Five years after refashioning US foreign policy to emphasize Asia, President Barack Obama will face questions over his strategy's content and staying power in the region this week. Obama will counter the impression that events, including carnage in Syria and the East-West showdown over Ukraine have dragged his administration’s attention elsewhere. He will argue in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines that the "rebalancing" policy -- of withdrawing US military, economic and human resources from Middle East wars and deploying them to emerging Asia -- remains on track. Obama will embark on his fifth visit as president to Asia when he lands in Japan on Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee called Sunday for beefing up western sanctions against Russia to include its petrochemical and banking industries and warned that Moscow thus far has ignored United States and European efforts to persuade it to back off its confrontation with Ukraine.
By Jeff Mason and Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The latest delay to a final decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline will reinforce a White House strategy to energize President Barack Obama's liberal-leaning base before fall elections in which Democrats risk losing control of the U.S. Senate. Environmentalists, worried about the project's effect on climate change, have put enormous pressure on the president to reject the pipeline from Canada's oil sands, staging demonstrations outside the White House and protests in states where he travels. A decision to approve it now could have prompted that vocal group, which was instrumental in electing Obama in 2008 and 2012, to sit out the November 4 congressional elections. The State Department's announcement on Friday that it would give government agencies more time to study the project was seen by strategists from both parties as a move to prevent that and boost Obama in the eyes of his supporters.