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: Can Iran Close the Strait of Hormuz?

by James M. Lindsay
January 6, 2012

Iranian submarines take part in a naval parade near the Strait of Hormuz (courtesy Reuters). Iranian submarines take part in a naval parade near the Strait of Hormuz (courtesy Reuters).


The World Next Week podcast is upBob McMahon and I discussed the mounting tensions in the Persian Gulf; next week’s Republican primary in New Hampshire; and the conclusion of Egypt’s first post-Mubarak election.

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The highlights:

  • The United States has imposed tough new sanctions on Iran’s central bank, and the EU looks poised to impose an embargo on Iranian crude oil exports. Tehran has responded with tough talk about closing down the Strait of Hormuz, talk it almost certainly can’t back up. But the saber rattling can drive up oil prices and unsettle insurance companies and financial markets.
  • Foreign policy wasn’t a decisive issue for most GOP voters in the Iowa caucuses, and Ron Paul’s third place finish means it likely won’t be decisive in next week’s New Hampshire primary either. But if Paul had won Iowa, foreign policy, or more precisely, Paul’s criticism of America’s large global footprint, would likely have been the hot topic of conversation.
  • Islamist groups look set to dominate Egypt’s new parliament, which has the potential to reshape politics in the region. Meanwhile, Washington is adapting to the new political climate in Egypt in ways that would have been unthinkable a year ago.
  • Bob’s Figure of the Week is $103.22. My Figure of the Week is Rick Santorum. But listen to the podcast to find out why.

Reuters reports that the EU has agreed in principle to an embargo on Iranian oil, and the New York Times examines the economic impact if Iran were to respond by closing the Strait of Hormuz. The Wall Street Journal writes that Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich have traded foreign policy criticisms leading into New Hampshire, and Foreign Policy analyzes the effects of the Iowa caucus on Republican foreign policy. Reuters provides an overview of the final stage in Egypt’s first elections after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, and the Washington Post discusses the ongoing trial of the former Egyptian president.

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