Across-the-board spending cuts are set to go into effect on Friday. But the sequestration will be more like a long slope than a cliff. Pentagon officials don't expect serious cuts — like furloughs and lost flying time — to kick in for at least two months.
One dominant theme of the trip will be how to resolve the crisis in Syria, where an estimated 70,000 people have been killed over the past two years. Kerry is portraying his first trip as secretary of state as a listening tour, and he certainly expects to hear a lot about Syria.
U.S. counterterrorism efforts include choking off the flow of cash to extremists and urging friendly countries to help. But in places like the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh, where Somali refugees have flocked, it's hard to distinguish between tainted money and honest cash.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the looming automatic spending cuts will damage U.S. national security. But the warnings don't appear to be moving the needle with lawmakers or the American public.
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