The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the upcoming GOP debate in Iowa, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s visit to Washington, and Russia’s anticipated entrance into the World Trade Organization (WTO).
- With the Iowa caucuses just a little more than three weeks away, the GOP presidential candidates are looking to make that final sale with voters. The big questions that will be answered at Saturday night’s debate at Drake University in Des Moines is which candidates will criticize Newt Gingrich, the new GOP frontrunner, and what line of attack they will use.
- President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki are scheduled to discuss “the comprehensive strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq.” In other words, they are going to discuss what comes next after the last U.S. troops leave Iraq by the end of this month. The conversation will likely remind Obama of what he already knows: U.S. interests in Iraq are far more substantial than its influence.
- Georgia (the country, not the state or university) looks to have lifted its opposition to Russia’s joining the World Trade Organization, so Russia should soon (and finally) become a member of the body that governs international trade. The economic benefits of joining the WTO probably won’t come soon enough for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. His United Russia Party did less well than expected in last weekend’s parliamentary elections, and some Russians have taken to the streets to protest electoral fraud.
- Bob’s Figure of the Week is 58 percent. My Figure of the Week is Newt Gingrich. You can probably guess why I chose Gingrich. But to find out where Bob plucked the number 58 from you will need to listen to the podcast.
The New York Times reports on the Republican presidential candidates’ efforts to attack President Obama’s perceived softness in dealing with U.S. enemies, and Politico argues that many of the GOP candidates took hard-line positions on issues relating to the Middle East at the Republican Jewish Coalition forum this week. The Wall Street Journal details the steady removal of American troops from Iraq, and Foreign Policy discusses NATO efforts to extend its training mission there. The Daily Telegraph asks how WTO membership may change Russia, and the Moscow Times considers the effect of membership on Russia’s agricultural industries.