The world is changing rapidly and, therefore, our foreign policy should accommodate the new circumstances with renewed emphasis on human rights and prevention of aggression against nations as well as oppression of peoples all over the globe.

No doubt, the most important challenges are international terrorism -- including the possibility of some states become failed states -- the spread of weapons of mass destruction, major environmental disasters and famine.

The leadership of this country, which has championed democracy and human rights as major foreign policy goals, cannot abandon these noble causes.

First, the crisis in Syria witnessed changing in the position of the Obama administration. What's more, the Russian Federation, which is determined to prolong the oppression and repression of the Syrian regime, has taken a leading role.

Nevertheless, the announcement by the United Nations' secretary general about convening the second Geneva conference provides an opportunity to move forward.

It is hoped that the announcement of the administration that President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria will not have a role in the interim government will be a reality rather than just a gesture.

As for Iraq, the invitation extended to the Iraqi prime minister would not improve the human rights situation there, as well as the increasing violence inside that country due to the sectarian policies of the Iraqi government.

The administration should have made it public, as many senators demanded, that the Iraqi government should abandon its sectarian policies and allow all sectors of the Iraqi society to participate in building their country.

As for Egypt, despite the statement of Secretary of State John Kerry favoring a civilian government, his recent visit was interpreted as endorsement of the coup and the draconian measures taken by the new authorities, including the unjust and vindictive trial of the ousted president, Mohammed Morsi.

The administration, as well as all other members of the Group Six, have taken the right step by concluding the six months' agreement with Iran on its nuclear program.

It is important that at the end, the military nuclear programs will be eliminated in Iran, as well as all the other countries of the Middle East, including Israel.

Last, but not least, the most dear and sensitive matter to Arabs and Muslims everywhere is the question of peace and justice in Holy Land. The Obama administration has been exerting pressure on the leaders of the Palestinian Authority to continue in the so-called negotiations, while allowing Israel to grab more Palestinian lands and to oppress the Palestinian people.

This important question, namely the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, must be granted the urgency it deserves.

If the administration is not able to exert influence on the parties to the conflict, it should consider other alternative methods. Therefore, since the administration cannot demonstrate the needed leadership and impartiality to resolve this dispute, it should allow the United Nations to play a significant role to resolve this dispute.

It is sincerely hoped that the Obama administration will demonstrate effective leadership to move forward, and to make peace, justice, democracy and respect for human rights as its priorities all over the world.

Amer Araim is an adjunct professor of political science at Diablo Valley College and a former Iraqi diplomat. He is a resident of Walnut Creek.