FROM Dan Southerland
The President's Trip to Asia: Substance and Symbols President Obama has left for a week in Asia as American influence has been on the decline, while China's influence is increasing. So "the overarching theme" of the President's trip will be that the US is a Pacific nation engaged with Asia "in a very comprehensive way." That's what the National Security Council's been telling reporters.
The President's Trip to Asia: Substance and Symbols As the US continues to struggle out of recession, Asia currently is regarded as the most economically dynamic place in the world. In high-profile visits to four countries in eight days, President Obama will express what the State Department calls "strategic reassurance." We hear what that means to allies, including Japan and South Korea, and to China, which the President describes as both a competitor and a "vital partner," one whose influence is increasing. We also hear about conflicts with different countries and broader issues of human rights, global warming, Iran and Afghanistan.
The US gets deeper into Middle East wars. What's the endgame? President Trump welcomed Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to the White House today… just one of the changes in America's approach to the Middle East since Barack Obama left office. We hear about that and the escalation of warfare as well as civilian casualties.
GOP 'Nukes' the Senate filibuster on SCOTUS nominees Senate Democrats today blocked Judge Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the US Supreme Court… but just for the moment. The Republican majority has changed the rules to force a likely confirmation as soon as tomorrow.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.