Here is a sampling of some recent news abroad:
A Russian guard attacked a U.S. diplomatic official at the door to the American Embassy in Moscow, even as NATO leaders met to galvanize against the next act of Russian aggression.
The Islamic State continued its global terrorist rampage with horrific attacks in Baghdad and Istanbul.
Iran rebuffed United Nations warnings and defiantly boasted that it will continue testing ballistic missiles. German intelligence believes that Iran, empowered by the release of $100 billion in impounded cash, is violating its recent American-led nonproliferation deal in an effort to import nuclear bomb-making technology.
North Korea conducted a test (unsuccessful, apparently) of a submarine-based guided missile.
There are various ways of interpreting these ominous events.
They could represent just more empty chest-thumping by our enemies.
Or, because this is an election year in the United States, enemies are posturing in order to advance their agendas, as they often do in times of uncertainty about who will be the next president.
Or, Barack Obama is perceived as an exceptionally lame-duck president who is hoping to wind down his tenure in passivity, without a major incident abroad that might imperil his presidential legacy.
Or, after the explosive rise of the Islamic State, the disaster in Benghazi, the failed reset with Russia, the unchecked Chinese aggression in the South China Sea, the concessions in the Iran deal, the veritable implosion of the Middle East, and the president’s counterproductive sermonizing about Brexit, enemies sense that the United States is directionless. These enemies may be unsure whether America still wishes to — or even can — exercise its traditional leadership of the free world and remain the custodian of the postwar international order.
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