Instead, the jobs will probably leave China, jobs in textiles for one. Others, in the TPP, could have been electronics, but now we’ll have to see. It’s still likely. This is why China will push back via RCEP covenants and AIIB strings attached that, quite simply, state that no allegiance to the United States will be tolerated and that such publically stated allegiance or denouncement of, among other things, human rights violations in China and other Chinese abuse will trigger early payments or other withdrawals of AIIB and Chinese support. Don’t question whether China will threaten broader economic boycotts and even military disruptions. Questions whether they’ll do it and spend a moderate amount of time gaming out how that’d look, but don’t question the threats. They do that all over the world.

Nevertheless, Vietnam is the bet to be made if you’re interested in going heavy on FDI, infrastructure projects in the middle of the country, sovereign debt, and textiles. They also have apparently quite a few untapped mineral deposits.

Bare in mind Australia, New Zealand, and Japan are also ‘hedging,’ as I’ve chosen to call it, by choosing to be members of both TPP and RCEP. However, there’s no concern about their economic, political, or military/strategic alignment with the West. Vietnam should be fine, as well, but we need to continue to support and even more so now due to their RCEP membership and what leverages that gives China and what isolative forces and insulative properties that gives them via ASEAN. In other words, they may choose to focus on regional partnerships with Cambodia et al while thus temporarily taking fewer calls from the U.S., and we don’t want to lose them for even a day.

The TPP would have also been crucial to keeping China at bay in the South China Sea. With more and more trade, now that $5 TRILLION going through the SCS, it’s clear China can control it, and a common military theory is that they would simply blockade it, shut it down, as an offensive when ready or a defensive if they feel very threatened. This would amount to a significant disruption that would be a nuisance militarily but a blow torch to the world economy. With countries both in RCEP and TPP choosing their political future and almost certainly tying that to their economic future, it would be a blow to China if they did something to threaten RCEP membership. Therefore, they’d be unable to harm TPP countries since key members are in the RCEP, as well. Without membership in TPP, it’s clear China can control both their land periphery and their maritime supremacy in areas where the South China Sea borders both China and RCEP members. Again, Vietnam seems to be dominating on the ASEAN stage as well as, with or without TPP, the Oceania and Indochina stages.China would love to leave it that way and push the U.S. military further out of Asia, but so far, that’s not happening. Economically, however, they can severely sever the world from China if the world won’t stop swarming its maritime borders. Frankly, they’re trying to create a situation where we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. That’s a very similar situation going on with NK right now. No matter what we do, the risk to SK, Japan, and other factors and how it could spiral is exactly the kind of risk that NK wants to back us into, and China has a very similar war strategy that just happens to be much more encompassing, incredibly patient, and frankly not operable until they chip away at the enemy a lot more. However, they do seek total domination, and we ought to be aware of this as a culture because, despite one billion Chinese liking the United States, the few million in charge of the Chinese government, its businesses, military branches, and other connections are intensely against us and any coexistence with us.

China would love to leave it that way and push the U.S. military further out of Asia, but so far, that’s not happening. Economically, however, they can severely sever the world from China if the world won’t stop swarming its maritime borders. Frankly, they’re trying to create a situation where we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. That’s a very similar situation going on with NK right now. No matter what we do, the risk to SK, Japan, and other factors and how it could spiral is exactly the kind of risk that NK wants to back us into, and China has a very similar war strategy that just happens to be much more encompassing, incredibly patient, and frankly not operable until they chip away at the enemy a lot more. However, they do seek total domination, and we ought to be aware of this as a culture because, despite one billion Chinese liking the United States, the few million in charge of the Chinese government, its businesses, military branches, and other connections are intensely against us and any coexistence with us.

However, these years in America see a population totally against these trade agreements. The job losses we’ve suffered are immense, and the individuals affected amount to millions of Americans. They voted for Trump to save their livelihood. I don’t think they see the full connectivity of the world and that that’s how international trade has affected them, but they do see what’s happened to their wallets, their pensions, their homes, their kid’s educational opportunities, and their abilities to pay medical bills when they’re sick, and they’re far more than just tired of it. They’re violently turning inward and resenting any interactions with other countries. Therefore, at the moment, TPP is gone. Trump has changed course so often, I’m not sure he has a clue what he’s doing. In fact, I’m very sure he doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing. However, I’m also very sure that he thinks he knows what he’s doing and that it’s a good idea. So, TPP is likely gone for a very long time. What we do in the meantime is (apparently not a problem because North Korea will turn us to ashes——just kidding) unknown, and I just hope Trump doesn’t withdraw further from economic partnerships.

My conclusion is that the TPP is an absolutely crucial piece of foreign policy that we need. It’s over. It’s not coming back at least for a long time, but we need it. I conclude that China will take more control of RCEP countries in the meantime, though they will politically align with the United States for the foreseeable future and wish that we’d rescue them from any political obligations tied to economic assistance from China. They’ll wait a long time before giving up on the hope that we’ll rescue them. I also conclude that, with respect to TPP, jobs will not flee the United States at a rate faster than if TPP was implemented. In that regard, this is a good thing. However, it’s very clear that net job loss will increase over time and for a while. TPP was not the one issue that would cause job losses. So, TPP could have only been good and, among other things, be responsible for only a portion of our problems and, therefore, should have been implemented because, simply, we’re already suffering, TPP would make us suffer an amount we can absorb because the suffering is comparably rather small. We should have done it, but it’s high profile made it the unintentional straw man. We’ve knocked it down and out of existence, but that’s not going to change things. We should have framed it as a foreign policy defense. I can’t stress that enough. Instead, it was only about jobs when it was so much more than that.

So what can we do now that TPP is gone? How should we feel about it?

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