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: Egypt Votes (Again), Iran Talks (Some More), and G20 Leaders Gather (in Mexico)

by James M. Lindsay
June 14, 2012

A campaign poster in Cairo depicts Egyptian presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi. (Ammar Awad/courtesy Reuters) A campaign poster in Cairo depicts Egyptian presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi. (Ammar Awad/courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the Egyptian presidential run-off election, the P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran, and the start of the G20 and Rio+20 summits.

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The highlights:

  • Egyptians head to the polls this weekend to cast their votes in the country’s presidential run-off election. The two final candidates are Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, and Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Whoever wins faces some daunting challenges: defining the powers of the presidency, rebuilding the economy, and deciding the place of the military in Egyptian politics are among them.
  • While Egyptians decide their future, negotiators from the P5+1 will be meeting in Moscow with their counterparts from Iran for the third round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program. The optimism that accompanied the start of this round of negotiations has faded. The one impending development that could shake things up is that the EU is set to impose an oil embargo on Iran beginning July 1.
  • World leaders are convening in Mexico for the G20 summit, while Brazil hosts the Rio+20 forum. The two summits will focus on different aspects of the global economy—the G20 will spend a lot of time talking about the eurozone crisis and R+20 will be discussing a “green” global economy. As with the Moscow talks, big breakthroughs aren’t likely at either summit. G20 countries can’t agree on whether the current global situation calls for more stimulus or more austerity. And amidst the turmoil in the global economy, governments are even less enthusiastic than usual in doing much to curb the emission of heat-trapping gases.
  • Bob’s Figure of the Week is 7 percent. My Figure of the Week is Antonis Samaris. 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 Egyptian Presidential Run-off Election. Al-Arabiya notes that Mohammed Morsi has an early lead among Egyptian expats in the run-off vote. The New York Times says that Ahmed Shafiq recently blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for attacks on protestors in Tahrir Square last year. The Washington Post writes on Hosni Mubarak’s deteriorating health condition since his conviction on June 2. Bloomberg reports that Egypt’s parliament has chosen a panel to draft a new constitution. Foreign Affairs says that the run-off between Morsi and Shafiq represents a return to old guard politics.

The P5+1 Nuclear Talks with Iran. The Christian Science Monitor reports on both sides’ frustrations as the talks approach. AFP writes on Iran’s criticisms of the European Union, and its assertion that world powers should “accept our demands.” Bloomberg explains why Iran’s decision to convert some uranium to metal plates may be good news. Reuters notes that Iran has agreed to discuss a P5+1 proposal on changes to its nuclear program. The Associated Press reports on Iran’s denial of allegations that it destroyed parts of a military base in order to cover up evidence of nuclear testing.

The G20 and Rio+20 Summits. Bloomberg notes that one German official believes the G20 must act to stem the European debt crisis. The Washington Post says that slow economic growth around the world has spurred new talk of stimulus spending. Reuters writes that Felipe Calderon, Mexico’s president, believes Europe must act quickly to finalize plans in support of Spanish banks. The Guardian notes that expectations for action at the Rio+20 are low despite the UN’s assessment of a rapid decline in the world’s environment. The Christian Science Monitor reports on the challenges of Brazil’s rapid urbanization as it prepares to host the Rio+20 summit.


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