Journalists discuss implications of Obama's trip to Asia

Friday, November 20, 2009 | 6:27 p.m. CST; updated 6:30 p.m. CST, Saturday, November 21, 2009

Stuart Loory, Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies, Missouri School of Journalism: President Barack Obama has finished his four-nation, eight-day trip to Asia. The three issues of controversy involving China, the emerging super power, are: climate change, trade imbalances and China’s attitude on stopping the push toward nuclear weapons production by Iran and North Korea. No important agreements were reached and the Chinese carefully controlled Obama’s access to the Chinese people and vice versa. The big issue in Japan was moving one of the main military bases on the island of Okinawa. There was no agreement other than to continue discussing the problem. In South Korea there are some of the same trade problems that create controversy in China. And, in Singapore, the president met a stonewall on the question of climate change. Obama did meet with the leader of Myanmar but there was no indication that anything was said that might win freedom for the human rights leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest. Throughout the trip it was almost as if the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, both in Asia, did not exist. What does this trip say about Obama as president or about the changing American role in the world?