The Note

The Wall Street Journal 's editorial board sees the Bush trip as an opportunity for the two leaders to "communicate the importance of what they are attempting in Iraq and its relationship to the war on terror."

While the Washington Post 's Glenn Frankel reports the president's "trip has become an opportunity for antiwar protesters," Noting that "while insisting publicly that relations have never been better, British officials privately keep a laundry list of complaints about the Bush administration, beginning with Iraq itself — both the run-up to the war and the aftermath." LINK

The New York Times ' ed board warns the administration on the perils of its "failures" in Afghanistan, writing that "Afghanistan is in danger of reverting to a deadly combination of rule by warlords and the Taliban, the allies and protectors of Osama bin Laden." LINK

Bob Novak discusses the split on the Senate Intelligence Committee set off by the leaked memo. LINK

Roll Call 's Morton Kondracke charges that Iraq is less like Vietnam and more like the Philippines Campaign, and as such, the Bush administration might benefit from studying the anti-guerilla tactics used in securing the 1902 victory

And more for you …

The New York Times ' David Sanger on Sunday took a look at the pros and cons of the Iraq exit strategy. While Iraqification and democracy throughout the Middle East is now the stated goal, getting out too early could end up cutting the United States out of the process altogether. LINK

Joe Klein advocates the creation of an extreme peacekeeping force. LINK

Dan Eggen writes that with its new agreement from the White House, the 9/11 panel will have unprecedented access to the president's briefings. LINK

The politics of steel:

The European Union doesn't have much incentive to compromise in the showdown over steel tariffs, the Wall Street Journal 's Scott Miller reports. While President Bush is saying the U.S. will consider its options and review the current tariff situation, the EU, which European officials think is holding the cards, isn't likely to move.

"From the European Commission, which negotiates trade deals, to the EU's individual nations, to the European Parliament, there is a belief this is a trade dispute that shouldn't be negotiated away. Trade officials say there are signs even some in the U.S. know they are in the wrong and argue that to show flexibility might invite the U.S. to think it can always negotiate its way out of tight corners."

George Will hammered the president on trade in his Sunday column. LINK

The economy:

According to a Wall Street Journal Online round-up, businesses are adding to their inventories for the first time in six months, and manufacturing in New York picked up in November, showing a general business-conditions rating of 41.01. New orders and new shipments moved upwards as well.

And things are starting to look up in the eyes of manufacturers as well, reports the Wall Street Journal 's Timothy Aeppel. Business in the U.S. is picking up a little faster than it is for European manufacturers, and as orders improve, so does investment, and the effect is arguably as important psychologically as it is literally, Aeppel Notes.

"A view that conditions are improving instead of deteriorating is crucial in making the current global manufacturing upswing — which is still spotty and tentative — broader and more powerful."

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