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: North Korean Rocket Launch, the IAEA Iran Talk, and Another EU Summit

by James M. Lindsay
December 7, 2012

Anti-North Korean activists from conservative and right wing civic groups attend a rally in Seoul denouncing the North's plan for a rocket launch (Lee Jae-Won/Courtesy Reuters). Anti-North Korean activists from conservative and right wing civic groups attend a rally in Seoul denouncing the North's plan for a rocket launch (Lee Jae-Won/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed North Korea’s impending rocket launch; the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) discussion on Iran’s nuclear program; and the year-end EU summit.

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The highlights:

  • North Korea has announced that it will launch a long-range rocket sometime between December 10 and 22. Explanations for Pyongyang’s announcement abound: Kim Jong-un is asserting his control over the military, he wants to mark the one-year anniversary of his ascension to power, or this is an effort to influence South Korea’s December 19 presidential election. The United States, China, Russia, and virtually every other major power have warned North Korea against the missile launch, which violates a 2009 UN resolution. Such condemnation didn’t stop Pyongyang from launching a missile this past April. That test turned out to be a bust with the rocket falling into the Yellow Sea ninety seconds after launch. If this test flight succeeds, concern over the threat that North Korea poses to its neighbors and the United States will escalate substantially.
  • Iran announced this week that it will continue working on enriching uranium and pursuing its nuclear program despite international sanctions. The IAEA is meeting in Vienna to discuss whether Tehran’s intentions are peaceful. Iran’s steady progress toward gaining a nuclear weapons capability means it is moving ever closer to the red lines that Israel and the United States have drawn.
  • European leaders are gathering in Brussels for the annual year-end EU summit. They have a long list of unfinished business to attend to, including what the EU budget will look like and how to handle Greece’s budget woes. The backdrop for the meeting is publics that are restive after several years of austerity have failed to rejuvenate European economic growth. Unemployment in the EU has hit a historic high of 11.7 percent.
  • Bob’s Figure of the Week is Mohammed Morsi. My Figure of the Week is thirty-eight. 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:

North Korea announces another rocket launch: The Epoch Times describes the regional tensions that have risen in northeast Asia. Yonhap News writes that North Korea’s rocket launch is an early, unforeseen challenge for China’s new leadership. David Wright speculates about the motives behind the upcoming rocket launch. The Washington Post reports that North Korea’s impending rocket launch has taken attention from South Korea’s own failed satellite launch.

The IAEA discusses Iran: The Washington Post writes on the increase in the number of centrifuges in Iran and its potential consequences. AFP contends that Iran is willing to “continue enrichment with force.” Foreign Policy reports on the most recent round of sanctions on Iran, which Congress pushed for over White House objections. NBCNews.com writes that the IAEA has not been able to determine if Iran’s nuclear ambitions are peaceful because of the country’s lack of cooperation.

The year-end EU summit takes place in Brussels: The Washington Post describes the establishment of a banking supervisor as one of the main sources of gridlock in EU summit meetings. The New York Times outlines the reactions of various leaders and what a banking supervisor would mean for their country. Reuters identifies the rift between France and Germany as the primary obstruction to consensus. Bloomberg Businessweek writes that the EU summit also hopes to establish a budget for the Eurozone.

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