The Agenda

2:30 p.m. E.T.

My Take on the President’s trip to Burma on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports”:

ANDREA MITCHELL: He’s also trying to look towards Asia. That’s part of their foreign policy. But with one of, actually, I think, our oldest ally, Thailand, in the region, he seemed to have a lot of fun. Did you see some of the pictures, Mark, with the Prime Minister of Thailand? They seemed to be really enjoying their joint press conference, as we show some of those shots.

MARK HALPERIN: I did and the President got to ingratiate himself with the Thai people by saying how much he likes Thai food, although he declined to name his favorite dish. Look, as the U.S. switches its attention, shifts very self-consciously and openly from Europe and some of the older world problems towards Asia — the military containment of China is part of it and so is finding the right balance between our national security interests, our economic interests, and human rights. And I think this trip is probably a smart thing, even though, as Chris said, there’s some second guessing of it, because [Burma] is a country that’s moved much faster than anyone thought it could. There are still plenty of pockets, most especially China and North Korea and others, where America can use its influence in this region to bring about more human rights, more women’s rights, more rights for children, more emphasis on free markets. And so I think the President, by going and giving a very well-crafted speech, same kind of rhetoric in Thailand, I think this is so far a successful trip and the symbolism, as long as the President is stressing not enough progress but headed in the right direction, I think it’s a great use of his megaphone, a great use of American power.

Watch the video above.

Related Topics: Andrea Mitchell, Andrea Mitchell Reports, Asia, Barack Obama, Burma, China, Mark Halperin, MSNBC, North Korea, Thailand, Analysis, Foreign Policy, News, The Page, Video, White House

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