President Barack Obama ended his ten-day tour through Asia (IHT), wrapping up a two-day meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Yokohama with few concrete gains other than an agreement to seek a regional free-trade zone. The twenty-one APEC leaders also agreed to remove protectionist measures and to avoid sharp moves in the foreign exchange markets. But traders criticized that agreement (WSJ), as well as last week's G20 meeting in Seoul, for failing to deliver enforceable measures on foreign exchange or trade policies.
Obama returns to a post-election Washington with Republicans poised to challenge his agenda and with a raft of unfinished domestic and foreign policy goals (Bloomberg), including a compromise on extending Bush-era income tax cuts, a revised free-trade agreement with South Korea, and ratification of New START. Obama has scheduled a November 18 meeting with congressional leaders to discuss legislative priorities before he heads to a NATO meeting in Lisbon this weekend, where the United States will present a plan to wind down the engagement in Afghanistan (al-Jazeera).
On issues from tackling global imbalances to advancing trade liberalization, the G20 meeting in Seoul exposed widening fissures in the group, says CFR's Stewart Patrick.
Obama is learning that foreign policy is always easier to negotiate from a position of strength, writes David Rothkopf in this Financial Times piece.
Read the statement from the APEC leaders.
Read the G20 communiqué.