President Barack Obama’s delayed visit to East Asia—finally carried out this month after domestic politics forced him to skip key summits last fall—was supposed to highlight America’s seriousness about rebalancing its foreign policy attention to the Asia-Pacific region. Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, spoiled the narrative, as the ongoing crisis in Ukraine continues to suck up most of the oxygen of the U.S. foreign policy process. Unlike earlier Obama peregrinations overseas, this trip did not generate blockbuster headlines or do much to burnish U.S. global leadership.
Some pundits are already writing off the entire “pivot” to Asia as a failed strategy that the administration cannot execute. With two and half years left in office, the Obama administration still has time to lay the strategy’s foundations, but it will require some hard decisions—and strict internal discipline—to pull off. ...
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