The list of foreign policy crises has multiplied rapidly in the past week. The anti-American demonstrations in a wide array of Muslim-majority countries, the attack on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, the escalating war in Syria, and tensions in Iraq and south China all add up to a major test of the Obama Adminstration in a critical election season, says Susan Glasser, the editor in chief at Foreign Policy magazine.
"That's the peril and also the opportunity of being the incumbent president and running for re-election is that you don't have the luxury just of focusing on one thing, but your inbox will sooner or later roar up with something like this," Glasser says.
She says US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Foreign Policy he is monitoring more than a dozen conflicts and accessing the need for intervention.
"He said that he was watching as many as 18 different countries in case a rapid deployment of Marines needed to take place," Glasser says. "It suggests the extent of the unknowns we're facing now, and the extent of the possible instability."