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: Pena Nieto Assumes Office, Climate Change Conference Continues in Qatar, and NASA Announces Mars Findings

by James M. Lindsay
November 30, 2012

Mexico's president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto talks to the media in Lima, Peru, in September (Mariana Bazo/Courtesy Reuters). Mexico's president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto talks to the media in Lima, Peru, in September (Mariana Bazo/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the presidential inauguration in Mexico; the UN Climate Change Conference in Qatar; and the highly anticipated announcement from NASA regarding the Mars Curiosity rover.

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The highlights:

  • Enrique Pena Nieto takes the oath of office tomorrow as president of Mexico, five months after being elected. His inauguration marks a shift in party control from the PAN (National Action Party) back to the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), which dominated Mexican politics for most of the twentieth century. The telegenic forty-six-year-old Pena Nieto represents a new generation of PRI leaders, but questions linger about just how different the PRI will be this time around. Pena Nieto’s goal is to change the conversation about Mexico from its drug violence to its economic opportunities.
  • Climate change negotiations continue in Doha. The prospects for a major breakthrough are slight. Despite initial hopes that the international community could design a universal framework for driving down the emission of heat-trapping gases, all signs point to the fact that if progress is to be made in combating climate change it will come through a plethora of smaller, more focused initiatives that combine unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral efforts.
  • NASA will soon tell the world what the Mars Rover mission has found. It apparently has found something. The mission’s chief scientist said a few weeks back that the finding is “one for the history books.” NASA has since backed away from such talk, suggesting that the mission’s finding will interest a select group of scientists but not the broad public.
  • Bob’s Figure of the Week is four. My Figure of the Week is Artur Mas. 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:

Mexico’s Pena Nieto takes office: Reuters reports that Pena Nieto supports U.S. immigration reform and will do his part to tackle illegal immigration. The New York Times writes that Pena Nieto is working hard to emphasize the economic opportunities in Mexico. The Dallas Morning News reports that Vice President Biden will lead the U.S. delegation at Saturday’s inauguration. The Washington Post published an editorial piece by Pena Nieto calling for Mexico and the United States to “rearrange our common priorities.”

The UN Climate Change Conference continues in Qatar: The Washington Post writes that the two-week conference made up of two hundred countries will create the framework for a climate change agreement aimed for 2020. The official website of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change provides agendas, reports, and webcasts for the conference in addition to other official documents. Global News reports on the rising tension between poorer and richer countries attending the conference. Michael Levi explains how the mood at this year’s conference differs from conferences in the past.

NASA gives an update on the Mars rover mission: NPR interviews John Grotzinger, principal investigator for the mission, who claims that the rover has found something “for the history books.” The Huffington Post reports that the finding was made by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, the rover’s chemistry laboratory. The New York Times suggests that the discovery may be less “earthshaking” than the blogosphere anticipates. The official website of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory provides the latest news, images, and videos from the Curiosity rover.

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