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The TPP’s Second Act

India and Japan are demonstrating that Asia’s major powers can frustrate Chinese ambitions without the US. To see this dynamic at work, look no further than Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent declaration that Japan will continue to push ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

CLAREMONT – When US President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) this past January, many observers saw that decision as a boon for China. If so, it may not last.

The conventional wisdom is based on simple economic and geopolitical logic. China has become every other Asian country’s largest trading partner, inexorably gaining strategic leverage as a result. As China’s neighbors grow increasingly dependent on the Chinese market, the logic suggests, America’s influence in the region will gradually decline.

Former US President Barack Obama’s administration understood the far-reaching geopolitical consequences of China’s economic dominance in East Asia. Obama and his advisers had hoped that, by creating a new US-centered trading bloc, the TPP would counter China’s clout and preserve American military and economic primacy in the world’s most dynamic region.

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