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U.S. President Barack Obama has concluded a three-country Southeast Asia tour designed to punctuate his administration’s intention to focus on Asia. The intentions are good and the strategy is correct: Asia deserves a more prominent place in U.S. thinking and planning.

But the realities of governing conspired to overshadow Mr. Obama’s intent: A crisis in the Gaza Strip and the prospect of a fiscal crisis in the United States distracted the president from his pledge to focus more attention on Asia.

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