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November 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM

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The Obama administration pivots toward Asia

President Obama’s move toward Asia is being played out in policy and presence. His four-day trip to Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia helps define his intentions.

Part of his long-range plan is a broader trade policy with the region. The president’s trip comes as China installed new leadership. A Seattle Times editorial posted over the weekend about those new leaders looks at an emerging political dynasty that is not all that comfortable with change in the country, and among its neighbors. A Sunday New York Times article on the new leadership explores the same topic.

The president can leave Washington for a purposeful break, but the limits of a so-called pivot are evident in the persistence of old troubles. Israel and Gaza are in bloody turmoil again. Are events moving toward war, or is this another flare-up connected to ancient tensions and contemporary politics? The most hopeful sign was the United Nations and European countries stepping up to intervene.

China is the world’s second largest economy. Obama went to check out the neighborhood. It will be noticed and remembered by key players.

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