By Timothy Alexander Guzman
The secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an agreement that serves numerous purposes; one of them is to contain China’s rising economic power in the Asia-Pacific region. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) who normally advises Washington’s insiders on foreign policy matters produced a report titled ‘Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China’ written by Robert D. Blackwill and Ashley J. Tellis which clearly states that “China represents and will remain the most significant competitor to the United States for decades to come” and that “the likelihood of a long-term strategic rivalry between Beijing and Washington is high.” Blackwill and Tellis recommend that the U.S. Congress “Deliver on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, … as a geoeconomic answer to growing Chinese economic power and geopolitical coercion in Asia.” It is a clear message to China. The main-stream media is also on board with the TPP agreement, for example The Washington Post published an article titled ‘The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade deal worth celebrating’, and why is the TPP worth celebrating? “By knitting the U.S. and Japanese economies together in their first free-trade deal — and binding both of them closer to rising Asian nations — the TPP would create a counterweight to China in East Asia”. Time magazine also had a headline that said it all‘Pacific Trade Deal Is Good for the U.S. and Obama’s Legacy’ which makes its case that a “U.S. presence” will protect its partners from any perceived threats from China:
But Asia is an exception, because deeper involvement there can create economic opportunities (like TPP), and because China’s neighbors are eager for a lasting U.S. presence to protect them from over-dependence for growth and security on China
China was left out of the deal intentionally (not to say that China would benefit from the deal in any way), the reason is that the U.S. wants an alliance of nations than can counter China’s rise to an economic powerhouse. The TPP is meant to isolate China while the U.S. expands its presence in the Pacific (Part of the Pentagon’s ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’) turning its partners in the TPP trade deal into cheap labor colonies without rights that will serve U.S. interests.
Can China Counter the TPP?
RT news reported that China can unite to counter the TPP with Europe which accounts for “€1 billion in trade daily, while bilateral trade in goods reached €428.1 billion in 2013.” According to the RT news report:
This raises questions, whether China and other countries are ready to unite to counter-balance the Pacific Rim pact. “China and Europe may finally look at each other and find some commonalities that they were unaware of before,” said Alicia Garcia Herrero, chief Asia-Pacific economist at Natixis, in a report quoted by CNBC. “China expressed interest to the EU commencing negotiations on a bilateral FTA [free trade agreement] when President Xi Jinping visited the EU in March 2014. At the time, the EU recognized this to be a desirable long-term objective rather than something that would be negotiated in the near future,” CNBC quotes Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at HIS as saying
RT news also reported that “another way for China to oppose TPP is boosting its BRICS participation. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa comprise about 30 percent of world’s GDP at the moment in PPP terms and are projected to increase to as much as 45 percent by 2030.” Which rightly so, allows China to bypass the TPP trade zone.
Malaysia’s Internal Opposition to the TPP
There are already disagreements within countries such as Malaysia where former Prime Minister; Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had recently said that the TPP is a“very bad” agreement. According to The Malaysian Insider (www.themalaysianinsider.com) “Anti-TPP lobbyists said the agreement has removed the country’s control over policymaking and put the government at risk of being sued if it favoured public interests over foreign investors.” This means that if an environmental accident occurred and people were injured or killed, the Malaysian government cannot sue the corporations or governments involved. Dr. Mohamad explains “Let’s say a few countries are into mining and it pollutes the environment and we stop it, they (the companies) can sue governments for loss of future profits” the report said.
The TPP is a corporate takeover that will ease rules that normally protects working-class people and labor unions. The TPP will offshore jobs from the U.S. and Canada to low-wage nations like Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam.
The agreement also eliminates health, safety and environmental regulations and favors corporations such as Monsanto over food safety issues. The TPP will empower pharmaceutical corporations that will expand its monopolistic control over its manufacturing practices which will eventually increase the price of medicine. The TPP also threatens internet privacy and the list goes on. However, as bad as the TPP is, China is the big enchilada. It is important to remember that the U.S. holds the largest debt in world history while China is the creditor nation that buys U.S. debt (although it has been dumping U.S. dollars at unprecedented levels) regardless, Washington still pushes this ludicrous deal that only makes matters worse in terms of diplomacy. The TPP serves multiple purposes; one of them is to expand an economic war that will repel China’s influence in the region. All countries that signed on to the TPP should keep in mind what Russian President Vladimir Putin once said “Washington doesn’t want partners. Washington wants vassals.”
More information on the TPP will surface in the months to come, but so far the available information we do have has one specific goal, and that is to contain China at the expense of less developed nations. The TPP is about the U.S. dominating the Asia-Pacific through trade agreements accompanied by its political and military presence to ensure that the multi-national corporations continue to make profits while pushing the Chinese dragon into the corner. My opinion is that the TPP will fail. The Malaysian people are one of the first to oppose this agreement. My prediction is that all of the governments that signed on to the agreement will face mass protests within their own borders, and that will be a positive step towards defeating the TPP once and for all.