State the issue/topic of your “country report” using a single complete sentence preferably. Keep the focus narrowly to ONE key issue that shapes relations between the US and Russia, Iran, OR China. You may elaborate details in a subsequent paragraph.

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  • REMEMBER to choose an issue that would be of interest to one of the four following people: Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Honourable Marc Garneau, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, David Vigneault, OR Minister of National Defence, The Honourable Harjit Sajjan.
  • REMEMBER that in this brief you must also compare the two countries. Think about how their DOMESTIC politics and government impacts how they interact with one another on the world stage. Comparative politics focuses primarily on politics within national boundaries. We compare countries with different regime types to understand better the differences between them.


  • This section should provide the decision maker with the factual information about what the issue of concern is and what, if anything has been done in the past. If applicable make sure to note what has changed with a Joe Biden presidency. You can think of this as “historical context” as well, if that helps.
  • Use full-sentence bullets to briefly summarize relevant background information. Each bullet may include multiple sentences.

CURRENT SITUATION (you must have a clear position on the issue you have chosen to write about)

  • Identify the state of the problem or issue at this moment in time (ie. what is the key issue you are addressing?). Remember this will depend on the area of focus of the Canadian official you are writing – defense, intelligence, diplomacy, foreign affairs – as well as the countries you are writing about the US and Russia, Iran OR China.

KEY CONSIDERATIONS OR POINTs OF COMPARISON (here you might elaborate on 3 major points)

  • What is the nature of the problem, the scope, urgency etc. In other words, tell us more about the issue you have chosen to write about.
  • ALSO make sure to discuss how domestic political situations in both countries impact how they deal with this issue? Do we see any key differences in approaches that we might tie to regime type?
  • This section should present your analysis and provide key points of comparison to the decision-maker.
  • You can use full-sentence bullets to set out your analysis of the salient considerations and options, if that helps you organize your thoughts. Each bullet may include multiple sentences.


This section should concisely present the argument, your rationale for choosing this issue to write about, and also reiterate the conclusions you came you by comparing the US with either Russia, Iran or China.

Here you may also offer a vision of the future, scenarios under which you can see the situation changing.

You will need to cite 5-7 sources (at least one Interuptrr – See country report guidelines for details).

Normally, one doesn’t cite in a briefing note but you must! Use MLA, Chicago or APA… doesn’t matter but cite all facts and ideas that are not yours.

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