Program Note: Be sure to tune in tomorrow night to watch Ben Smith of Politico.com talk about how the incoming Obama administration will have to handle the situation in Gaza. That's Tuesday night, Dec. 30, on AC360° at 10 pm ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/27/obama.gaza/art.obamaeconomy.gi.jpg caption="Barack Obama's approach to the Middle East as president will be the subject of much scrutiny."]
Ben Smith and Harry Siegel
Israel’s continuing attacks on Gaza serve as a reminder that President-elect Barack Obama and his nominee to be secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, will not get to choose the world they inherit Jan. 20.
The incoming administration had planned to focus on the economic crisis and recalibrating U.S. policy in Iraq and Afghanistan in its early months — but the Israeli assault on Hamas may have instantly changed that calculus.
"For all the talk of putting the [Middle East] conflict on the back burner, it's going force itself onto the front burner," said Daniel Levy, a fellow at the New America Institute. Levy said that if the conflict in Gaza is still ongoing when Obama takes office, he will face regional and international pressure to broker a settlement.
"It could involve the administration very early,” Levy said.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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