Obama Arrives in Asia Empty-Handed

Last fall, US President Barack Obama’s signature foreign policy initiative, the so-called “Asia pivot,” suffered a big setback when the budget mess in Washington forced him to cancel a long-scheduled trip to Asia that was supposed to reassure U.S. allies and partners about the administration’s commitment to the region.  I argued back then that while Mr. Obama would always be able to re-book, the key question is whether he will have anything substantive in hand once he shows up.  As the president begins a week-long tour of Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, we now know the answer: No. Continue reading