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U.S. Defense Cuts, Obama's Europe Trip, and Nuclear Disarmament

April 8, 2009

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Age (Australia)

  • Nuclear Disarmament: Several policymakers and academics, writing in an op-ed, argue that now is the time to push for global nuclear disarmament. The writers applaud President Obama's recent speech, and urge the countries in the nuclear club to begin meaningful talks at once.

Arab News (Saudi Arabia)

  • Nukes and Israel: An editorial follows up on President Obama's call for moves to reduce the nuclear stockpile. According to the paper, the president must do more to make it plain to Israel that it is no exception if and when any talks on the matter begin in earnest.

Business Day (South Africa)

  • Obama and the Nuclear Question: Adam Habib of the University of Johannesburg hails President Obama's speech on the nuclear issue as the most progressive initiative by an American president in many years. He warns though that the nuclear nations must avoid all hypocrisy if talks on reducing the nuclear stockpile around the world are to make any real progress.

China Daily

  • China Poverty: Albert Park of the University of Oxford analyzes the findings of a World Bank report due to be published today on levels of poverty in China. The writer argues that the Chinese government needs to recognize the changing nature of poverty, and to continue its efforts to reduce it even in the current difficult economic situation.

Christian Science Monitor

  • Obama and Islam: An editorial applauds the U.S. president's attempts in Turkey to build bridges with the Muslim world. The newspaper calls on Muslim countries such as Indonesia to show a similar respect for the West, and cautions that a long and patient process is needed to convert good intentions into results.

Dar Al-Hayat (Lebanon)

  • Turkey and Europe: Commentator Mostafa Zein argues that Turkey has a place in NATO, but detects racism in the fact that countries such as France do not want Turkey to join the European Union. Zein writes that it is likely to remain a valued partner rather than a member of the EU, at least until 2023, the centenary of the foundation of modern Turkey.

Dominion Post (New Zealand)

  • UN and N.Korea: In an editorial, it takes the UN to task for, as the paper sees it, doing nothing in the crisis caused by North Korea's recent missile launch. The newspaper argues that the West must remain strong, and be willing to use the stick as well as the carrot to force Pyongyang into talks.

Financial Times

  • Zuma and South Africa: An editorial deplores the fact that the ANC presidential candidate Jacob Zuma was cleared of all charges on a technicality. The paper calls on Zuma, if elected president in the upcoming elections, to demonstrate his leadership qualities to dispel the doubts about him.

Globe & Mail (Canada)

  • China and North Korea: An editorial calls on China to exert all the pressure it can to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions. The newspaper says that China must help avoid any nuclear arms race in the Sea of Japan, and draw closer to Japan to oppose Pyongyang.

Guardian (UK)

  • Austerity in Ireland:  An editorial looks at Tuesday's tough budget proposals in Ireland. The newspaper notes that the global economic crisis has hit Ireland especially hard, and praises the Irish government for showing determination to tackle the problem head-on.

Hindustan Times (India)

  • Reflections on G-20: Commentator Dipankar Bhattacharyya looks back at last week's G-20 London summit. The writer considers in particular the new efforts proposed for tighter regulation of markets, and applauds the work of committees set up to elaborate detailed proposals.

 Independent (UK)

  • Obama's Foreign Tour: In an editorial, it praises President Obama's first foray to Europe. The newspaper thinks he went a long way to present a different image of U.S. power in the world, but warns that this success abroad will not necessarily have won him friends at home.

Irish Times

  • Painful Economic Measures: In an editorial, it considers the emergency budget brought in by the Irish government on Tuesday. The paper sees this as a necessary if painful admission that the global economic crisis has badly affected the country, but says this is only the first step needed if the government is to regain control over the situation.

Los Angeles Times

  • U.S. Defense Cuts: In an editorial, it praises the cuts and reorganization of the defense budget outlined by the Obama administration earlier this week. The newspaper concludes that Obama and his team have performed a delicate balancing act with great success.

National (UAE)

  • Obama and Israel Lobby: An editorial praises President Obama for his success in winning over Europe and making strides to repair relations with Turkey. The paper says that to help the Middle East peace process forward, the president also needs to change attitudes back in the United States, especially with regard to blind support for Israel.

New York Times

  • U.S. Defense Budget: An editorial considers the cuts outlined in the new U.S. defense budget. The paper thinks that these do not go far enough in cutting back production of the F-22 fighter jets, and with the proposed nuclear missile defense system.

Times of London

  • How to Help Rwanda: An editorial looks back at Rwanda's troubled past. The newspaper argues that fresh aid to the Kagame regime and others in Central Africa should be made dependent on signs of improvement in terms of good governance.

Wall Street Journal

  • Obama and Iraq: In an editorial, it says President Obama was right to use his surprise visit to Iraq to praise U.S. achievements there. The newspaper notes that the president is no longer stridently opposed to U.S. intervention there, and concludes that his Iraq policy is not that different from that of George W. Bush.
  • Views of Justice: A further editorial considers the efforts by Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón to bring members of the Bush administration to trial for 'war crimes'. The paper condemns these attempts as an 'assault on American sovereignty', and calls on the Obama administration to deal with them more energetically.
  • U.S. Defense Cuts: Thomas Donnelly and Gary Schmitt of the American Enterprise Institute take President Obama to task for the reduction announced this week in U.S. defense spending. The authors argue that this will weaken the U.S. position internationally, and seriously threaten its deterrent capability.

 Washington Post

  • Obama's Approach: Commentator Kathleen Parker describes President Obama's approach to foreign policy as a 'group hug'. While applauding the president's attempts to seem less 'macho' in his dealings with foreign states, the writer worries whether he will respond assertively enough to threats posed by North Korea and others.