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Monday, July 25, 2011

And in Non-Budget Battle News ...

With the debt ceiling debate sucking up most of the oxygen in Washington these days, you might have missed some interesting research on U.S. relations with the Muslim world that was released last week. These two are definitely worth a perusal:

- As part of its Global Attitudes Project, the Pew Research Center published a report on Western and Muslim views of one another on Thursday. The polling, conducted March through May of this year, provides a snapshot of attitudes at a tumultuous time for the Muslim world, which has affected, of course, various states' relations with their peoples, but also with the outside world. So it was fascinating to see how much things are starting to change in public views both there and here, since 2006, as well as where attitudes are holding steady. Good stuff.

- The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace released a paper Friday on Egypt's democratic transition -- which given Washington's nanoseconds-long attention span right now already seems to be passe -- addressing five myths about the situation on the ground there. The paper doesn't seem to be up on the CEIP Web site yet, but hopefully should be soon, because it's worth a read. Dispels a lot of the flawed conventional wisdom circulating amongst policy makers on the state of the country these days.

Count on some of the issues raised in the reports to come back up in the days to come -- the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations is marking up its spending bill for fiscal 2012 on Wednesday, which will be an important indicator of where Congress is headed on some of the more controversial aid funding issues -- far more so than the State Department Authorization bill mark-up/free-for-all (CQ, $) in House Foreign Affairs last week.

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