Shutdown Dents Vital Obama Foreign Policy Goal

The vaunted "pivot to Asia" suffers as Obama cancels his third trip to the region

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Barack Obama participates in a "Civil Society Roundtable," Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

After wreaking minor havoc in Washington and around the country for a few days, the government shutdown has now put a dent in American foreign policy.

Last night the White House announced the cancellation of Barack Obama‘s long-planned trip to Asia, scheduled to begin on Saturday. The trip had already been curtailed due to a furlough-induced staff shortage, but now it’s off completely. “The President made this decision based on the difficulty in moving forward with foreign travel in the face of a shutdown, and his determination to continue pressing his case that Republicans should immediately allow a vote to reopen the government,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

The government shutdown created travel and staffing hurdles for Obama, but a visit would not have been impossible—the White House could have justified it as a national security priority. And some White House aides wondered whether he might benefit politically from a few days on the world stage, carrying out his duties as Commander in Chief far from the petty sniping on Capitol Hill. In the end, Obama clearly decided that the “optics” of leaving Washington in the midst of this political standoff were unacceptable.

That’s a shame. A presidential visit to Asia might strike some people as a boring formality. But this trip was a big deal. One of Obama’s few clear strategic foreign policy goals is a sustained effort to focus more American attention and resources on Asia—for both economic reasons (Asia is a huge U.S. trading partner and can be even huger) and strategic ones (countering the rise of China).

The most committed Obama officials speak in almost messianic terms about what’s commonly known as “the pivot to Asia,” a policy engineered and launched by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Obama’s last national security advisor, Tom Donilon. They say it’s essential that America grow less entangled in the dysfunctional Middle East and more engaged with fast-growing Asia and China.

Current officials are still pursuing the “pivot.” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is in the midst of his second Asia trip in six weeks, and Secretary of State John Kerry is also there now. (Kerry will fill in for Obama at the annual meeting of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group in Bali and at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Brunei.) Asia hands say that kind of face time is a crucial signal to Asian countries like Burma, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia whom the U.S. is courting—and who are not coincidentally very nervous about China’s aggressive claims to disputed resource-rich waters.

But many Asian leaders are skeptical that the U.S. is serious about the “pivot.” They see Obama fixated on Middle East problems like Egypt, Syria and Iran. And they have now seen him cancel three trips to their region: Obama scrubbed two trips in his first term, also because of domestic political crises (the passage of his health care bill and the BP oil spill). Here’s hoping that the phrase three strikes and you’re out doesn’t translate across the Pacific.

82 comments
j45ashton
j45ashton

The House just voted 419-0 to give all furloughed workers their back pay.  That means they'll be getting paid for doing nothing.  Why not let them go back to work & pay them for doing something?  This goes to show how stupid, downright absurd this GOP forced shutdown is.  The more the logical extensions of this play out, the more we'll see how absurd the GOP premise is in all  this.

j45ashton
j45ashton

This is just about JOHN BOEHNER now.   Allow a vote in the House on a clean CR and it will pass with support from Democrats and Republicans.  JOHN BOEHNER, ALLOW THE VOTE. 

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

Good. Let him stay here. He is more likely to do damage rather than improve this country`s image. Now if only he can convince that other incompetent John the Horsey Faced to do like wise.

Kalyan
Kalyan

I think that the more pertinent question would be if the US pivot towards Asia would carry much weight now because it is almost certain that US politics is equally dysfunctional as many other places they want to play mediator. Serious doubts are on the air if an ideological quarrel between two political factions in one country should be allowed to disrupt the world economy. Of course, no one can prevent any country, least of all the biggest economy in the world, to behave any particular way. But the beauty of free market is that the erosion in credibility is slow but when it happens it acts like a sledgehammer. First step in that direction would be to demand that UN headquarter be shifted out of US and new UN HQs be established in ASIA. The logical conclusion of the PIVOT.. correct?

ABulletForCinde
ABulletForCinde

The Tea Party "revolution" began in 2010, when the Koch Brothers began organizing small TP cells (the "grassroots"), aimed at bringing Obama's presidency down however possible, at all costs, legally or illegally, even if the whole country fell with it - its finances, its economy, its health. The TP will twist all arguments, all logic, and all sense to do this, and use threats (against their own), blackmail and take hostages to achieve it, even if it has to bring America to its knees. Racism is fair game as well. The GOP wouldn't be this brazen if Hillary was the president.

j45ashton
j45ashton

The GOP premise is:  If a bill is debated, passed by both houses, is signed by the president, officially becomes a law, is judged constitutional by the SC and is further affirmed by the president winning an election where that law is the main issue, if there is minority opposition against funding that law within the speaker's party, then is perfectly OK for the GOP speaker NOT to bring the funding of that law to a full vote on the floor.  It is this technical matter of procedure where the speaker controls the agenda that the house votes on that is being used to kill progress.  So the tyranny we're all feeling now is NOT due to the president not willing to negotiate but rather is due to the lack of courage & integrity of JOHN BOEHNER who looks as if in his younger days was elected GOP speaker as a pretty boy and now has lost his looks AND his usefulness..  This piecemeal CR effort of BOEHNER  currently being played out in the House is nothing more than a farce.  It is NOT Barack Obama who is continuing the shutdown.  It is JOHN BOEHNER.  I can only hope that there are demonstrations across the country decrying the lack of courage & integrity of JOHN BOEHNER...and that there are calls across the country for BOEHNER to allow a FULL DEMOCRATIC VOTE on a clean CR in House. 

jps48
jps48

How has it come to this, a wing nut whack job Canadian, Ted Cruz, being allowed to hold the U.S. public hostage? 

Do any Americans have any idea how their already diminished reputation around the world has been further destroyed by this guy and his fellow minority TP's?


Disgusting!

KittyVonClawswits
KittyVonClawswits

If anything like his oft-repeated and completely pointless "pivot to the economy," it won't be missed.  Since he's not currently "pivoting" to shudown negotiations, maybe he can squeeze in a couple of productive rounds of golf, instead.

Sabrina45959310
Sabrina45959310

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mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

The funny thing is that everyone in Asia knows exactly where the blame lies. Paging Speaker Boehner, grow a set and stand up to the 30 Tea Party clown holding the country hostage.

AcidRed
AcidRed

WASHINGTON -- House Democrats plan to announce Friday that they will try to force a vote to fully fund the government -- and end the shutdown -- with a procedural motion known as a discharge petition.

Democrats were expected to announce the news at a Friday afternoon press conference. The resolution would fund the government through Nov. 15, at the same levels as the Senate-passed continuing resolution. And, like the Senate bill, there would be no strings attached related to delaying or defunding Obamacare.

The effort, led by Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and George Miller (D-Calif.), has little chance of succeeding. The process can be time-consuming and it requires members of the majority party -- in this case, Republicans -- to buck their party leaders and sign a petition with the minority to force a bill to the floor. But it's one of the few things Democrats can do as the minority to try to force action.

If all 200 Democrats sign the petition, 18 Republicans would have to join them in order to hit 218, the magic number needed to move forward. It works to Democrats' favor that at least 21 Republicans support a "clean" funding bill. But declaring support for such a bill and signing onto a petition to force it to the House floor are two entirely different things.Under the Democrats' plan, the soonest they could force a vote on a "clean" government funding bill is Oct. 14.

Assuming the resolution is adopted, the House would then have to take an up-or-down vote on the clean funding bill, the same one that passed the Senate and that has White House support. Once it passes the House, it would sail to passage in the Senate and be signed into law, immediately ending the shutdown.

Checkmate.

dwood520
dwood520

Oh please. . .the drama queen is at it again.  Trying to make this shutdown look much worse than it is.  We're doing quite fine without the Federal Government, thank you very much.  And don't cry for the employees - after the last shutdown, they all got back pay for their "furlough" days.  I am proud of our state of Wisconsin, which refused to shut down parks on Federal land that arer managed and staffed by the state.  They are just trying to create another "crisis" where none exists.

sdphotodude
sdphotodude

Minor havoc? I think those going without pay and the necessities of life that money buys would STRONGLY disagree?

Ahu
Ahu

A: If it was so important, Obama would have gone.

B: The real question is going to be when this shutdown keeps going and everyone realized nothing has changed.

j45ashton
j45ashton

The GOP in the House continues to act as if we're all idiots...as if we can't see what they're trying to do by proposing various parts of the government get funded but not Obamacare.  These aren't even high school level maneuvers.  It's more like kindergarten.  What the GOP is missing in all this is that most people have already made up their minds about who's to blame...and the polls & online trending show that most of the public holds the GOP accountable for what's happened.  So what is the GOP actually accomplishing in continuing to offer piecemeal CRs?  They are succeeding in hardening everyone's positions more and more, creating more anger.  In a day or two, the situation will be like locked concrete.  Then what?  The president & the senate are not giving in.  Again, this all falls on John Boehner.  Allow a vote on a clean CR & we're back in business.  Democrats along with several Republicans will pass it.  Don't allow the vote and we're all stuck in concrete.  Any mental defective would know what to do...that is, unless in the GOP.

manlyman
manlyman

The gop isn't brazen enough. This so called backbone is too little too late, had they shown this backbone the whole time we wouldn't be in this situation now, fighting a bad law, written by bad people, plain and simple. You want compromise, I say compromise is what got us here in the first place. Abandoning conservative principles, which made us the greatest country ever, is your definition of compromise.

KittyVonClawswits
KittyVonClawswits

@j45ashton Do you feel that the selective use of all caps sufficiently distracts readers from noticing that what you have posted is merely a screed that presents no compelling argument?

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@jps48 They are only allowing him because a left wing nut job from Kenya or Indonesia or Hawaii or Chicago or where ever he came from, was allowed to hold the Presidency. But at least if you ask Sen Cruz for his academic records as proof of his scholarship, he will present it to you without delay.

j45ashton
j45ashton

@KittyVonClawswits Kitty, sweetie, honey...you are just a caution.  Next time instead of smearing people or showing your delightful sense of irony, why not try making some reasoned sense?  Unless irony & smearing is really all you have to offer.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@mantisdragon91 Yeah right. They know exactly where the blame lies. The current freaking idiot at the White House. Now for the ameneties, how is life treating you Mantis, still trolling for Obama I see.

AcidRed
AcidRed

@dwood520 Please. The "drama" queens are Boehner, Cruz, and McConnell. Only GOP logic would be one where they shutdown the Government while still paying furloughed works after the fact. Why not at least let them do their jobs, but no, they wish to just give it away without getting anything in return. You t'bagger's say O gives it all away? Contradiction, GOP.

manlyman
manlyman

That's what happens when you give yourself over to the gov. A little redundant, but again, if the gov gives it to you it can just as quickly take it away. The so called recovery has consisted of a few thousand gov jobs created to keep the unemployment numbers from rising, and we see how rocksolid those jobs were. You wanna talk about going without pay and neccessities, then talk to a huge and ever growing portion of the country that has been living that scenerio for years now. And no I'm not talking about the segment of poor that sit in front of the big flatscreen with the xbox in their hand. But you know about all that, its just that the liberal mentality doesn't allow cold hard reality to distract from their sick social "ideals".

dwood520
dwood520

Look around - A huge percentage of the country is getting the necessities of life without working (under Obama)

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Ahu Yes because it would have looked great for the president to be out of the country as it is held hostage by the American Taliban.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@j45ashton I know you must be talking about your bleeding heart lib friends being idiots, but in fairness to some democrats, I do think there are few out there that are intelligent , but you are not one of them.

KittyVonClawswits
KittyVonClawswits

@j45ashton Please, by all means, sign up for Obamacare.  The exchanges are open and waiting for you.  BTW, you may encounter a few "glitches."  

Have a beautiful day!

dwood520
dwood520

That's funny, it seems like the GOP are the only ones that are willing to negotiate in this situation.  The Prez whines about how the GOP wants it "their way or the highway".   Well what are YOU doing little Napleon?

KittyVonClawswits
KittyVonClawswits

@j45ashton  Dahling, j45ashton, what a card you are.  Why don't you point your "lazer" vision at what you just posted.  Where's your reasoned sense?  BTW, you did not disprove one iota of my original post --- you just "smeared" it.  How delightfully ironic!

KittyVonClawswits
KittyVonClawswits

@AcidRed Now, now....in case you missed the memo, the epithet "tbaggers" is considered uncivil.  Also, I'm not sure I follow your argument.  Perhaps it's because it begins with a faulty premise:  that the GOP shut the government down.  The GOP-led House has presented the Democrat-controlled Senate with numerous approved bills to fund government operations.  Obama and Harry Reid are rejecting these appropriations bills.  Do try to keep up.

AcidRed
AcidRed

@dwood520 See my previous post ^ mr. contradiction. GOP BS rhetoric at it's best/worst.

KittyVonClawswits
KittyVonClawswits

@mantisdragon91 @Ahu I'm totally unclear on the concept; would you mind defining "American Taliban" for me?  I'm assuming that you are referring to a violent group of Islamic extremists located in the U.S. and terrorizing Americans.  Perhaps these violent Muslim extremists entered the U.S. illegally through the porous borders that the Obama administration refuses to enforce.  Perhaps they are extremist Muslim "Dreamers" who just wish to see their dreams of Islamic supremacy in the U.S.  fulfilled.  Perhaps they are part of the extremist Muslims relocated to America as a result of Obama administration efforts.  After all, the Taliban are Muslims, aren't they?


j45ashton
j45ashton

@KittyVonClawswits @j45ashton Sweetheart, if I needed it, I would.  Thousands have already signed up, darlin'.  Soon it will be millions.  Trust me...they don't need any advice from you to know what's good for them.

AcidRed
AcidRed

@dwood520 ACA is LAW!!!! Want to change it? Win back the Senate! Due process treasonous obstructionist t'bagger F00ls.

im2013
im2013

@dwood520 willing to negotiate an already passed law...? hmm... and perhaps if their negotiations  made sense then maybe I'd give you that one.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@KittyVonClawswits @j45ashton Kitty that is his MO, he is a pompous ass, another friend of dewys that thinks is view is the only view. I have told him many times opinions are like rear ends, everyone has one only some are better then others. He is a follower like most bleeding heart liberals.

j45ashton
j45ashton

@KittyVonClawswits @j45ashton I'm happy to reason with people who are interested in reason.  But for people like you, what you got is as good as it gets because basically you're just a wise-ass.

Ahu
Ahu

@mantisdragon91  

Please provide quotes from all GOP members stating they "fear science, foreigners, equal rights for women and people of different lifestyles and religions."


I think what you're trying to say is that you don't agree with their opinions. Oh right, you like to stereotype.

KittyVonClawswits
KittyVonClawswits

I find your definition ludicrous.  But even boobs are entitled to an opinion.  BTW, I would be careful of labeling others as "extremist," you don't sound at all moderate.

j45ashton
j45ashton

@manlyman You really are a pig.  You help show independents the low quality of people who back the tea party.

manlyman
manlyman

No, big daddy tells them what's good for them and they kneal and swallow, just like you.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@j45ashton @KittyVonClawswits What are you 12?, I have said many times to you that you are a sissy ass liberal.  What now you are a holy roller too? grow up moron try being a man for once.

KittyVonClawswits
KittyVonClawswits

@j45ashton @KittyVonClawswits Get a grip!  Have you seen what's on TV these days?  Didn't you know that Liberal policies are responsible for prophylactic availability on high school campuses?  Where have you been?

KittyVonClawswits
KittyVonClawswits

How affectionate you are with complete strangers; hope you use prophylactics  P.S. There are 12-step programs that can help.

manlyman
manlyman

To the american people he offers a finger to the eye.

manlyman
manlyman

Its a bad law, rotten to the core, shoved down our throats and you know it. The supreme court actually ruled it a tax, and yeah we really have a lot of trust in our beloved irs don't we? Its a bad law, brought about by good ole gop "compromise". Do this now a nd we'll do this later, but later never comes. Obama negotiated with his pal trumka, and his big business cronies/donors, he negotiated with the murderous muslim brotherhood, to the point of inviting them right into the whitehouse, not to mention cowering to putin, assad, rouhani and others. To the american peple

KittyVonClawswits
KittyVonClawswits

@j45ashton @im2013 @dwood520 Sorry, pal.  When you have to negotiate with a serial liar (Obama), nobody who is not a fool believes that he'll deliver on a promise "afterward."  After all, that's how we got sequestration:  Obama reneged on the previous "grand bargain" with Boehner over the budget.  Fact.

KittyVonClawswits
KittyVonClawswits

Tut, tut... remember your previous post about how bad it is to "smear" people.  But, like most liberals, hypocrisy seems to be a favorite past time.  I reserve my pot-shots for public figures.  Little fry (like you) don't even merit an insult. 

j45ashton
j45ashton

@KittyVonClawswits You know I've seen a lot of comments from you now...all pretty much full of it.  I guess you're the one who'd really qualify as a serial liar.

j45ashton
j45ashton

@im2013 @dwood520 You don't seem to get it, pal.  The time to negotiate was when the law was been debated.  The law passed.  Normal procedure is changing the law after it's gone into effect.  And Obama (the reasonable one in all this) said he's willing to work with Republicans afterward to make the law better.  Like the GOP either you're an idiot or you think the American people are idiots.  What the GOP is doing isn't negotiating or acting reasonably.  It's taking just hostages & making demands.