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Editor’s Introduction

We begin 2016 with a global axis of evil represented by ISIS enlarged and emboldened, consolidating its gains in Syria and Iraq and daring to strike in the heart of Europe. We also begin the year with the Obama-Kerry axis of denial leading from behind, if at all, seemingly unconcerned that despotic regimes in Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, and Pyongyang are stronger, more aggressive, and even less concerned with consequences from the US than they were a year earlier. As we begin 2016, our country is facing the most complex, deadly, and diverse multi-threat environment in generations, and it is, for the first time in generations, not clear that the country’s leaders are up to the task.

Every national election is a “crossroads” election. But because of the extraordinarily dangerous international situation, the one that will be decided this coming November really is fateful. And at a time when America desperately needs direction and leadership, the bulk of US voters appear divided (as of this writing) between four leading contenders—a senator and an avowed socialist who honeymooned in the Soviet Union in the 1980s; a brash billionaire real estate developer and TV reality show star whose temperament should disqualify him from access to nuclear launch codes; a former secretary of state who has skirmished with the truth in crises from Little Rock to Benghazi to her private server in her basement; and a Harvard Law grad and freshman senator whose accomplishments have until now been limited to shutting down the government and earning seemingly universal distrust among his Senate colleagues in both parties.

The genius—and perhaps the luck—of American politics has always been that the leader the country has needed at critical moments in its history appeared to navigate the turbulent waters of domestic and international crises and bring us safely to land. Will it happen again now, when we so desperately need someone to find a way through the difficulties, some of our own making, which we now face? Will one of the unprepossessing candidates now competing to succeed an administration that seems out of answers wind up showing the wisdom and resolve America and the free world so desperately need?

We will find out in the interesting, if dangerous, year ahead. And World Affairs and WorldAffairsJournal.org will endeavor to help you understand what is happening and why as it develops on the ground and in real time.

— James S. Denton

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