President's Obama's march through Asia was beginning to resemble a triumphal tour. In both India and Indonesia — the first two stops on the 10-day, four-nation visit that ended Sunday — he dazzled his hosts and thrived on the adulation. On most scorecards — including mine — he received top marks in each country. Bravo, Mr. President.
Then Mr. Obama arrived in Seoul. There, he earned an "F," failing two critical tasks. In both cases, the wounds were self-inflicted. And grievous.
First, the president failed to clinch a deal with the South Koreans over the pending free-trade deal, known as "KORUS." The agreement was signed in June 2007, but the Bush administration did not submit it for congressional ratification due to issues raised by domestic constituencies — primarily cattle ranchers and automakers.
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