US President Barack Obama arrives for his first visit Thailand on Sunday. The US president will be welcomed both officially and popularly, as head of state of an historical ally, and as an admired world leader. But Mr Obama's chief business in Thailand is business, not politicking. He will hand a formal invitation to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to join negotiations for his pet Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This proposed trade deal is fraught with dangers for Thailand.
When Mr Obama came to office nearly four years ago, he stated that a major vision was to re-establish his country as a Pacific power. His Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and successive defence secretaries have carried out that policy, even as Mr Obama struggled to end the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and to update US ties with Europe. The military "pivot" of armed forces from Europe to Asia is under way, as is a strong push of the key economic policy of the TPP.
The TPP actually got its start under ex-president George W Bush, with four countries buying into the Washington definition of free trade: Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam _ with Hanoi desperate to boost US relations. Mr Obama took the TPP as his own, and has boosted both the public profile and membership of the group.