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FP: Obama's Asia trip: a series of unfortunate events

Author: Dan Blumenthal
November 18, 2009

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Daniel Blumenthal criticizes President Obama's joint statement with Chinese President Hu Jintao, saying that the U.S. gave up too much ground on key issues such as Taiwan and India's role in the region.

Before President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao released their joint statement, Obama's Asia trip was underwhelming. But after the statement, Obama's foray into Asia went from empty to harmful.

Before Obama arrived in China, the trip's policy successes were minimal at best. He showed up to a major trade forum, APEC, with no trade policy. If, as Evan Feigenbaum has said, the "business of Asia is business," without a trade policy Obama is putting America out of business in the world's most economically dynamic region. And then he was stiffed by Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama's outright rejection of the American proposal for a high-level dialogue to resolve basing issues on Okinawa. Not exactly a sterling performance by the new team.

But then came the joint statement after talks with President Hu. Two items in the statement struck me: one about Taiwan, the other in regard to India.

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