By William Reinsch
Abandoning TPP was a mistake. President Trump’s decision to dump the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) will prove to be an historic mistake for both geopolitical and economic reasons.
President Obama joined the TPP talks because it was a way to demonstrate to the countries of East and Southeast Asia our commitment to the region and our determination to be a continuing constructive presence there. Our policy since the end of World War II has been, essentially, to make sure that no single Asian power is able to dominate the region. That didn’t turn out very well for us in the 1930s and 40s, and we wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again. Initially, that meant Japan; now it means China. It also initially meant a military presence, which we continue to maintain. In the 21st century, however, it increasingly means an economic presence as well.
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William Reinsch is a Distinguished Fellow with the Stimson Center, where he works principally with the Center’s Trade21 initiative.