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    In an increasingly polarized world, the small Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan is a tantalizing study in contradictions.

  • Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gets ready to board his campaign plane in Los Angeles, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    Events abroad create opening for Romney

    From the killing of an ambassador to precipitous new brinkmanship in Asia and friction between U.S. and Israeli leaders over Iran, the past month has many asking whether the presidential election has suddenly entered a home stretch in which national security and foreign policy play as big a role as the economy.

  • A Syrian boy arrives at a field hospital after an airstrike hit homes on the outskirts of Aleppo on Wednesday. As bloodshed increases in Syria, critics say President Obama has relied too heavily on the United Nations. (Associated Press)

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    If killing Osama bin Laden, untangling U.S. forces from Iraq and fighting a bare-knuckle drone war against al Qaeda are the Obama administration's foreign policy triumphs, its biggest stumble may be its failure to produce an international solution to what has become an all-out civil war in Syria.

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