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U.S. Defense Budget, Obama's Foreign Tour, and Democracy and Islam

April 10, 2009

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Arab News (Saudi Arabia)

  • Democracy in the Muslim World: An editorial stresses that democracy is growing and strengthening across the Muslim world. It points to yesterday's elections in Indonesia as an example, and calls on the West not to adopt such a patronizing attitude toward Islam.

Business Day (South Africa)

  • Jacob†Zuma:†Xolela Mangcu,†affiliated to†the Brookings Institution, looks at the decision to drop charges against ANC leader Jacob Zuma. The writer cautions against cultural bias, and insists that the decision-making process†was†rational and fair.

China Daily

  • China and Protectionism:†Chen Deming, China's minister of commerce, argues that adopting a protectionist attitude would not help China in the current global economic crisis. Instead, he argues, China should push for free trade†and respect for free trade regulations.

Christian Science Monitor

  • U.S. Defense Budget Cuts: In an editorial, it warns that a battle is under way between the Obama administration and the 'military-industrial complex' over attempts to reduce defense spending. The newspaper says†Obama and†Defense Secretary†Gates†should heed President Eisenhower's warning about the undue influence this lobby can wield.

Dawn (Pakistan)

  • Pipelines and Peace: An editorial iconsiders the proposed gas pipeline†joining Iran, Pakistan, and India. According to the newspaper, India is dragging its feet over the project, and could back out altogether. The paper argues that Pakistan should press ahead anyway, in the interests of its regional strategy and influence.

Economist

  • A Nuclear-Free World?: †In an editorial, the Economist looks at the challenges facing President Obama and others who want to see a nuclear-free world. While the magazine says that reducing nuclear weapons to zero is probably an impossibility, it argues that there should be a concerted effort to reduce them anyway, preferably with help from China and Russia.
  • Turkey and the EU: In a second editorial, it thinks that President Obama's public call for Turkey to be allowed membership to the European Union could backfire against him. According to the Economist, Europe's leaders do not like to be told who should join them, and want Turkey to make changes before it can do so.
  • Reforming the IMF: The Economist also looks back to the G-20 summit in London, and the fresh funds pledged to the IMF. It says that this should be a spur to further reforms at the international institution, most importantly the establishment of clearer rules and better governance.†

Globe and Mail (Canada)

  • Global Economic Crisis: An editorial cautions against panic over the current economic situation in Canada. The newspaper maintains that, as both exports and imports are up, as is Canadian investment abroad, there are signs that things are not getting any worse, and that Canada is in a position to ride out the crisis.

Hindustan Times (India)

  • Indian Elections: Sitaram Yechury, a†left-wing party leader,†looks at the possible shape of the government in India after the upcoming elections. He says that the pressure to make India a more presidential system should be resisted, even if parliamentary compromises and alliances are hard to achieve.

Houston Chronicle

  • Obama and the Muslim World: An editorial welcomes President Obama's attempt to build bridges with the Muslim countries†on his recent foreign tour. While noting that the Muslim world needs to become more tolerant, the newspaper concludes that the real test will come over the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

Jerusalem Post

  • Obama Abroad: An editorial considers President Obama's recent foreign trip. The newspaper concludes that Benjamin Netanyahu needs to convince the U.S. president that there should be no softening of the U.S. position over Iran.

Moscow Times

  • Moldova: An editorial in the Moscow Times considers last weekend's elections in Moldova and the ensuing violence. The newspaper calls on international efforts to help solve the Transdnestr dispute behind many of Moldova's problems.

National (UAE)

  • Crisis and Opportunity: In an editorial,†it argues that out of a crisis such as the one now affecting the global economy, fresh ideas and choices can emerge. The newspaper says that institutions which reinforce transparency and fair-dealing must be bolstered for the time when the crisis is over.

New York Times

  • Medvedev's Silence: An editorial urges the Russian president†to stand up for the rule of law in his country. By doing so, the newspaper argues, the Russian leader would assert his independence from former president Putin, and gain credibility in the West.

Telegraph (UK)

  • Fighting†Piracy:†Commentator John Keegan calls for decisive action against the Somali pirates. He says they must be hunted down, and their vessels sunk, arguing that by their actions the pirates have forfeited their rights.

Times of London

  • Sri Lanka Conflict: An editorial looks at the situation in Sri Lanka. The newspaper deplores the fact that although very close to military victory, the government in Colombo has created a siege-like situation for many thousands of innocent civilians. It calls on the Colombo government to agree to a cease-fire.

Wall Street Journal

  • U.S. Defense Cuts: An editorial looks†at Defense Secretary Gates' proposals to reduce the U.S. defense budget, concentrating on his attempts to bring in significant reforms to the procurement process. The newspaper thinks he is going to have a hard time getting these proposals through Congress, where vested interests are deeply entrenched.
  • Iraq's Future:†Kimberley Kagan of the Institute for the Study of War and Fred W. Kagan of the†American Enterprise Institute argue that the situation in Iraq is very different now than from even a year earlier. What is needed now, the authors argue, is well-targeted spending to help bolster Iraq's institutions†ahead of national elections. In the authors' opinion, it is economic and political help that is most important now, rather than the number of troops on the ground.

Washington Post

  • Obama's Foreign Tour: Columnist Charles Krauthammer calls President Obama's foreign trip 'a tour of mea culpas'. The author deplores this attitude, arguing that it gained nothing in Europe or the Muslim world. He advises the U.S. president to avoid talking his own country into decline.