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: Romney Travels, Mercosur Meets, EU Catches Flak, and Apple and Samsung Battle

by James M. Lindsay
July 26, 2012

Mitt Romney speaks to the press following a meeting with British prime minister David Cameron and British chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne outside 10 Downing Street in London. (Jason Reed/courtesy Reuters) Mitt Romney speaks to the press following a meeting with British prime minister David Cameron and British chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne outside 10 Downing Street in London. (Jason Reed/courtesy Reuters)


The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed Mitt Romney’s foreign trip; Mercosur’s special summit in Rio; anger at the EU’s efforts to make foreign airlines pay for their greenhouse gas emissions; and the Apple-Samsung battle over patents.

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The highlights:

  • Mitt Romney has begun a six-day overseas tour that will take him to Great Britain, Israel, and Poland. During the trip he will meet with government and opposition officials. His trip isn’t generating the kind of excitement that Barack Obama’s did four years ago when the then-presumptive Democratic nominee gave a speech in Berlin that drew a crowd of more than 200,000 people. Romney is hoping that the trip helps demonstrate his foreign policy bona fides and impresses critical voting blocs back home.
  • Venezuela will be attending its first Mercosur summit meeting now that it is a full member of the South American trade group. Long-time member Paraguay, however, will not be in Rio. Its membership in the group was suspended after the Paraguayan congress impeached President Fernando Lugo. Although the Paraguayan constitution permits the congress to impeach a president, Paraguay’s partners in Mercosur regard the ouster as a coup d’etat. They seemingly aren’t as worried about the harm that Hugo Chavez has inflicted on Venzuela’s democracy. Time will tell whether Venezuela’s membership in Mercosur changes its direction and tenor. Chavez, after all, isn’t a fan of capitalism or the United States.
  • The U.S. government hosts a meeting next week for countries upset at the EU’s decision to require foreign airlines to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions when they fly to and from European airports. China, India, Russia, and the United States are among the countries arguing that the EU is imposing an extraterritorial tax and thereby violating the sovereignty of other countries. China has signaled its irritation at the EU’s decision by suspending the purchase of $14 billion worth of jets being manufactured by Europe’s AirBus. European courts have ruled that the new environmental rules are legal, but Washington and others argue that decisions about how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft should be made at the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization.
  • Technology giants Apple and Samsung are battling over patent rights in a court case that has been dubbed “the patent trial of the century.” Patent law was created to enable inventors to benefit from their discoveries, but there are growing complaints that too many patents are being granted for what aren’t true discoveries. The resulting proliferation of patent disputes may be bad for the technology industry, but it has been very, very good for patent lawyers.
  • Bob’s Figure of the Week is 3.49 percent. My Figure of the Week is Ri Sol-ju. 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:

Mitt Romney Visits Great Britain, Israel, and Poland. Following Romney’s speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, Steve Walt has ten questions for the presumptive GOP nominee. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Romney challenged Obama’s foreign policy credentials before jet setting across Europe. Business Insider notes that Romney will steer clear of debt-ridden eurozone nations during his international tour. The New York Times reflects on Romney’s foreign policy campaign tactics.

Mercosur Holds a Special Summit in Rio. BBC provides a general overview of Mercosur—South America’s leading trading bloc. The Wall Street Journal reports that as Brazil-Argentina trade relations sour, Brazil may find new opportunities on the horizon. Reuters reports that Venezuela will join Mercosur as a full member. The Economist reports that Mercosur could be crippled by protectionism and rule-breaking. Associated Press reports that Mercosur sanctions on Paraguay loom as members question Paraguay’s presidential impeachment process. MercoPress reports that Paraguay may challenge Mercosur in front of the International Court of Justice.

The EU’s New Emissions Rules. Reuters reports that a dozen countries will convene for a two-day meeting in Washington, DC, to discuss their opposition to the EU’s emissions trading system. Deutsche Welle reports that the emissions trading system may cause an international trade war. The Guardian notes that 99 percent of major airlines have complied with the first step of the EU’s carbon emissions plan. Reuters suggests that the controversial emissions trading system may stall global climate change talks.

Apple and Samsung Face-Off over Patents. The Wall Street Journal reports the details of the court room arguments and the stakes for both sides. All Things D notes that Google warned Samsung that it was producing products too similar to that of Apple. Bloomberg writes that senior Apple executives will testify in court proceedings. The Wall Street Journal reports that a federal judge sanctioned Samsung for routinely destroying email evidence pertinent to the patent case. FirstPost shares that Samsung charges Apple’s iPhone maker of copying Sony design.

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