World News Brief, Wednesday February 16

Obama's new budget promises trillion dollar cuts as "down payment" (+ White House statement & op-eds); Iran leaders call for execution of protesters; Berlusconi will stand trial for under-ge sex; Philippine peace talks; and more

Top of the Agenda: Obama Unveils Budget for 2012

President Barack Obama released an overview of his budget for 2012 that outlines his plan to rebuild the US economy and "win the future by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our global competitors and creating the jobs and industries of tomorrow." The budget strives to cut $1.1 trillion from the deficit over ten years (BBC), but observers explain this proposal as an opening bid in a drawn-out process of negotiation with House and Senate leaders of both parties. According to analysts, the blueprint makes concessions to legislators advocating bold reductions in spending in order to combat record deficits (WashPost). The $3.7 trillion budget calls for shrinking or outright ending over two hundred government programs, but economists suggests this will produce little savings in the short term. The plan also relies on $1.6 trillion in new revenue over the next ten years, to be gained primarily through higher taxes on industry (WSJ) and the wealthy--a proposition that worries American business leaders. Of particular concern to some groups is a plan to increase levies on multinational corporations over the next decade, which some suggest threatens U.S. competitiveness. Despite the budget's predictable austerity measures, the response from most liberal lawmakers (NYT) has been subdued. However, some Democrats argue many of the proposed cuts are aimed at lower-income Americans, and suggest rolling back what they see as excessive military spending.


The White House's proposed FY2012 budget tries to balance spending cuts with investment to boost competitiveness. Four CFR experts examine how well it achieves those aims.

In this op-ed for the Washington Post, Dana Milbank argues the Obama budget is not responsibly confronting the problem of the deficit and national debt (WashPost).

This editorial for the New York Times suggests the White House budget is a good starting point from which to engage Republican lawmakers looking for deeper spending cuts.


PACIFIC RIM: Peace Talks Afoot for Philippine Insurgency


In Oslo, formal talks restarted between Manila and Philippine Maoist guerrillas (FT) who have led a forty-year insurgency, one of Asia's longest. Analysts suggest the negotiations, which began in 1987, might not be completed before President Benigno Aquino III's term ends in 2016.

China: A top US Naval commander said China's new "carrier killer" missile (AP) will not force the United States to change the way it operates in the Pacific. Because of its speed from launch, the missile is believed to have the capability to avoid countermeasures and hit its target with pinpoint accuracy.



- Iran Calls for Execution of Protest Leaders
- Pakistan Eases on Diplomatic Immunity
- Berlusconi to Stand Trial in Prostitution Case


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on