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Student Instructor

Pop-Up Cases

Pop-up cases are short, one-page scenarios based on issues reverberating in the news today. Use one of the cases below to spark discussion and put your students in the shoes of policymakers.

All Pop-Up Cases

UN member flags

At the start of a new presidential term in 2021, the president must decide whether to prioritize a multilateral or unilateral approach to foreign policy over the next four years.

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Oregon Trail

With thousands of American settlers migrating west to the contested Oregon Country and a campaign promise from President James K. Polk to annex the entire territory, how should the United States respond to British naval buildup in the region and a deteriorating U.S.-British relationship?

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Woman at a protest with a mask on where a red hand is painted over her mouth

At the start of a new presidential term in 2021, the United States reassesses its policy toward China in light of the ongoing repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang.

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A U.S. soldier looks out at a helicopter in front of a sunset in Iraq

At the start of a new presidential term in 2021, the president grapples with questions about U.S. operations in the Middle East. Should the United States pull troops out of Iraq and end the ongoing campaign to combat the self-proclaimed Islamic State and deter Iranian pressure on Iraq?

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British and U.S. soldiers fight on a ship

The newly independent United States has sought to stay neutral during the Napoleonic Wars between France and the British Empire, but constraints on trade and British attacks on American shipping have left the United States questioning how it can exercise its freedom from European entanglements.

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nurses carrying influenza patient

In the early fall of 1918, a second wave of influenza is spreading, and World War I is waning, but not yet over. As the pandemic begins to grow more deadly, how can the United States balance the need to bring the war to an end while responding effectively to an increasingly deadly pandemic? 

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Climate Change After the  Pandemic

As the United States emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic into a recession, policymakers need to consider another global crisis: climate change. How should the United States pursue environmental sustainability alongside economic recovery? 

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Closed signs in a window

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic, already a global health crisis, will cause a global recession and risks causing a depression without a robust response. What role can and should the United States play in domestic and global economic recovery? 

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Empty beds in a field hospital

A hypothetical pop-up case set in 2025: The world has emerged from COVID-19 and is trying to learn the lessons of the pandemic and prepare for the next one. However, a recent report found many countries are still underprepared. What can and should the United States do to secure global health preparedness before the next pandemic arrives?

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Americans voting in front of a flag

Intelligence shows that foreign actors are already interfering in the 2020 U.S. election. How should the United States respond?

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Single person walking forward covered in blue mask

The Wuhan Coronavirus has spread to tens of thousands of people across several countries, threatening to become a global pandemic. How should the United States respond to contain the virus and ease public fears?

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If you have used a pop-up case in the classroom, please fill out our pop-up case survey or email us at modeldiplomacy@cfr.org and let us know how it went. And be sure to follow us on Twitter at @Model_Diplomacy to hear about our most recent pop-up cases the moment they come out.