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: Francois Hollande Visits Washington, Egypt Marks the Anniversary of Mubarak’s Ouster, and the Chicago Auto Show Opens

by James M. Lindsay
February 6, 2014

U.S. president Barack Obama shakes hands with French president Francois Hollande after a meeting in the Oval Office in 2012. (Eric Feferberg/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. president Barack Obama shakes hands with French president Francois Hollande after a meeting in the Oval Office in 2012. (Eric Feferberg/Courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed French president Francois Hollande’s upcoming visit to Washington, the third anniversary of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in Egypt, and the Chicago Auto Show.

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The highlights:

  • French president Francois Hollande travels to Washington next week for an official state visit with Barack Obama. As with all such visits, both parties hope to use the meeting to strengthen the ties that bind the two countries. Hollande and Obama will have no shortage of foreign policy topics to discuss, with Iran and Syria likely to top the list. Hollande took a somewhat harder line on Iran than Obama did in the negotiations that produced the interim nuclear deal, but don’t expect the two presidents to make much of those differences during their public appearances. And it won’t only be work for the two presidents. They will take a break from discussions and travel to Monticello, the mountaintop home of Thomas Jefferson, the founder of the University of Virginia and a noted Francophile.
  • As Hollande and Obama enjoy their state dinner, Egypt will mark the third anniversary of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster. Over the past three years, Egyptians have traveled an all-too-familiar, and depressing, trajectory: high hopes followed by dashed expectations. Last month Egypt adopted its second constitution since Mubarak was toppled; it gives more power to the military and the police. Between now and April 18, Egyptians will go to the polls to elect a new president. The odds are good that Field Marshall Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi will throw his hat in the ring and win convincingly, making him the sixth army officer to rule Egypt since 1952. If so, he will face no shortage of challenges. Near the top of the list will be stopping a low-level insurgency that looks to be gaining strength as Egyptians waging jihad abroad return home to attack the military-backed government.
  • Next week, Chicago hosts its annual auto show, which it bills as America’s largest. Carmakers from around the world will be showcasing cars they are ready to sell today as well as futuristic concept cars that could end up in showrooms a few years down the road. Among the autos expected to make a debut is Kia’s much anticipated new electric vehicle—the latest in a growing trend toward producing more environmentally friendly cars. The Chicago show will also highlight the growing convergence of Silicon Valley and Detroit, as more and more cars adopt hi-tech features and gadgets.
  • Bob’s Figure of the Week is $70 billion. My Figure of the Week is Jon Wellinghoff. Our audience-nominated Figure of the Week comes from TWNW listener Nazila Vali (@NazilaVa) who picked 117. 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:

Hollande Visits Washington: The Economist argues that Hollande’s visit is an opportunity for him to improve France’s image. Bloomberg Businessweek discusses issues raised for the White House by Hollande’s recent split with his partner. Newsplex.com reports that Obama and Hollande will visit Monticello. The German Marshall Fund previews Hollande’s visit.

Egypt: Elliott Abrams writes about what the United States should do in Egypt and the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egyptian politics. Steven Cook offers “Three Things to Know” about the ban on the Muslim Brotherhood. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace analyzes “Egypt’s post-Mubarak predicament.” CBS News reports that violence erupted on the third anniversary of the uprisings in Egypt. The Los Angeles Times writes that Egypt still suffers from deep political divisions. The New York Times argues that the surge of violence in Egypt is caused by the return of jihadists to the country.

Chicago Auto Show: Forbes lists the environmentally “meanest” cars for 2014. GreenCarReports.com previews the green technology at this year’s Chicago Auto Show. The Daily Herald describes some of the new technology automakers are incorporating this year. New York Daily News reports on the five most important cars at the Chicago Auto Show.

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