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: Clinton Meets Morsi, India Picks a President, Hungary Hosts the EU and IMF, and Somalia Struggles

by James M. Lindsay
July 12, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exits a plane in Tbilisi, Georgia in July 2012. Clinton begins a two-day visit to Egypt this weekend. (David Mdzinarishvili/courtesy Reuters) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exits a plane in Tbilisi, Georgia in July 2012. Clinton begins a two-day visit to Egypt this weekend. (David Mdzinarishvili/courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Egypt; the Indian presidential election; the European Commission-International Monetary Fund visit to Hungary; and the United Nations Security Council debate on Somalia.

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The highlights:

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stops in Cairo this weekend as part of her two-week global tour. She is the most senior U.S. official to visit the country since Mohamed Morsi was sworn in as Egypt’s first freely elected president. She is arriving in Cairo at a delicate time—the Muslim Brotherhood is locked in a struggle with the Egyptian military over who will lead Egypt. Secretary Clinton will be treading a delicate diplomatic path, trying to avoid alienating both political power centers while preserving whatever slim ability Washington might have to encourage the consolidation of Egypt’s democracy.
  • The post of president of India has traditionally been a ceremonial one, as the locus of power and influence has been in the prime minister’s office. But things may be changing as the candidates of India’s two main political parties, the Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are vigorously campaigning for the post. The intense competition for the post reflects the fact that neither party is expected to win a convincing majority in the Indian Congress in elections scheduled for 2014, and so it will fall to the Indian president to decide which party or parties will get the chance to form a government.
  • IMF and European Commission representatives arrive in Budapest next week to discuss plans for a €15 billion aid package that the Hungarian government is seeking. Hungary has the highest debt to GDP ratio in the EU, inflation is rising, and international investors are looking elsewhere. Nonetheless, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban has been in a war of words with the EU and the IMF amidst concerns that he is taking Hungary down a non-democratic path.
  • Somalia has been working through a peace and national reconciliation process since last September. The process spells out priority measures to be completed before the transitional governing period ends on August 20. Although Somalia has a long way to go, the reconciliation process is yielding some successes.
  • Bob’s Figure of the Week is 12.9 billion. My Figure of the Week is Nawaf Fares. 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:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Visit to Egypt. AP reports that Clinton is urging Egyptian leaders to work together to settle their differences for the good of Egypt. Fox News writes that Clinton says the Obama administration is pleased by what it has seen from Morsi so far. The Chicago Tribune covers Morsi’s efforts to start talks with the Egyptian military to diffuse the parliament crisis.

Indian Presidential Election. Reuters reports on the dynamics between Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi and Indian presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee. The Times of India says that the campaign of presidential candidate Purno A. Sangma has dug up new dirt on Mukherjee. The New York Times notes that the Indian presidency is unlikely to have the same appearance of neutrality that it had before the upcoming election. The International Herald Tribune asks whether it is better for India to have a partisan president or an apolitical one.

European Commission-International Monetary Fund Visit Hungary. Reuters reports that the Hungarian Parliament has approved amendments to the central bank law. Bloomberg notes that the EU’s Fiscal Council doubts Hungary’s ability to meet its budget deficit target. Bloomberg Businessweek writes that Hungary has had the EU’s highest interest rates for a sixth consecutive month. The Wall Street Journal reports that Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban will resist IMF pressures to introduce new taxes.

United Nations Security Council Debate on Somalia. Al Africa reports that a UN envoy to Somalia urged Somalis to focus on the nation’s future as Somalia’s current transitional governing period nears its end on August 20. Reuters notes that Somalia’s government accused Kenya of selling oil blocks, which the Somali government claims belongs to Somalia, to multinational companies. Voice of America says that a UN ban on charcoal exports from Somalia has hurt a local economy. Reuters reports that the UN is considering sanctions on two Eritrean military officials accused of aiding Islamist militants in Somalia.

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