Obama agenda: Test of diplomacy

“President Barack Obama opens meetings at the United Nations with diplomatic opportunities on three vexing issues: Iran’s disputed nuclear program, Syria’s chemical weapons use, and elusive peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” the AP writes. “All three pathways are fraught with potential pitfalls and hinge on cooperation from often unreliable nations. Obama also risks being branded as naive and misguided if the efforts fail, particularly in Syria, where he’s used the prospect of diplomacy to put off a military strike in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack. Still, the recent developments mark a significant shift on a trio of issues that have long proved problematic for Obama at the United Nations.”

The Sunday New York Times: “As the Obama administration embarks on a highly visible diplomatic overture to Iran, White House officials are engaged in a quieter, behind-the-scenes effort to reassure Israel that they will not fall for the charms of Iran’s new president by prematurely easing pressure on his government to curb its nuclear program.”

Not all war video can be trusted, so a company of former journalists has stepped in.

Here was the exchange of the day on Meet the Press:

DAVID GREGORY: “This was the Navy Yard. There were armed guards there, Mr. LaPierre. Does that not undermine your argument?WAYNE LAPIERRE: “No, the whole country, David, knows the problem is there weren't enough good guys with guns.”

New York Times: "President Obama on Sunday eulogized the 12 victims of the Navy Yard shooting and lamented what he called a “creeping resignation” in America about the inevitability of gun violence....Obama vowed that he would not accept inaction after the latest in a string of mass shootings during his presidency. But the president appeared exasperated with the political system that he leads, admitting that changes in the nation’s gun laws 'will not come from Washington, even when tragedy strikes Washington.' He acknowledged that his previous effort to pass new gun laws had failed, but he did not specifically call for a new political battle, saying change would come only when Americans decide they have had enough."

USA Today: “With a series of domestic and international crises coming to a head at once, President Obama made clear on Sunday that he won't be pouring a great deal of his own political capital into reigniting the debate on the country's gun laws. … His tone also had an edge of frustration that was absent from his December remarks at the memorial honoring the victims of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.”

Said Obama: "By now, though, it should be clear that the change we need will not come from Washington, even when tragedy strikes Washington.”

Suspected al-Shabab militants killed up to 62 people in an upscale Kenyan mall.