WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama already was dealing with a number of foreign policy crises when he noted on Wednesday that "we live in a complex world and at a challenging time."
And then suddenly, by the next day, the world had grown more troubling and the challenges more difficult.
Thursday's downing of a passenger plane carrying nearly 300 people spread the impact of the standoff between Ukraine and Russia far around the globe.
And the prospect of more Mideast casualties appeared inevitable when Israel launched a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Yet there was a glimmer of hope elsewhere at week's end.
The U.S. and its negotiating partners agreed to extend nuclear talks with Iran for four months rather than allowing negotiations to collapse as a Sunday deadline loomed.