TOP NEWS: Nat’l Security / Foreign Affairs: May 23, 2012
- Egyptians Go to Polls in Landmark Presidential Election
- Nuclear talks begin, U.N. says deal with Iran near
- A Greek Exit Could Make the Euro Area Stronger
- Satellites Show More Work at North Korean Nuclear Site
- In poll, Russians see wide gap between democratic ideals and reality
Excerpts and more stories below
Egyptians Go to Polls in Landmark Presidential Election – David D. Kirkpatrick and Alan Cowell, NY Times
After weeks of fevered debate, speculation and argument, Egyptians went to the polls on Wednesday in the Arab world’s first competitive presidential election, choosing between a dozen candidates spanning the nation’s secular and Islamist traditions after decades of authoritarian rule.
Nuclear talks begin in Baghdad, a day after U.N. watchdog says deal with Iran is near – Liz Sly and Joby Warrick, Washington Post
World powers began a fresh round of talks with Iran on Wednesday amid hopes of progress toward a deal on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program that could help lift the threat of war hanging over the Middle East.
A Greek Exit Could Make the Euro Area Stronger – Jacob Kirkegaard, Bloomberg
A Greek exit from the euro area would inflict heavy damage in Greece and throughout Europe. It could also be one of the best things that ever happened to the currency union.
Satellite Images Show More Work at North Korean Nuclear Site – Choe Sang-Hun, NY Times
North Korea warned on Tuesday that it would have to take “countermeasures” if the United States insisted on sanctions, while the latest satellite imagery of the country’s nuclear test site suggested heightened preparations for a possible underground nuclear test.
In poll, Russians see wide gap between democratic ideals and reality – Will Englund, Washington Post
With Russia in a state of political ferment for the first time in more than a decade, a new poll has found sharply expressed and seemingly contradictory opinions holding sway. Russians strongly support specific characteristics of democracy, such as fair courts, a free press and honest elections — but don’t mention the word “democracy,” or support drops way off.
Power With Purpose – Thomas L. Friedman, NY Times Opinion
Political power is always a double-edged sword. The more of it you amass, the more people expect you to use it to do big things, and, when you don’t, the more ineffectual you look. That’s the dilemma in which Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel finds himself.
An underwhelming approach to Iran’s nuclear ambitions – Reuel Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz, The Washington Post
Wednesday’s meeting on Iran’s nuclear program will be a competition of fears. Who is sufficiently terrified of an atom bomb in Iranian hands to credibly threaten military action? Who fears the immediate economic consequences of Persian petroleum coming off the market more than the longer-term menace of a nuclear-armed state that supports terrorism? Who dreads above all else an Israeli preemptive strike?
Egypt’s presidential election: a game of the least bad option – Magdi Abdelhadi, The Guardian
Egypt oscillates between euphoria and resignation. The prospect of electing the country’s first-ever president in a multi-candidate race is exhilarating. But when you look at what is on offer, many feel despondent.
Shining India, swaggering India – Sidharth Bhatia, The Times of India
India has not handled its success well. Instead of the greater responsibility that should come with greater power and wealth, we have chosen to swagger [...] The world is laughing at our pompousness and this makes us more furious.
Hollande’s first world appearance a double success – Bastien Inzaurralde, The Christian Science Monitor
With his announcement of the pullout of French combat troops from Afghanistan by year-end, President François Hollande yesterday concluded an intense four-day introduction to global affairs, less than a week after taking office.
Germany, France draw battle lines over common bonds – Noah Barkin and Leigh Thomas, Reuters
Germany dismissed a French-led call for euro zone governments to issue common bonds, a day before a European Union summit which investors are looking to for new measures to counter the bloc’s debt crisis.
Military leaders, Clinton push for Senate to ratify sea treaty - Associated Press via The Washington Post
The nation’s top military leader says U.S. approval of a long-spurned high seas treaty would strengthen American naval power.