Allegations have surfaced that the US used allies' embassies in Asia to spy on other countries, prompting fresh fury from leaders and apologetic words from Secretary of State John Kerry.
The visit by Secretary of Defense Gates to Singapore highlights Asia's lack of a strong forum for regional security talks. Asian countries are also wary of being squeezed between the US and a rising China.
A US-China military rivalry may be behind China's recent aggressiveness in the South China Sea. On Sunday, Vietnam claims China cut the underwater cables of one of its survey ships.
Regional diplomats stepped up efforts Monday to end the clashes along a disputed border between Thailand and Cambodia.
Newly leaked US cables accuse Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of spying on his opponents and paying off judges to protect allegedly corrupt allies.
Calls for intervention have met firm rejections from Bangkok, even as Thailand-Cambodia clashes that have already killed 10 people continued into their fourth day.
The Obama trip to Indonesia had the potential to go beyond praise for that country as a model of Islamic moderation. Indonesia is much more diverse than the label 'Muslim' implies.