Donald Lambro

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, which 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 Obama's Asian policy.

"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 then-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 attention to China's growing dominance.

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 Democrats. Such is the power of anti-trade labor union bosses in the Democratic Party.

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," Nakamura writes.

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 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-Qaida cells across the region. It is obvious that Obama's claims in his 2012 campaign that he had al-Qaida "on the run" were untrue.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.