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Tony Fratto, a deputy assistant to the president in the George W. Bush administration, said he has “seen nothing that will make it easier for [Mr. Obama] to pass health care or a climate bill.”

“In fact, I’d say he lost a week,” Mr. Fratto said. “While he was talking to U.N.-types and holding a sleepy G-20, Republicans were out talking about health care.”

Of course, all of Mr. Obama’s problems on foreign policy are far from solved. The Iran issue, all by itself, remains an enormous challenge, with one government official describing the current moment as comparable to the first inning of a nine-inning baseball game.

The administration must now wait to see how Iran conducts itself at talks scheduled to begin Oct. 1, and then react accordingly.

Then there is Afghanistan, where the president appears to be considering rejecting a request from his newly installed commander on the ground, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, for more troops.

And though Mr. Obama held talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in New York, bringing the two sides together for the first time in almost a year, his obvious impatience with the two sides at the meeting was evidence of the current state of peace talks.

The Palestinians remain divided between Fatah and Hamas, and the Israelis remain unwilling to agree to a full freeze on the expansion of settlements for a year. However, after The Washington Times reported last week that the Israelis have proposed a freeze on new settlements for six to nine months, Mr. Obama told the Palestinians that this was “enough to get started” with peace talks, which are currently stalled.

The biggest impact of the Iran secret-site announcement may be that in the future, when critics level the boom on the president for a decision they don’t like, they might hesitate for fear that, like the past week, he might have an ace up his sleeve.