The TPP is Dead. Long Live the TPP.

12/14/201612 Comments

by James Corbett
December 14, 2016

The National Diet of Japan made a very strange move this past week: They ratified the TPP. Strange, that is, because the TPP is dead. President-Elect Trump has already said he is committed to pulling the US out of the deal on day one in office.

Did Japan not get the message? The TPP's kicked the bucket. It's shuffled off the mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-trade deal.

For those who need refreshing, the TPP is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the regional "free trade" compact between its 12 signatory countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam. In reality, it is a micro-managed trade deal that gives incredibly unfair advantages to the corporate cronies and political insiders who wrote it and contains the usual impossible-to-read but utterly horrifying clauses that we've come to expect from the globalist jet-set. It was shepherded through the negotiation stage under unprecedented secrecy and despite popular region-wide protest and opposition by an Obama administration that was hell-bent on making this a "done deal" before the next president could get in. But the best laid plans of mice and presidents gang aft agley, and now we have the odd spectacle of Japan actually ratifying a dead trade deal.

Or did they?

There are really only four ways to interpret this move:

1) The ratification is purely symbolic, a gesture of commitment toward the ideas embedded in the treaty.

2) Prime Minister Abe knows something that we don't about what Trump is really going to do once he gets into office.

3) The Japanese are hedging against the possibility that Trump won't make it into office after all.

4) Japan is preparing for a trade deal without the US.

The first possibility is no doubt trivially true. Of course the insiders, cronies and political puppets want to have something to show for all their years of hard work evading public scrutiny and hammering out their evil deeds in closed-door meetings. But this can't be the whole story.

The second possibility is intriguing if only because Abe is the only world leader to have personally visited Trump since his (s)election, immediately declaring Trump to be a "trustworthy leader" despite their (seemingly) obvious differences of opinion on major agenda items like the TPP. Given that several of Trump's cabinet appointees have been vocal supporters of the deal in the past and given that arch-criminal Henry Kissinger has already told us to expect Trump to break his promises, it is at least a possibility that Trump's tough talk on the TPP was just that: talk. And it's also possible that Abe knows this. Hence the ratification.

There was once a point at which I would have dismissed the third possibility as so utterly unlikely that it was hardly worth mentioning, but given how completely insane the world of American politics has become in the past several months I can't rule it out completely. And, given that Abe already specifically took time out to meet with Clinton on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September (and specifically to urge her to press ahead with TPP ratification), there's no doubt he will know how to work with a Clinton administration to get the TPP signed, sealed and delivered.

The fourth possibility is perhaps the most interesting. Without the US — the largest economy in the world and the most important market for many of the up-and-coming exporters of the Asia-Pacific region — the TPP would be largely meaningless. Or would it? If Trump really does turn the US away from the costly work of maintaining its world empire, there will be a greater need among other nations generally to begin cooperating and acting together. Rather than an Asia-Pacific united under the US umbrella, there could be an altogether different arrangement. The most intriguing possibility, and one that would immediately turn around and bite the Trump administration in the posterior (again, assuming that Trump is at all serious about any of his promises) is that it would open up the space for including China in the deal. And a TPP with China as the star signatory would be a very different deal with a very different inflection.

If the fourth scenario does take place and we see more regional cooperation, with the Chinese in the driver's seat instead of Uncle Sam, we may see the next significant step in the eastward shift in the locus of economic and financial power in the 21st century. We're still a long way off from that point, but it is at moments like this where significant changes in the course of world history can take place.

It all depends on the answer to that pesky little question: Why did Japan ratify a dead deal?

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Comments (12)

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  1. lucid says:

    If Trump keeps his promices…exactly. I guess time will tell. I’ve been spending waay too much time over at vote, specifically observing all the hope people have in him addressing the (I think real and present) abuse within the corridors of of power, but ultimately it is his/their financial plans that will govern how much of the swamp is drained. Whatever happens, as James says, it is the act of taking responsibility for our OWN lives that is the ultimate solution. Perspective is, in my opinion, reality.

    • Samadhi108 says:

      What a crock of psuedo intellectual bullshit, lucid. You THINK theres an abuse of power in the Fed government ?!! And your still hoping Trump will “drain the swamp” ?!! Are you paying attention to the corporate criminals he appointing to the administration ?!! Hes probably making the swamp worse ! First of all hes a republican ! Isnt that enough to tell you how corrupt it will be ?!! Not that im not aware of the corruption in the Dem party ! But the repubs are always far worse ! Anyway, wake up ! If this if that ! Hes a piece of shit and another disgrace as president and an embarrassment to the country ! And another tbing ! Perspective is reality ?!!! Lol ! What about the perspective of a delusional schizophrenic ?! Is that reality ?! What about somebody wasted on crack cocaine ?! Reality ?!! What an absurdity ! One more thing. Its going to take a lot more than “taking resposability” for our own lives to fix the world ! Im sure most people would say they are already responsable people. They go to work, take care of their kids, pay the bills, pay taxes, dont steal, are decent civilized human beings, are honest, nice to others, donate to charities if they can afford it, etc. Its going to take much more than that. I will offer five solutions right now along with James’s suggestions. Take it or leave it im not interested in arguing ! #1 Art of Living Foundation or something like it. #2 Free Zero Point Energy, especially with Dr. Steven Greer. #3 Despite the fact that James thinks it has something to do with being a technocracy, which it doesnt, Resource based economy as so eloquently described by Peter Joseph and The Zeitgeist Movement and/or the Venus Project or something like them. #4 Despite the fact that James is an anarchist, since thats not going to happen, then either the Green Party or something like it #5 The only almost completely natural food store i know of that doesnt charge high prices for food is Trader Joes. There may be others, i really hope so, but Trader Joes is the lowest priced i know of including for organic foods. I dont know anything about their higher level management or owners but the people who work at the one i go to are very nice, belpful, friendly and sincere. Well, theres one person there whos not one of my favorite people in the world but no big deal. I just thought i would throw in #5 since i said 5 but really had four things in mind. But it is a very nice store with great food for a great price with very nice people !

      • lucid says:

        Phew. Well if you read my post properly, you’d see I said observe, not support. And you know why I like this site? Its because James’s content is sophisticated enough that so far I’ve not come across any comments quite as ridiculous as yours. I’m not interested in arguing either. Peace out.

      • karl.h says:

        Maybe use a few more exclamation marks next time. It will get your point across a lot better.

  2. mkey says:

    How many promises has Trump kept till now? At least theoretically.

  3. Samadhi108 says:

    By the way, thx for another excellent article, James ! Great work !

  4. Octium says:

    I don’t see any bullet holes in Trumps head yet.

    So my guess is that he will rename the agreement, repaginate the document and pass it off as something else.

    That way he won’t be technically lying when he says he does not support the TPP.

  5. mktbwisdom says:

    Thank You James!

    My bet is on #2. I don’t rule anything out but with every campaign promise that has been shown to be flimsy rhetoric already, I think he will just go ahead with it. Trump the TPP Necromancer. BUT what I love about your work James, are very plausible (present chaotic weirdness being considered) alternatives. You don’t play identity politics and it allows for stepping past all the hope and blind faith invested in the Trump Train. But still we just don’t know. What an interesting observation.

  6. nosoapradio says:

    The “old world” is being burned in effigy.

    Clinton and her dirty secrets are of the old world.

    The masquerade known as “Democracy” is of the old world.

    Racism and nationalism are of the old world.

    Political correctness and privacy are of the old world.

    The illusion of a free market economy is of the old world.

    Trump inscrupulously trumpeted whatever fairytale was necessary to grab visible support from the tea party, the white supremecists, the conspiracy theorists, the climate skeptics and other miscellaneous disenfranchised factions: just enough followers to give the illusion of a credible opponent faced with the politically correct mainstream Clinton monolith. An illusion of competitive democracy… Only to entirely and unabashedly disregard, almost spit on the values of those who elected him. Like those before him, but with more emphatic non-chalance. As if he were telepathically and gleefully screaming “and as usual, you fell for it!”

    In reality, he will be the ambassador of internationalism, globalism, socialist, environmental technocracy… The future

    In his eminently brash and uncouth fashion, he embodies the controlled demolition of faith in democracy, nationalism, political correcteness

    With his gilded old world american look, from the top of his toupee, down the lapels of his double-breasted custom made suit, to the tip of his shiny italian shoes,

    As one ambition Trumps all others,

    the president-elect will triumphantly immolate himself, whisking the carbon smoke and ash of imperialist america and the old american dream off to their new genetically modified form as a world federation.

    But as Trump will be the mid-wife of America’s spectacular demotion, and not the signatory of its total resignation, I’ll put my chips on alternative 2 as well.

    And can you imagine towering smart cities in the East and picturesque smart communities in the West?

    then again, I’d probably have to spend some time actually researching the matter…

    well anyhow…


    • phreedomphile says:

      Very well said, nosopradio. Trenchant, succinct, and eloquent.

      “In his eminently brash and uncouth fashion, he embodies the controlled demolition of faith in democracy, nationalism…” …….and the free expression of ideas

      • nosoapradio says:

        “…….and the free expression of ideas”

        a breath-taking oversight on my part –

        very well amended, thank you.

        good to hear from you

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