China is not signing up for the U.S.-led fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State. But the Middle Kingdom has found a lot to cheer for in President Barack Obama's growing push to rally international support for a crackdown on the Islamic extremists flocking to Syria and Iraq to expand the group's self-proclaimed caliphate there.
This month, as officials in the Obama administration trumpet new warnings about "credible" threats to the United States homeland, the long-ignored role of America's primary terror alert system is under serious scrutiny for the first time.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly defied the international community's wishes regarding Ukraine, first by annexing Crimea then by supporting a separatist movement that has the country on the brink of civil war.
In his first big turn on the international stage, Iraq's new prime minister seemingly tumbled.
In an exchange with reporters at the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Thursday, Haider al-Abadi seized global attention by saying that the Iraqi government uncovered a plot by the self-proclaimed Islamic State to attack subway systems in the United States and in Paris. It was an astonishing warning, particularly coming on the heels of U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria, which began on Monday, and following the beheading of a French hostage by an Islamic State-linked group in retaliation.
When Iranian President Hassan Rouhani came to U.N. headquarters for the opening of the General Assembly a year ago, it was the beginning of a grand love affair with the West. He wished the Jews of the world happy new year, took a historic phone call with U.S. President Barack Obama, and later inked an interim nuclear deal with the Western capitals. Sanctions against Iran eased, and Iran's wheezing economy breathed a sigh of relief. Western leaders began dreaming of a landmark rapprochement, a development that could redraw the fractious lines of Middle Eastern politics.