Potential Crises For Obama

As the political media get done evaluating President Obama at his 100-days mark, Robert D. Kaplan says: ignore it. Obama has yet to face a real crisis to assay his true character and lay it bare for the nation, and the world to see, he says--but there are some looming.

Getting bogged down in Afghanistan, the unraveling of Pakistan, and Vladimir Putin becoming a dictator in Russia are all potential crisis Obama could face, Kaplan says.

Kaplan's potentials ring true: experts say that Pakistan could fall to the Taliban or, as Kaplan suggests, a soft coup by the military; Afghanistan's size and societal fragmentation make it a bigger challenge than Iraq, and calling it the graveyard of empires lends an ominous tone; Russia is a piece of Obama's Iran policy, and a shift there would complicate things beyond U.S.-Russia relations.

These would reveal as much about Obama as his foreign policy team, and the triumvirate of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Israeli-Palestinian envoy George Mitchell and Afghanistan/Pakistan envoy Richard Holbrooke could be strained. As Kaplan says, we will come to know them all better if the U.S. is faced with any of these foreboding scenarios.