Between April 23-25, 2014, President Obama visited Japan and South Korea, the US’ key allies in Northeast Asia. It was fair to say that the visits were uneventful; no big announcements and no groundbreaking policy speeches.
Usually, no news is good news. But not in this case. The uneventfulness is indicative of the challenges that the Obama administration faces not only in its “rebalance” policy to the Asia-Pacific region, but more broadly in its foreign policy. Bluntly put, it was indicative of how the Obama administration, perceived to be politically weakened at home and abroad, has been reactive, unable to proactively set the agenda in its management of US foreign policy.
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