Gates and the Spending Assault

The Washington Post has a lot to say today on international affairs and foreign policy. The paper has an editorial and a David Broder column on Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s “assault” on the defense budget. The editors laud the secretary’s approach and call on Congress to support his efforts. Broder says that Gates’s announcement is a harbinger of spending cuts across the government.

Other topics gracing the Post’s opinion page today include Colombia, Pakistan, and Israel. Michael Shifter, president of the nonprofit Inter-American Dialogue, sees a shift in U.S.-Colombia relations as newly inaugurated President Juan Manuel Santos tries to balance Bogotá’s more open approach toward Hugo Chávez with its ties to Washington. Shuja Nawaz of the Atlantic Council writes that the devastating flooding in Pakistan could be an opportunity to “build trust” in Pakistan and reverse poor perceptions on both sides (59 percent of Pakistanis see America as the enemy, while only 23 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Pakistan). Columnist George Will touts Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as the “anti-Obama” in today’s piece, a man who, like his (and presumably Will’s) hero Winston Churchill—and unlike Obama and “Europe’s elites”—“didn’t flinch from facts about gathering storms.” (Hint: see yesterday’s blog post by Jacob Heilbrunn and today’s by Paul Pillar.)

Wrapping things up, the New York Times editorial board chastises Rwandan President Paul Kagame for his lopsided reelection victory, which they call “a recipe for dictatorship.”