/>In a front page story Thursday, the Washington Post took the
president to task for his failed policy, announced three years ago, to
refocus U.S. attention on Asia that his advisers said would become a
pillar of his foreign policy.
"The result, as Obama prepares to travel to the region next week,
has been a loss of confidence among some U.S. allies about the
administration's commitment at a time of escalating regional tensions,"
Post correspondent David Nakamura said in a devastating critique of his
"Relations between Japan and South Korea are at one of the lowest
points since World War II, and China has provoked both with aggressive
actions at sea despite a personal plea from Vice President Biden in
December," he reported.
Even the Asian policy's original architects were harshly criticizing
the administration's handling of it.
"Relations have gone from being generally positive at the strategic
level among the great powers to extremely difficult," says Kurt M.
Campbell, a former assistant secretary of state who helped develop the
pivot strategy toward Asia.
Under this administration, it has become "a much more challenging
strategic landscape," Campbell said.
Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rolled out the policy
in 2011, announcing that the new U.S. strategy would turn away from the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and shift their attention to China's growing
But their "pivot" strategy has since turned into a series of
stumbles in the past year, with one crisis after another in the Middle
East, Eastern Europe and in Asia.
Obama's long-delayed strategic plan to negotiate a 12-nation Pacific
free trade agreement -- an effort to reassert U.S. influence in the heart
of Asia as a counterbalance to China's rise, was blocked by Congressional
Such is the power of anti-trade labor union bosses in the Democratic
The Post noted ominously that the stakes for the failed Asia pivot
were "perhaps as high for Clinton" who, by the way, was given the job of
secretary of state, despite little or no experience in foreign affairs.
"As she weighs a White House bid in 2016, her supporters have cited
the Asia strategy as one of her most significant accomplishments,"
Meantime, a quick look around the world shows the rest of Obama's
foreign policies are in shambles.
A militarily aggressive Russia, under Vladimir Putin's dream of
rebuilding the old Soviet Union, has seized the Crimea peninsula and is
now plotting to seize Eastern Ukraine, too.
Many observers think the Baltic states will be his next target, as
he tests the West's resolve, while Obama talks only of stepping up
economic sanctions, and diplomatic efforts.
In the Middle East, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, armed to the
teeth by Putin, has for many months been escalating his saturation bombing
assault on rebel-held towns, killing thousands of innocent civilians --
with hardly a peep from the White House.
There are growing reports of hundreds of rebels turning over their
weapons to the Assad government, weakening the resolve of the rebellion.
Elsewhere, the Taliban is stepping up its lethal attacks in
Afghanistan's central cities. and terrorist bombings are tearing Iraq
apart. In Pakistan, the Taliban just announced Wednesday that it was
ending its cease-fire.
In recent weeks, U.S. intelligence has been picking up growing
threats from al-Qaeda cells across the region. It is obvious that Obama's
claims in his 2012 campaign that he had al-Qaeda "on the run"