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: Will the P5+1 Negotiations Succeed?

by James M. Lindsay
April 5, 2012

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton listens to EU foreign policy chief Ashton during a NATO foreign ministers meeting. (Francois Lenoir/courtesy Reuters)


The World Next Week podcast is up. This week, Bob McMahon and I had the week off. Fortunately, Isobel Coleman and Toni Johnson graciously agreed to step in for us to preview next week’s news. They discussed the resumption of Iran and the P5+1’s nuclear talks; the Summit of the Americas in Colombia; the continuing trials of foreign NGO workers in Egypt; and World Health Day.

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The highlights:

  • The Iran and P5+1 talks were scheduled to be held in Istanbul, but Iran has asked for a last minute venue change to another city. Tehran looks to be angry at Ankara for taking a tougher stance against Iran’s ally, Syria. As for the meeting’s substantive prospects, Isobel notes that Iran believes it has a right as a sovereign country to have nuclear capabilities, and the P5+1 doesn’t want Iran to have them. This disconnect, she says, makes the prospects for a negotiation difficult. As Isobel reminds us, “we’ve been down this path before.”
  • Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff will be coming to Washington on April 9th to meet with President Obama before the two head to the Summit of the Americas meeting where Obama and Rousseff will discuss energy and trade, areas where the two nations see room for closer collaboration. Toni sees a speed bump, though, which is that the United States and Brazil have historically had a “shallow” relationship.
  • If the trial of American NGO workers starts up again next week in Cairo, expect heightened tensions between the United States and Egypt. Isobel was just in Cairo and heard many “heated opinions” on the subject. Perhaps even worse, the trial makes other sectors of civil society in Egypt appear more vulnerable to government intervention. This prompts Isobel to ask a distressing question: “what will the new Egypt look like” if civil society is allowed to fall by the wayside?
  • World Health Day is marked each year on April 7, the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization. This year’s theme is “Aging and Health.” The day will have four foci to keep the world’s population healthy as it grows older. They are diet, exercise, and reducing alcohol and tobacco use. So there’s the secret—now go get healthy!
  • Toni’s Figure of the Week is forty-three. Isobel’s Figure of the Week is Khairat El-Shater. As always, you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out why.

Further reading on:

Iran and the P5+1 Nuclear Talks. Iran is coy about holding the talks in Turkey. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expects to get “concrete commitments” from Iran during the negotiations. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has many resources on its continuing Iran sanctions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his UN ambassador disagree as to whether the sanctions on Iran are working. Iraq’s foreign minister would welcome the talks changing locations to Baghdad.

The Summit of the Americas and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s Visit. Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos says he will be “waiting for the FARC.” Because Cuba is excluded from the meeting, Ecuador will boycott the summit. Is the United States dissing Rousseff before her visit? Ray Walser thinks “democracy, human rights, and Iran” should be the main topics of the U.S.-Brazil summit.

The Trial of NGO Workers in Egypt and American NGOs Around the World. The Egyptian government is looking for the NGO workers. The Washington Post editorial board thinks the Obama administration made has made some wrong moves with Egypt. The U.S. is asking Interpol to stop Egypt from arresting American NGO workers. Some foreign countries seem to hate American NGOs. The United Arab Emirates forced the National Democratic Institute, another American NGO, to close its doors in Dubai.

World Health Day. What is World Health Day? The WHO provided a brief for the day entitled “Good health adds life to years: Global brief for World Health Day 2012.” Pakistan is ready to celebrate, too.

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