From war to Ebola to climate change, President Barack Obama is embracing the role of the U.S. as the indispensable nation -- a stance he might have shrunk from at the start of his presidency.
The military strikes against Islamic State positions in Syria and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Khorasan Group this week began hours before Obama traveled to the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
As he arrived on that world stage, he carried with him an agenda that puts the U.S. squarely in a lead role in confronting three global crises:
-- Leading a coalition of nations in a military confrontation with Islamic State militants that may extend for years, a conflict to be passed on to his successor much as he inherited the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
-- Sending 3,000 military personnel to help eradicate the Ebola virus in Africa.
-- Tackling climate change by ordering federal agencies to consider the issue in shaping development aid overseas.