2009 Annus Horriblus or the Year We Stopped Digging

Obama’s first year in office, while far from a foreign policy failure, has not brought resolution to any of the major challenges facing the U.S. Wars continue in Afghanistan and Iraq; peace remains more elusive than ever in the Middle East; Iran is still on the brink of developing nuclear weapons; significant parts of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union remain concerned about renewed Russian power in that region and the global economic downturn has raised the possibility of political instability in much of the world. This was the capstone year of a decade that has included the terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001, a conflict in Iraq that has lasted considerably longer than the U.S. involvement in World War II, plummeting U.S. popularity abroad, the stalling, or even reversal, of the spread of democracy, and rising military, political and economic threats to the U.S. from Teheran to Beijing and from Moscow to Caracas.