WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is looking beyond the wars he inherited to focus on Asian security risks — like China and North Korea — that took a back seat to Iraq and Afghanistan.
This marks a turning point not only for the U.S. military but also for Obama, entering the final year of his White House term.
Facing a re-election battle, he is declaring success in Iraq and Afghanistan and taking a forward-looking stance on the how to preserve American military pre-eminence.
A prominent theme of a new defense strategy that Obama unveiled Thursday is reasserting America's position in the Asia-Pacific region.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes the U.S. got so bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11 that it missed chances to improve its strategic position in other regions.