First, he went to India to, as commentator Rich Galen puts it, "[promise] them something he won't be able to deliver on - a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council."
Then things went bad. Really bad. From the AP:
Obama failed to achieve a free-trade deal with Korea that was to have been the biggest trophy of his trip, and instead of banding with America against China's currency manipulation, several countries aligned themselves against the U.S.Galen provides his insights:
Let's take that free trade business first. When a President meets with another head of state to sign an agreement on whatever, the general rule is the staffs hammer out agreements on all the major issues, then leave one thing - should this be a comma or a semicolon - to the principals so they can pretend they had a hand in it.So Reagan didn't have something figured out with our sworn enemy of the cold war - and Obama couldn't work something out with someone who owes us for protecting them for 60 years against their communist neighbor to the north.
But, Obama went to South Korea without an agreement on cars and beef imports, found that he couldn't charm his way into a deal, and so had slink away from the negotiating table having promised a Free Trade Agreement which would have added 70,000 U.S. jobs.
The only other time in my memory that a President went to sign a deal and left without making one was President Ronald Reagan's trip to Reykjavik, Iceland in 1986 to meet with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, but it was well known that there was no pre-agreement before they met in Iceland.
On top of it all, Obama then went to the G-20 to attack China for fudging with their currency - right after our own Fed director announced we were doing the same by printing $600 billion more in cash.
This trip screams ineptitude in every way.
Of course, coverage of the failures seems to have ranged from nonexistent to minimal. But that's par for the course.
2012 can't get here fast enough.