By Nick Winnie
*Presidential Primaries*: The whirlwind, frenzied 22-state presidential primary contest known as “Super Tuesday” has come and gone, leaving Republicans with a clearer picture of their November candidate and Democrats with a long primary battle ahead. The highly prized California vote went to Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), who also both won delegate-rich New York. McCain’s victories in Super Tuesday’s most populous states — in addition to a strong Southern showing from Mike Huckabee — put an even greater distance between McCain and Mitt Romney, his chief rival for the GOP nomination.
Despite Clinton’s victories in several key states, her battle with Barack Obama is far from over. Obama received the majority vote in 14 of the 22 states that went to the polls, including his home state of Illinois.
*Pakistan*: With its crucial Feb. 18 parliamentary elections looming, Pakistan and the Musharraf government may be headed towards a volatile tipping point. Widespread disaffection with President Musharraf rose steadily in recent weeks, its most visible sign the hundreds of retired generals and former Pakistani servicemen that have demanded his resignation in a series of highly-publicized protests. Like much of the Pakistani populace, the retired officers’ new anti-Musharraf movement is concerned that the president will interfere with the upcoming elections. Having watched Musharraf’s increasingly controversial and often undemocratic actions in the past year — including the dismissal of Pakistan’s chief supreme court justice, the imposition of martial law in the country and circumstances surrounding the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto — Pakistanis and much of the international community may have good reason to be suspicious of the beleaguered president.
*Washington*: On Monday, the Bush administration released its proposed 2009 budget for the Pentagon. If approved, the Pentagon will reach annual levels of military spending larger than any year since World War II. The $515.4 billion budget would pay for the standard operations of the Pentagon and the military and would most likely be supplemented by an additional $170 billion specifically allocated for next year’s war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.