During the holiday season, pundits traditionally pen their "end of year" assessments of a presidential administration. Some even assign a grade, as if foreign policy can be reduced to a kind of schoolwork assignment.
But instead of grading the performance of the president and his team over the past year, I'd rather take a look at the environment in which his administration must operate after the New Year. And for President Barack Obama, 2010 is going to be a challenging year indeed.
First, Obama can no longer offer himself the breathing room represented by "policy reviews" used to assess what his predecessor has bequeathed him. If there's been any doubt over the past few months, in 2010 it's official: Obama now "owns" U.S. foreign and defense policy.