The trip — his fifth since taking office — represents "an important opportunity to underscore our continued focus on the Asia-Pacific region," national security adviser Susan Rice told reporters on Friday.
But Obama's vaunted "pivot" to Asia has always been more theoretical than actual. This week's trip, which includes stops in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, was rescheduled after being postponed by last fall's government shutdown. And though the president is expected to reassure jittery allies that the U.S. is committed to supporting them against a resurgent China and an unstable regime in North Korea, actions speak louder than words.
Not only do Obama's proposed Pentagon budget cuts target naval, air and Marine Corps forces most crucial to operating in the Pacific, but the overall budget for the military would for the first time since before World War II put the U.S. in a position where it can only fight one regional conflict at a time. That's a bad bet as China flexes its muscles against its neighbors and the administration's attention remains focused on the Middle East, and now Ukraine.
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