There is Growing Evidence That Obama’s Foriegn Policy is Failing
When US President Barack Hussein Obama travels to Asia next week, he will try to reassure leaders in the region that he still has the ability (read political power) to deliver US approval for the sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), even though the 2 Presidential candidates vying to succeed him and a Key Congressional leader say the 12-nation trade deal should be halted.
The trade pact is the economic pillar of Mr. Obama’s broader plan to shift US foreign policy toward Asia and counter the rising economic and military might of China.
“It would be a real setback for Obama’s legacy and for the rebalance strategy if TPP were not to be ratified,” said a former Obama foreign policy adviser now at the CSIS think-tank in Washington.
Domestic politics have put the deal’s future in doubt.
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last Thursday the Senate would not vote on the pact this year, punting it to the next President, who will take office on 20 January 2017.
Both Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton oppose the TPP, citing past trade deals that have cost Americans jobs.
Of note: As Mr. Obama’s Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton backed the Pacific trade deal, she has altered her position recently.
The White House said failure to approve the TPP will hurt US interests in Asia, where some leaders made politically tough decisions to advance the deal.
“In this part of the world, which is the largest emerging market in the world, TPP is seen as a litmus test for US leadership,” Ben Rhodes, Mr. Obama’s deputy National Security adviser, told reporters Monday.
“We would be stepping back from that leadership role, we would be ceding the region to countries like China who do not set the same types of high standards for trade agreements were we to not follow through with TPP,” Mr. Rhodes said.
In an interview, Former US Trade Representative Susan Schwab described the odds of the TPP passing as slim, but not impossible.
“There’s history of candidates criticizing previous administrations’ policies on trade and then having to figure out how to live with them in office, and they include Presidents Obama and former Democratic President Bill Clinton,” said Mr. Schwab.
Mr. Obama arrives in China this Saturday where he will meet President Xi Jinping and attend the G20 Summit, returning to Washington on 9 September.