Requiem for the Trans Pacific Partnership (from the late but not forgotten file)
Some may recall when these pages boasted of the inevitability of the ratification of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). We called it such because it cost the US relatively little, but put tremendous pressure on China (who was intentionally not invited to participate).
As we now know, it did not survive the first week of the Trump Administration. In truth however, it was dead long before that. There was no way it was going to make it through the 114th Congress.
So what to say? Were we wrong? Did we misunderstand the political forces? Maybe and No (both qualified). TPP was the right idea at the wrong time. The retrograde waves of populism and isolationism that Trump rode so well were too much for an agreement that required sacrifice and cooperation.
Keep in mind however, that TPP will soldier forward in an anemic, regional form – eliminating the “Trans” in Trans Pacific Partnership if you will. And in the bitterest of ironies, this truncated TPP is likely to be dominated by…wait for it…China. Raise your hand if you saw that coming. Riiiight…put your hand down, you’re embarrassing yourself.