James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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The World Next Week: NATO in Libya, the G20 Meets, “7 Billion Day”

by James M. Lindsay
October 27, 2011

A French jet returns from a mission in Libya to the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. (Benoit Tessier/courtesy Reuters)

A French jet returns from a mission in Libya to the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. (Benoit Tessier/courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I sat down to discuss NATO weighing the end to operations in Libya; the G20 gathering in Cannes; and the world’s population reaching seven billion.

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The highlights:

  • NATO looked poised to declare an end to its mission in Libya effective October 31. Libya’s National Transitional Council, however, has asked NATO to continue its mission through the end of the year. The request poses some dilemmas for NATO, and it highlights the challenges facing the new Libyan government in the months to come.
  • The G20 meets in Cannes. The big issue on the table is the potential impact that the Eurozone’s economic difficulties will have on the world economy. European leaders have struck what may be a historic deal to bring their debt problems under control. But questions remain as to whether it is big enough, and has come soon enough, to solve the problem.
  • Historians estimate that world population stood at 170 million in 1 AD. World population did not reach one billion until the early nineteenth century. It hit six billion in 1999, and according to the UN’s count, it hits seven billion on October 31. The growth in the world’s population raises the question that has been around since at least the time of Thomas Malthus: do we have too many people? So far the optimists on that question have been proven right. But will they always be?
  • Bob’s Figure of the Week is Angela Merkel. My Figure of the Week is 275. As always, listen to the podcast to find out why.

NATO releases an operational media update announcing that the alliance will make a formal decision this week on the conclusion of its involvement in Libya. Reuters reports that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging nations to set aside domestic problems and focus on addressing the international financial crisis, while the Eurasia Review urges greater transparency and the inclusion of regional organizations in the G20. National Geographic produces a short clip featuring some surprising figures, and the Wall Street Journal looks at trends in population growth among different nations.

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