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Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:1. Should the US intervene militarily in Libya or not? Washington officials and policy mavens are debating the question as Libya sinks deeper into civil war.
2. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations (pictured), argues that it would be a mistake for the US to intervene in Libya. It is complicated militarily and it is unpredictable geo- politically. And there is no significant national interest at stake.
3. Upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa has discombobulated US counter-terrorism efforts in the region. Alliances that were forged over the last decade may no longer be viable.
4. Gerald Seib notes that interest on the national debt is a growing cancer. He writes: “Without a change, in 10 years the federal government’s net interest bill rises to $928 billion annually. That would be 17% more than the government would pay to provide health care to the elderly through Medicare that year, and 82% more than the cost of all non-security discretionary spending programs combined.”
5. Consumer credit, which excludes real estate loans such as home mortgages, grew at a 2.5% annual pace to $2.4 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Monday. Non-mortgage debt increased for the fourth month in a row, suggesting that U.S. economy owes its recent acceleration in part to renewed borrowing.
6. Negotiations between California Governor Jerry Brown (D) and five Republican state senators have reached an impasse. Governor Brown is trying to close a $26 billion budget gap. He is also trying to dispel California’s reputation for dysfunctional government.
7. Negotiations between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) and runaway Democratic state Senators have likewise reached an impasse. Walker is demanding that the AWOL senators return to work. The AWOL senators want to take a meeting in Illinois.
8. Senator John Ensign (R-NV) announced that he would not seek re-election in 2012. Scandal did him in. Republicans were pleased by the news.
9. Finding a replacement for defence Secretary Robert Gates is proving to be a difficult task. The Obama Administration is trying to convince Secretary Gates to stay on through 2012. But he’s tired and he wants to go home.
10. President Obama decided that, on second thought, maybe Gitmo wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Mr. Obama had pledged to close the prison camp. Reality changed that pledge.
11. Walter Mead continues his discussion of the breakdown of the “blue” social model. Worth reading in full.
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