“Apart from North Korea, name me one country in Asia that has not welcomed the US rebalance,” he said. “It usually induces a response of silence.”
Things are not so rosy with Russia.
A top Obama win of the first term, the “reset” of ties with Moscow produced a nuclear arms deal and helped toughen UN sanctions against Iran.
However, the reset has been on life support since Putin reassumed the presidency last year.
The US president’s legacy will also be colored by mounting legal and moral questions over his drone strikes against extremists abroad.
Historians will also examine another facet of his effort to avoid foreign entanglements — pushing allies to the fore in anti-terror operations in Libya and Mali, an approach mocked by critics as “leading from behind.”
Obama scored a domestic political win by naming next year as an exit date for US troops in Afghanistan.
However, questions linger over the proficiency of Afghanistan’s NATO-trained forces, Taliban hopes of a comeback and the viability of the state when foreign troops leave.
Equally, from Washington, the withdrawal from Iraq is a success, but Obama’s legacy could be blemished if the country he left to fend for itself is torn apart by sectarian strife once more.