates on the activities of the group, which came into being in 1999. There are more than 50 member countries at present. Their aim is to speed up integration between African countries to allow them to play a larger role in the world economy.
(Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) unites countries in the Middle East and Asia, primarily. Click on "Multimedia" in the left-side bar to get special reports, read interviews, and review commentary.
The World Trade Organization
(WTO) offers news and relevant documents on its Web site. Comprising 150 member nations, the WTO arbitrates and negotiates international trade agreements. Created in 1995, the WTO has become a symbol of globalization and a target for political activists.
(International Monetary Fund) Web site offers news, articles, country information, and data and statistics related to the organization, which was created in 1945 to help avoid any repeat of the Great Depression. With a membership of almost 200 countries, the IMF works to maintain stable currency exchange and economic development.
The World Bank
aims to reduce poverty by offering financial assistance to developing nations. Like the IMF, it was created in 1945 and has almost 200 members. Its Web site provides a tremendous amount of thorough—if dry—information about countries and projects.
(Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation) provides basic APEC news as well as "Leaders’ Declarations" and "Ministerial Statements." APEC held its first meeting in 1993. Recently, it has tried to influence North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.
Sometimes you want more than just the straight news or a long list of statistics. A great place to enrich your perspective are media sources that offer analysis and commentary. Below you'll find magazines, editorial pages, and popular blogs that cover international politics.
- Whenever you're reading a piece of commentary or analysis, carefully review the "About Us" section. If you know a bit about the author you can better understand her point of view within a larger context.
- Most major newspapers have an opinion section rich with commentary on international politics. Be sure to check the editorial sections of your favorite news sources in your search for informed and thought-provoking opinions.
- One advantage of the Internet is that it can be very interactive. Plunge in: comment on blogs, weigh in on debates, write e-mails to the editor. The Web can be a forum for conversation—a place not only to read the opinions of others but to share your own.
For commentary and opinions …
is a magazine devoted to making U.S foreign policy and international affairs accessible for all readers. You'll find news analysis and opinion pieces, as well as special features designed to help you get a better hold on current U.S. foreign policy. Check out "Campaign 2008," a collection of essays by presidential candidates on the topic.
has exclusive rights to the work of some excellent political commentators. It also syndicates news, opinions and features written by the greatest specialists in various fields of international politics. It is the sole publisher of the English version of Le Monde Diplomatique
, a world- renowned political and cultural magazine.
The International Herald Tribune
’s opinion section is full of commentary written by respected journalists and subject experts. Here you’ll find editorials, op-ed columnists and contributors, as well as letters to the editor on topics of global interest.
For blogs …
Little Green Footballs
is a well-rated, general international politics blog. The blogs draws from multiple international news sources and provides comments, links, and often video clips. Be sure to check the list of recommended sites on the right side, and the various features and slideshows of important global events listed on the left. Note that Little Green Footballs takes a slightly conservative angle.
is an international politics blog co-written by three doctoral candidates from Oxford and one graduate who is now a research analyst in Washington, DC. With clear headlines and plenty of primary source quotes, it’s one of the newsier blogs you’ll find. It also provides links to articles of interest.
Informed Comment Global Affairs
is a group blog on current international events. The focus of the blog is on the Middle East and Asia and it’s filled with video clips, links to articles, and some "informed comment" on events. The team is headed up by Juan Cole, professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Michigan, and supplemented with knowledgeable scholars from around the world.
is an online discussion of political and social developments in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and the Muslim world in general. Read what others have to say or consider signing up for the site’s forum where you can pose some of your own questions and comments.
Many of the conflicts and dilemmas we currently face are rooted in events of the past. If you want to further your understanding of international politics, use the following resources to research the unique background of any country.
- When looking for sites to research a topic, universities and colleges can be counted on as reliable sources.
- Searching newspaper archives for articles on a subject is a good way to get background. The top of any newspaper’s homepage should have a search bar where you can enter the information you need.
The BBC Recent History Page
is your go-to spot for understanding the recent events that currently influence international politics. This is a comprehensive resource for researching world history, and utilizes many sources including the BBC's programming and educational information.
The C-Span International Resources page
lists many of the sources you'll need to become well versed in international politics. The site includes overall international resources, British politics sites, a variety of information about the war in Iraq and terrorism, and links to the best worldwide news sources.
is a source for histories, timelines and articles on a variety of countries and regions. Be sure to explore the "TimeSearch" feature, which lets you search the entire Web for histories and timelines. Enter a year, area, or theme into the search bar to get results divided by text and images.
The Globalisation Guide
attempts to introduce all the perspectives in the globalization debate: the site has a long list of links covering both pro- and anti-globalization sites.
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