The Politics (and Geopolitics) of TPP's Prosperity Promises
One way to make sense of the current world is to measure the progress of rules-based order versus coercion-based disorder. The latter category includes the collapse of state structures in the Middle East at the hands of violent extremists, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and China's territorial revisionism in maritime Asia. If final negotiations in Atlanta this week are successful, the former category will include agreement on a new Trans-Pacific Partnership that liberalizes trade and investment among 12 economies comprising 40% of global gross domestic product, 30% of global exports, and 25% of global imports.
The forces of instability in the international system look backwards--, to a violent caliphate in the case of Islamic State and to a "might-makes-right" world of spheres of influence in the case of Russia and China. By contrast, signatories to the TPP, with its complex rules on harmonizing regulatory standards, intellectual property laws and foreign investment regimes, look forward to an era of revitalized globalization that strengthens peace through prosperity. Should negotiators from the U.S., Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Mexico, Chile and Peru reach agreement, their success in finalizing the most consequential trade pact in two decades will underscore the primacy of economic leadership in the race for prosperity and security in the modern age.