Take Me to Your Leader

In his meetings yesterday in Brazil, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called on leadership there to put pressure on China to appreciate its currency, something the administration as a whole and Geithner in particular have been pushing in speeches and meetings for a while now. Geithner met with Brazlian President Dilma Rousseff and other officials. Afterward, he said the two countries pledged to “work together on the global stage to build a more balanced and more stable, stronger multilateral economic system" and to bolster economic ties.

Floating somewhere above the earth, there are hundreds of thousands of pieces of debris threatening satellites in orbit. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and French Defence Minister Alain Juppe want to do something about that. Today in Washington, the two will sign a “Space Situational Awareness Partnership” to increase information sharing about this rogue debris and other congestion. Washington already signed a similar agreement with Australia last year and launched a brand new space security policy last week.

Washington is focusing on the difficulties of transition in Egypt and encouraging leaders there to open up the political dialogue to a wider range of voices. The country would need to hold elections within 60 days of President Hosni Mubarak stepping down, should he choose to do so. State Department spokesman PJ Crowley asked rhetorically whether Egypt was ready “to have a competitive, open election, given the recent past where, quite honestly, elections were less than free and fair.” In response, he said, “I think that would be a challenging undertaking.” Both in the presidency and in the parliament, there is a lot of work to be done before Egypt can get to the free-and-fair point.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov just officially brought New START into existence, and Washington is already trying to open up a new round of nuclear-disarmament talks. The Obama administration, as part of its vision to free the world of nuclear weapons, wants to discuss reducing the number of short-range missiles in each country’s arsenal. But Moscow said yesterday that it is too early to talk about that kind of thing.