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I recognize how disappointed Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe is that the TPP did not proceed, but the reality is that there is no political will in the United States for it, neither in the Democratic side nor in the Republican side. So, while the American media say that President (Donald) Trump killed it, that’s really not the case. It wasn’t going to go through, in any event.

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

© Asahi Shimbun

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We are very lucky for that.

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It's a shame the pros of TPP outweigh the cons. It also would have been nice to see the a greater rise of countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia in global markets. The exclusion of China was my favorite part.

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The Libertarians supported it.

The economically illiterate did not.

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Truly truly one of the saddest comments from a US official recently.

Background: After WWII it has been US policy to expand free markets to support capitalism and democracy worldwide. Go and debate that all you want, but that is what the GREATEST GENERATION put on its banner and it set up institutions and policies to do that. By and large it worked. That part is not so debatable. All of humanity is better off because the US did not simply turn every nation into a colony and tell it what to do and where and what to trade. Not perfect, not consistent, but that was basically the deal. England, France, Germany and all the colonial powers were FORCED to let go and for better or worse, we have had a regime where pretty well everyone gets what they want.

THAT was NO ACCIDENT, people! It took effort, sacrifices and compromise, and no, America did not always get everything it wanted, but it was STILL better off by participating than by not participating.

This Wilbur Ross is an oaf. An idiot. Trade policy is NEVER POPULAR and it is easily spun by special interests. It is not the product of legislatures. It takes difficult deals that require a lot of behind the scenes work for decades. But the benefits are worth it. (NAFTA was hugely beneficial. My opinion is that the US and Mexico would be better off today if they had developed with normal policies instead of pathological ones. But trade is not their problem.)

Wilbur Ross is worse than a do-nothing. He appears to be actively DECONSTRUCTING what American soldiers died for. By discouraging and withdrawing support, he is saying that America just does not care anymore, and why don't we just go back to 1936 anyway, with everyone just trading with their colonies and throwing up tariffs to benefit the highest bidder while making consumers pay for it?

Americans have no clue how much they benefit from the international system they struggled to create. All they can see is costs. Like toddlers, they are going to destroy many things that they cannot begin to appreciate. Wilbur Ross is a toddler himself, paradoxically put in charge of a machine he did not make and cannot even understand.

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