In Washington, lawmakers are still wrangling over plans that would prevent a fiscal crisis in coming days and have put on hold further negotiations until after they take their Christmas break. Meanwhile on the city, state and federal level the debate over gun laws continues as the country struggles to process the killing of 20 children and six educators in Connecticut. The 2012 election shed harsh light on the political, socioeconomic and racial divide in America and the economy continues to sputter towards recovery. Across the world, particularly in the Middle East, uprisings continue to complicate U.S. foreign policy. In Syria, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad remains in power and a brutal war between the government and rebels threatens to destabilize the region including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordon, Iraq and Israel. A constitutional crisis in Egypt has raised concerns about the possibility of democracy throughout the Middle East and tensions between Israel and Hamas lead many to question whether a two-state solution can ever be achieved. And the State Department is still reeling from the brutal attacks in Libya that killed four Americans. It’s been a challenging year for the President, politicians and policy-makers and we’ve invited DICK POLMAN and TRUDY RUBIN to help us make some sense of it all. Polman is longtime political columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and National Interest blogger for WHYY’s NewsWorks and Rubin writes the “Worldview” column for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File