In an interview with NPR, President Obama says now is an appropriate time to step up aid to moderate Syrian rebels. But most of his foreign policy aims are geared toward expanding diplomatic efforts in a host of regional disputes.
Obama has come under fire from critics who say he has failed to show American leadership on issues ranging from Syria's civil war to Ukraine's crisis to China's growing clout in Asia.
Following a trip to Afghanistan over Memorial Day weekend to visit troops, the President spoke from the Rose Garden at the White House Tuesday. Obama announced the timeline to bring the longest-running war in the United States' history to an end as well as the expected residual troop levels beyond the end of the conflict.
Anybody found to have manipulated or falsified Veterans Affairs records "will be held accountable," President Obama said Wednesday. The president condemned the reported widespread problems at the VA, defending Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.
Obama spoke after he and Shinseki met in the Oval Office Wednesday morning with White House deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors, who since last week has been detailed to work with the VA. Neither of those men attended the president's news conference.
President Obama kicked off the first leg of his tour of Asia on Wednesday with some sushi diplomacy.
He dined with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a revered and tiny temple of sushi in Tokyo called Sukiyabashi Jiro. The subterranean restaurant, with just 10 seats at the counter, was made famous by the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.