Bariloche: Dancing the tango, relaxing with family in picturesque Patagonia, catching a baseball game with Cuba's Raul Castro it's been an unusual week for President Barack Obama.
His tour of Latin America left him on the periphery as the world grappled with terrorism and other problems. Republican critics faulted Obama for sticking to his itinerary even after more than 30 people were killed in an Islamic State-linked attack in Brussels. Obama insists he remained fully engaged.
"That was a tremendous mistake," Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said on MSNBC.
"It's fine to go to Argentina. You want to do the work, but you've got to be careful of these little photo-ops or optics. Baseball games and tangos, that's inconsistent with the seriousness of the day."
To drop everything and rush home every time attackers strike would be playing into extremists' hands, Obama said. It would also upend other critical business on the president's agenda, such as Obama's historic effort to normalize relations with Cuba and to improve US ties to Argentina.
"That is how we are going to defeat these terrorist groups," Obama said in Buenos Aires. "A lot of it is also going to be to say, 'you do not have power over us. We are strong. Our values are right. You offer nothing except death."
Obama didn't initiate his brief tango yesterday evening at a state dinner in his honor. In fact, he declined several invitations by the sashaying female dancer before politely giving in.
And attending the exhibition game in Havana between Cuba's national team and Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays was itself an act of diplomacy. As "The Star-Spangled Banner" rang out, there was a palpable sense that after half a century of estrangement, something new was foot.
Still, Obama faced no shortage of flak. Twitter and other social media sites were abuzz with photo-shopped images of Obama tangoing superimposed over scenes of carnage.
"I think he ought to return home," said Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a GOP presidential candidate.
Though Obama was at the center of global attention in Cuba as he paid the first presidential visit in nearly 90 years, other events competed for attention. As US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Moscow for talks on the Syrian war and the IS threat, Iraq's military was launching a long-awaited operation to recapture the northern city of Mosul from IS militants, with US backing.