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: Iran-IAEA Talks, G8 Summit, President Hollande, and the Cannes Film Festival

by James M. Lindsay
May 10, 2012

IAEA-Iran20120510 Iran's International Atomic Energy Agency ambassador Soltanieh briefs the media during an IAEA board of governors meeting in Vienna on March 8, 2012. (Herwig Prammer/courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed next week’s talks in Vienna between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran; the Group of Eight (G8) summit at Camp David; François Hollande’s inauguration as president of France; and the Cannes Film Festival.

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The highlights:

  • Iranian and IAEA officials meet in Vienna on May 13 and 14 for a new round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program. The meeting comes ahead of Iran’s May 23 meeting with the P5+1 in Baghdad. Iran and the IAEA met earlier this year in January and February; the January talks were seen as “good,” but the February meeting was deemed a “failure” by the White House. The big issue for next week’s talks will be negotiating a visit to the Parchin military site southeast of Tehran. IAEA director general Yukiya Amano has said that there are some questionable “activities” at the site, but he has yet to receive a “positive response” from Iran about visiting Parchin. Adding tension to the dispute is the claim by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) that satellite imagery shows activity at Parchin and that Iran may be “washing” the site before inspectors arrive. Iran has indicated its preference to use these talks as a time to “reflect” on the upcoming P5+1 meeting.
  • The leaders of the G8 are headed toward Camp David, where President Barack Obama will be hosting the G8 Summit. Or more precisely, seven of the eight G8 heads of government will be headed to the presidential retreat on Maryland’s Catoctin Mountain. Russian president Vladimir Putin has canceled, saying he needs to remain in Moscow to finish sorting through his cabinet picks. He is sending former Russian president and current prime minister Dmitri Medvedev in his place. It’s hard not to read Putin’s decision as a slap in the face to Obama. The White House had relocated the G8 Summit from Chicago, where it would have preceded the NATO Summit Meeting, in deference to Putin’s staunch opposition to NATO’s missile defense plans. So it looks as if Putin and Obama won’t have their first presidential meeting until the G20 Summit Meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico in June.
  • François Hollande will be sworn in on May 16 as France’s new president. His first official visit will be to Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel. While on the campaign trail Hollande repeatedly called for Europe to shift to a pro-growth policy to help renew the European economy. Chancellor Merkel, however, isn’t a fan of the “spend-more” school of economics. She is the champion of the “cut-more” school of fiscal austerity. Whether or not Hollande and Merkel can find common ground will have ramifications throughout Europe. The economic numbers in Europe’s hot-spot countries don’t look good, and the Franco-German partnership will be essential to fixing the problem. Meanwhile, elections in Greece make it much more likely that the Greeks may soon find themselves outside the eurozone looking in. Whether that happens, and how it happens, will have consequences for the broader global economy.
  • The Beautiful People will be descending on the French Riviera for the Festival de Cannes and the pursuit of the coveted Palme D’Or. Meanwhile, Disney wonders why no one turned out for John Carter.
  • Bob’s Figure of the Week is Richard Lugar. My Figure of the Week is 165.3 percent. As always, you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out why.

For more on the topics we discussed in the podcast check out:

The IAEA and Iran Talks. The IAEA’s website has a chronology of events with Iran for this year. Al-Jazeera has a timeline of Iran’s nuclear program. Back in 2010, CFR held “A Conversation with Yukiya Amano.” Reuters reports that Iran has been complaining about “nuclear double standards,” and it notes that the hope for Middle East nuclear talks is fading away. Haaretz claims Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not convinced that Iran will halt its nuclear program.

The G8 Summit. Time has a history of the G8.The White House has a profile on Camp David. UPI reports that food security issues will be discussed on the second day of meetings, and CNN notes that President Obama invited four African leaders to that discussion. The Hill says that First Lady Michelle Obama will host the spouses of G8 leaders during the meetings. Global hunger expert Roger Thurow will be hosting a “Twitter town hall” during the food-security section to answer any questions. Claire Godfrey of Oxfam thinks the G8 has “failed to make poverty history.”

François Hollande’s Election and the Future of Europe. The Water’s Edge has an extensive Hollande profile. Timothy Garton Ash says on the Guardian that Hollande and Merkel need new methods to save the eurozone. Doug Saunders wonders in the Globe and Mail if Hollande and Merkel can find middle ground. Reuters reports that the eurozone’s new emphasis on growth could end the problem with equities. The Washington Post mentions that after the anti-austerity elections, Europe must come up with a new “grand project.”

Cannes Film Festival. The festival has an official website. Benjamin Craig of the Prague Film School offers a text history of the event, and the Los Angeles Times has a visual history of Cannes. The BBC has a quick guide for all things Cannes. If you’re planning to go, Caroline Patek writes at Forbes on how to see the festival “in style.”

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