Did Obama actually accomplish anything in the recent Asia trip?

Obama recently completed a well-publicized diplomatic trip to several major Asian countries, met their leaders, and engaged in talks.

What, of significance, did he accomplish? Anything?

Well, there was this…

Actually I think the trip did more harm than good. I don’t think Obama needs to turn into Jimmy Carter to mark a departure from Bush.

Well, he did learn one thing: the Chinese will NOT go along with any reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions. This means that the USA will destroy its own industrial economy, while China will continue to pollute. So, “Cap and Trade” means nothing to the Chinese.
He also learned that he will get no help from Japan, in the ME.
The unpleasant realities of the new status (of the USA) are starting to dawn on him-enormous debts, high unemployment, and a bankrupt economy-plus a pointless war in Afghanistan.
Yep, not a good year dawning for Obama.

Yes, Sarah Palin would have gotten much different results. That Obama is such a failure.

When did conservatives suddenly decide that it was “pointless” to be in Afghanistan, by the way? They were slobbering all over their shirts to go to war there a few years ago.

Because Obama has quite clearly allowed himself to get painted into a corner by McChrystal, so they feel safe laying their groundwork for the ‘I told you so’ mantra.


James Fallows has been following Obama’s trip and the press coverage of it, and has written a series of posts on it running contrary to the collective wisdom of the press, and actually blaming them for the perception that it was failure by filtering it through Washington horse-race media analysis. It’s called Manufactured Failure: #1 #2 #3 #4 #5

His perception is that it wasn’t expected to be massively successful or game changing. Expectations were low to start with, and there was some significant and useful long term diplomacy that happened.

That’s the conservative SOP right now. Set up phony expectations, and then call the President a “failure” for not having met them.

I think this bodes well for Sarah’s 2012 campaign.

For the sake of brevity, could you distill the Fallows articles and enumerate what those were?

From something Fallows quotes:

Fallows pieces are less about what was successful than about the media coverage of it afterwards, so he doesn’t offer a laundry list of what went well. But broadly speaking, it was a relationship building trip, and relationships got built. Expectations that Obama would return with Hu Jintao’s head on a platter were bogus to start with.


OK… so far we have “relationships got built”. Were there any other accomplishments?

This article in Der Spiegel suggests that Obama’s entire “we’ll get cooperation from the world by being nice” approach is failing, and that he will revert to a more Bush-like foreign policy in order to avoid being Carterized.

Apparently the groundwork was laid for China to announce at Copenhagen, in co-operation with the U.S., that their internal targets for carbon mitigation will be made Copenhagen targets for China. This was in some doubt because China tends to view U.S. pressure on environmental issues as a stick with which to curb “rising China”, making them intransigent on principle. It’s a significant step for any country to make internal targets into treaty targets because it cedes some control of them.

There was also agreement on restarting six party talks on North Korea soonest. Short version seems to be that it meant a lot to the Chinese for Obama to show up and make nice and offer co-operation on all the bilateral issues rather than threats and willy-waving.

What positive things did Bush accomplish in terms of foreign policy? I can’t think of anything.

Good, good. Fleshing things out. Thanks for the reply.

So, “not Bush” (or in the case of DtC, “not Palin”) is the standard we’re now aiming for at the SDMB?

These appear (to me) to disagree with each other. Does anyone else think so too? ralph124c, hansel, or anyone else… 'splain me please?

I’ll accept it as a standard for POTUS, but the real point is only that it’s specious to attack the President for not meeting expectations that never actually existed in the first place, and which would not be attainable by anyone. You might as well call him a failure for not being able to fly.

Obama did the same thing with his speech in Egypt, which was designed for the same purpose–telling the world that they have nothing to fear from the US, because America is in the process of abdicating its position as world leader.
America is stepping down off the world stage as political conditions change , just as Great Britain did a century before. Obama seems to feel quite comfortable with the change in role, and is trying to manage it,and even encourage it, as a smooth transition with as little pain as possible.

The perspective among the Japanese talking heads seems to be that he didn’t really accomplish much while here, but it was nice of him to come. There was some hope that progress would be made on the Futenma issue that has really flared up over the last few weeks, but nothing happened. Personally I place the blame on Hatoyama and the DPJ for making campaign promises without any real plan for achieving them, but I have heard some criticisms that Obama is “undercutting an important ally by being inflexible.”

I didn’t really follow his time there, but I think his coming out in favor of pursuing the stalled FTA with South Korea was a good thing provided that he actually has a plan to get a relatively protectionist Congress to go along with it.