Most of the commentary on the challenges Barack Obama will face as president (I'm getting used to the idea but still as puzzled as most people about how he might operate) have focused on domestic challenges. Toward the end of the campaign foreign policy virtually disappeared from the discourse as the financial crisis dominated attention. There is little question that those challenges will be formidable, and the evidence so far is that most of the initiatives Obama has mentioned as likely are unlikely to alleviate it and might well make it worse. Bailing out the Detroit automakers even more. A "stimulus" package that is unlikely to solve a crisis created in large part by loose funy money. And so on.
However, whetheror not there is a challenge from al-Qaida, some other terrorist organization, or a country bent on undermining the U.S., he will also face a difficult set of foreign challenges, and that was the subject of my column this week for Antiwar.com. From his determination to ramp up the war in Afghanistan to possible related troubles with Pakistan, to the emergence of Russia as a locally aggressive potential Great Power, to likely complications in winding down the war with Iraq, to Iran, his plate will be full. I suggest his honeymoon will be short.