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Foreign Policy: The President and the World

Author: Foreign Policy
November 6, 2012

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Foreign Policy asked "fourteen top analysts to peer beyond November 6th's headlines and examine the longer-term issues confronting the United States," from the Middle East to national security to free trade.

This is it.

In roughly 24 hours -- we hope -- the world will know whether Barack Obama will return for a second term, or Mitt Romney will oust him to become the 45th president of the United States. More than any other issue, this was an election about America's struggling economy, a referendum on Obama's handling of what he never fails to remind us was the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

But as Joe Biden might say, gird your loins: Regardless of who wins, the man occupying the Oval Office will confront a world of trouble, from a China determined to challenge U.S. primacy in the Pacific to an Iran that shows few signs of buckling in the face of international pressure to an Arab world still very much in the throes of upheaval and chaos. Come January, America's adversaries will be looking to test the new president, or probe the old one for signs of weakness. And America's friends and allies will be demanding leadership from a United States that has been consumed with its internal power struggle for the past 18 months.

Foreign Policy asked 14 top analysts to peer beyond Wednesday's headlines and examine the longer-term issues confronting the United States, from Europe's debt morass to North Korea's dangerous nuclear program, sagging U.S. competitiveness to worsening climate change. Whether American voters have opted for four more years for the incumbent or to give someone else a try, it's a daunting list. Are these guys sure they want the job?

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