Foreign and Defense Policy, Asia

Half of Asia is better than none

White House Flickr stream

White House Flickr stream

If President Obama had to pick which parts of his Asia trip to keep and which to cancel, he chose rightly. While dropping stops in the Philippines and Malaysia, the president will continue with his plan to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic (APEC) Forum and the annual leaders’ meeting of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Not much ever gets done at APEC, but it’s important to the Asians and our friends in this hemisphere. Ditto for ASEAN. The president is right to go, but since he’s over there already, the White House’s claim that “logistically, it was not possible” to go ahead with the other stops doesn’t make as much sense. If President Obama were staying home or returning early to engage in serious negotiations with Congress over the shutdown, that would be a legitimate reason. As it is, they’ve chosen to cut the baby in half, and part of Asia is better than none.

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