from The Water's Edge

The World Next Week

December 4, 2010

Blog Post

The podcast for The World Next Week is up.  Bob McMahon and I discussed the pending resumption of the P5+1 talks with Tehran on Iran’s nuclear program; the looming parliamentary vote on Ireland’s austerity budget and what it means for the broader Eurozone crisis; the immigration law case that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear next week; and this weekend’s second round of parliamentary elections in Egypt.

[audio: http://www.cfr.org/content/publications/media/podcast/2010/20101203_TWN…]

The highlights:

  • The latest round of sanctions have placed a greater strain on the Iranian economy than most experts had predicted, and there are signs of divisions between the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  But it’s still not clear that Iran will accept any restrictions on its plans to enrich uranium.
  • The Irish parliament is faced with having to accept some tough budget medicine, but the problems in the Eurozone may be spreading to Spain and Italy. A major stress on the Eurozone stems from the fact that its northern members are much more competitive economically than its southern members.
  • Congress is unlikely to make much progress in passing immigration reform, meaning that what the U.S. Supreme Court decides about a pending Arizona state law could have a major impact. At stake is whether immigration law is the sole province of the federal government or whether states can also play a role. If the Court rules in Arizona’s favor, expect more states to pass laws restricting immigration.
  • Egypt’s first round of elections for the People’s Assembly (or lower house of parliament) were held last week and they were anything but free and fair.  As a result, Egypt’s opposition parties are boycotting this weekend’s run-off vote.  The Obama administration has been quiet about the Egyptian vote, in good part because it has little leverage over Egypt.  Only a few years after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave a major address in Cairo saying that the United States stood with democratic activists, the Freedom Agenda has run smack into geopolitical realities.

Many news outlets have published stories on these issues. Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, and Politico’s Laura Rozen all look ahead to the upcoming P5+1 talks with Iran. The Wall Street Journal also offers an overview of Ireland’s budget process and the New York Times outlines the Eurozone’s growing North-South divide.  SCOTUSblog presents the basics of the Arizona illegal immigration statute under Supreme Court scrutiny, while the Economist provides background on Arizona’s immigration battle.  Newsweek weighed in on what Egypt’s first round of parliamentary elections say about the health of the Egyptian state, and the Christian Science Monitor put the elections into the broader context of Obama administration policy.

(Photo: Asmaa Waguih / courtesy Reuters)

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