America Is All Alone in the Trans-Pacific Trade Talks


Are you interested in the Trans-Pacific Partnership? No? I’ll confess that it leaves me a little glassy-eyed too. However, because so much of it deals with things like financial services, intellectual property, and drug patents, it’s spurred more wonk interest than old-school trade agreements that dealt mostly in reducing tariffs for tangible goods (food, textiles, cars, etc.). Gabriel Michael recommends this very brief Guardian listicle if you want to get up to speed on the primary points of contention. I agree. It’s good. And very brief.

But wait! The TPP is interesting for another reason: WikiLeaks managed to get its hands on a draft copy of the treaty, along with comments about which countries were taking which position. Michael, who’s a PhD candidate at GWU, totted up all these comments to figure out the average positions of each country in the talks. As the chart on the right shows, it’s basically the United States vs. everyone else.

The numbers on the x- and y-axes don’t really mean anything. The only thing that matters on this chart is distance. And as you can see, 11 of the TPP countries are clustered pretty near each other, with Australia and Peru being modest outliers. And then there’s the United States, way off to the left, all by itself. Nor is this just a case of rich countries vs. poor countries. Even the other rich countries (Canada, Japan, Australia) are miles away from the US.

So that’s modestly interesting. You can click the link to see the US position on various specific provisions of the TPP. Overall, though, nationalists should be pretty happy. By all accounts, the Obama administration has been pretty hard-assed about protecting American interests, whether they’re justified or not.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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