Over the last week, some Americans and many others around the world have grown increasingly irritated with Barack Obama’s silence on the conflict in Gaza. Yesterday Obama at least acknowledged he is engaged with the issue. Is that enough?

Knowing Obama’s plans for resolving the conflict would be useful to many. But he is smart enough not to undermine American authority or needlessly confuse the situation by trying to impose his will before he’s in office. His “there’s only on president at a time” approach is not just a line. It’s a necessary approach to preserving the structure of American power.

But if the conflict is still ongoing come Jan 20th, Obama will have to address the issue quickly. I know he wants to begin his presidency focused on the domestic economy, but being president is all about handling the unexpected. How he addresses the current Israeli-Palestinian fighting will reveal a lot about what kind of international president he will be and his response will likely set the tone for everything his administration does in the Mid-East for the next few years.

At least Obama doesn’t have to worry about what to focus on first. With a foundering economy and war in Gaza, his agenda is pretty clear.

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