A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
House Democrats will meet on Wednesday (November 30) to vote on their leadership going into the next Congress following the momentous (albeit expected) confirmation that Nancy Pelosi is stepping aside after the Democrats’ narrow midterms loss. Pelosi, who made history by becoming the first woman to lead the House Democrats, looks likely to be replaced by New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries, who would be the first African American to hold the position.
French President Emmanuel Macron heads to DC next week, where he and his wife Brigitte will be hosted at the White House on Thursday (December 1) for the first full-scale state visit of Joe Biden’s presidency. Despite early tensions between Washington and Paris over France’s exclusion from the AUKUS security pace, Biden and Macron are likely to stress their shared priority of supporting Ukraine when they meet, though in private economic tensions – notably over US subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act – are sure to be raised.
While we now know that Republicans will control the House from next year, and Democrats the Senate, the December 6 run-off in the contest in Georgia between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker remains important – not least because with a 51-49 majority in the Senate, Democrats would have a majority on committees and would be able to confirm administration nominations at a significantly faster pace. Walker has hosted a slew of Republican Senators in the weeks since the midterms, but Warnock will benefit from the Democratic Party’s star campaigner when he’s joined by Barack Obama on Thursday (December 1) for a rally in Atlanta. The event takes a day before early voting, which traditionally favors Democrats, ends on Friday (December 2).
The conflict in Ukraine will be at the forefront of international news week as NATO foreign ministers gather in Bucharest on Tuesday and Wednesday (November 29 and 30) before the annual gathering of OSCE foreign ministers takes place in Lodz, Poland, on Thursday and Friday (December 1 and 2). Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is due to participate in the NATO meeting, and may join Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg among speakers at the Aspen-GMF Bucharest Forum taking place alongside the ministerial on Tuesday.
Sweden and Finland’s bids to become fully-fledged members of the alliance are likely to be discussed following confirmation that Hungary will not block them, putting pressure on Turkey to follow through on its commitment to sign off on their membership. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is also, as it happens, speaking at the Aspen-GMF event on Tuesday.
The recent, ultimately unfounded, fears that a Russian missile had landed inside Polish sovereign territory were a reminder of the stakes in the conflict in Ukraine given its proximity to NATO members, and this won’t be lost on attendees at the OSCE meeting. The ministerial has often provided a neutral setting for relatively low-profile talks on the margins between the US and Russian foreign ministers, but not this year. Though US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is expected at both meetings, it appears veteran Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov won’t be permitted to attend the gathering following a decision by Polish authorities citing EU sanctions.
World Cup action continues in Qatar as the USMNT take on Iran on Tuesday (November 29) in a game that could have huge significance and symbolic importance. In their opening match against England, the Iranian team stayed silent during the singing of their national anthem in a powerful sign of support for the ongoing protests across the country. Iranian state media blamed the protests and its foreign enemies for the loss, and the pressure on players will be even greater as they face the ‘Great Satan’ – a win would be a propaganda coup for the regime, while a loss could see the government double down on claims of ‘psychological warfare’. The two sides met in the 1998 World Cup, in what became known as the most ‘politically-charged’ match of all time, but the tensions between the Iranian team, fans and regime this year make the domestic ramifications at least as interesting as the international dynamic.