"The Obama administration remains behind the curve on many of today’s top issues," wrote Katulis in the WSJ last week.
"As a result, national security has hurtled back to the forefront of US politics after about a decade of the economy and jobs dominating," which has resulted in the "politics of fear" emerging on the right, the kind of development that "can lead to unforced errors – such as the Iraq war," said the analyst.
"There is no national consensus about the US fight against ISIS (Daesh); more than a year after the military campaign began, no congressional authorization for the use of military force has been passed. This lack of consensus owes, in part, to lack of clarity and leadership about US strategic interests and the little discussion of the moral case for fighting ISIS (Daesh)."
Katulis urged the President to take a more active role in foreign policy in his final year in office, and set a path for his successor to follow.
"The administration is in a better position than it was two years ago. Yet if it hopes to shape events to benefit global order, it needs to do more in 2016 than react to others’ actions," concluded the analyst.