Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

2010: The real test year for Obama?

Proven provider John McCreary predicts that next year will provide the real test of the Obama administration’s foreign policy: Yemen-US-al Qaida: Yemeni casualty reports are that the US missile attack in Abyan Province killed one senior al Qaida leader and suicide bombing planner plus a dozen of his followers, but the commander of al Qaida ...

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WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 14: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman in the Oval Office of the White House December 14, 2009 in Washington, DC. President Obama and President Sleiman discussed a range of bilateral issues, including military aid to the Lebanese government. (Photo by Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images)

Proven provider John McCreary predicts that next year will provide the real test of the Obama administration's foreign policy:

Proven provider John McCreary predicts that next year will provide the real test of the Obama administration’s foreign policy:

Yemen-US-al Qaida: Yemeni casualty reports are that the US missile attack in Abyan Province killed one senior al Qaida leader and suicide bombing planner plus a dozen of his followers, but the commander of al Qaida in Yemen escaped.  Four al Qaida are wounded and in custody from the US missile attack on the training camp in Aden Province.

The attacks might give pause to the terrorist web posters and cause some analysts to rethink their assessment of the strength and determination of the US Administration. The NightWatch view remains that what comes next will be the true measure of the Administration, now that the year of attempted reconciliation initiatives is ending with little to show for it.

If the missile attacks are any indication, North Korea, Iran and others need to pay closer attention and not close the ledger just yet.

I think he is right. We’ll have a good sense by the end of the year where post-American Afghanistan and Iraq are going. Pakistan may provide some fireworks. Iran and North Korea will have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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