James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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The World Next Week: Federal Budgets, Foreign Threats, Xi Jinping, and Egyptian Prosecutions

by James M. Lindsay
February 9, 2012

Federal-Budget-2013 A U.S. Senate staffer carries a copy of Obama's proposed 2012 federal budget on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Johnathan Ernst/courtesy Reuters)


The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the Obama administration’s FY 2013 budget; the Senate Armed Services Committee’s upcoming hearing on worldwide threats; Chinese Vice President Xi Jingping’s visit to the United States; and the one-year anniversary of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster from power.

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The highlights:

  • President Obama is scheduled to release a budget next Monday that will call for the federal government to spend $3.75 trillion in FY2013, which begins on October 1. Expect the White House’s proposal to receive the same rough treatment on Capitol Hill that last year’s got. With this being a presidential and congressional election year, everyone will find something to dislike in the Obama budget.
  • The directors of National Intelligence and the Defense Intelligence Agency are scheduled to testify next  week before the Senate Armed Services Committee on current and future worldwide threats to U.S. national security. Based on previous statements, the directors will emphasize five threats and challenges: Iran, North Korea, terrorism, cyber threats, and the rise of China.
  • Xi Jinping, who is expected to succeed Hu Jintao as president of China, is scheduled to meet with President Obama on Valentine’s Day. The Xi-Obama meeting comes at a time when officials on both sides worry that the relationship needs shoring up. The deficit of trust between Washington and Beijing is evident on issues like Syria and the future of the South China Sea. How much progress can be made in a short meeting with a future leader who has yet to cement his authority back home and a current leader trying to extend his time in office is debatable. But if Obama wins on November 6 he will at least have had the chance to personally size up the man who will be his partner and competitor during his second term.
  • The dispute over Egypt’s effort to prosecute nineteen Americans, including the son of a U.S. cabinet secretary, for interfering in Egyptian politics has heated up. Egypt’s premier insists that Egypt will proceed with the prosecutions even if Washington slashes its aid package. Not surprisingly, the issue has become caught up in domestic politics in both countries. So far there is no sign that cooler heads are about to prevail.
  • Bob’s Figure of the Week is Ban Ki-moon. My Figure of the Week is two. As always, you have to listen to the podcast to find out why.

The Wall Street Journal says the proposed budget plan has a “familiar ring” to it, and the Associated Press details the Republican-led House’s efforts to give President Obama line-item veto authority. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper’s unclassified testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is available here, and the Eurasia Group has published its “Top Risks 2012” report. The Chicago Tribune profiles Xi Jingping, and Reuters explains the “trust deficit” between the United States and China that the upcoming visit could ease. The BBC reports that there are “mixed emotions” on the anniversary of Mubarak’s ouster, and Mohamed Elmasry of the Egyptian Gazette claims that the one-year-old revolution is fragile “at best.”


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