A gulf began to widen between the administration and those opposing TPP, and quality independent analysis was much more difficult to come by than fearmongering. A few corporations spoke out in favor of TPP , but given their vested interest, they made a poor case of swaying average people. Meanwhile, even mainstream news coverage of TPP tended negative. Hillary Clinton notably had modify her messaging on TPP  to be seen as a viable candidate, despite endorsing it before.
 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11893512#11894446  http://www.snopes.com/hillary-clinton-called-trans-pacific-p...
I'm not ok with secret tribunals that make those decisions. 
I'm not ok with governments not making provisions for the workers that lost their jobs because Vietnamese shrimp flooded their country's market. 
1. Any decision that you think has resolved unfairly?
2. Agreed, but redistribution and retraining are domestic issues such as NAFTA-TAA.
Isn't it up to a country to make itself attractive to investors, i.e. by not pulling all that shit?
Yes, but it would defeat the purpose of a trade agreement.
Moreover, if country ABC signs the agreement, indicating 'they won'd do this BS' - and then they actually do do it - then they get access to other markets while cheating.
The agreement is supposed to prevent countries from cheating.
It has a side effect of preventing governments from doing things they ought to do - for example, punishing international companies from polluting etc..
It's a tricky problem.
There should be clauses that allow governments to make laws to stop companies from polluting etc.
Why should a foreign company decide what is and isn't legal in my country? Why should a democratic country, whose government is beholden to the people, have to kneel before a corporation, beholden to foreign wealth? Why does a corporation have rights that override the democratically-determined laws of a foreign country?
Not to mention your spin doctoring - 'investor confidence' is the good guys, and 'court systems and political systems' are just corruption and nepotism (because as we know, corps don't have either of those in abundance...)
Cool. You and the TPP are in agreement then.
>Why should a foreign company decide what is and isn't legal in my country?
It shouldn't, beyond the general representation it's due. I'm not sure where you're getting this idea that corporations would have carte blanche to dictate laws from. Certainly not from reading the actual agreement.
What is covered by the mechanism is pretty simple. You can't regulate foreign owned companies differently from domestic ones. You can't appropriate funds or capital or freeze accounts without due process. You can't deny access to local courts.
And that's about it. What's more, your suit can be thrown out if there is a public health, art, indigenous culture or a number of other concerns (this is dependent on country). Tobacco companies are banned wholesale.
You are indeed correct in that I haven't read the 2700-page document. And to be frank, I highly doubt your own claims that you read it twice. I also doubt the characterisation of this extraordinarily lengthy document argued between multiple countries for the better part of a decade as "pretty simple".
Regarding the tobacco exclusions, it seems punitive to me, they were definitely being bad actors under previous ISDS mechanisms. You're right, though, the public health interest carveouts in the TPP's ISDS implementation (based on a recent Canadian BIT) would provide sufficient tools to allow unfettered regulation without needing to ban them wholesale. These carveouts were not present in the BIT in the PM vs Australia case, for example.
So why were tobacco bad actors? In the Australian case, they launched a suit claiming that by enforcing plain packaging Australia was in essence, appropriating their brand, packaging and associated goodwill. You may think they shouldn't win this argument, I may think they shouldn't win this argument, but regardless, they deserved to have their case heard fairly. They of course lost with costs.
The problem was that PM also quite likely believed that they wouldn't win, and was instead using the process to delay plain packaging legislation in other countries such as Ireland who were waiting on the case results. This would be a clear cut case of abuse, and participating in poor faith.
As per what would prevent other companies from attempting the same thing? Fear that the same thing would happen to them. Because of likely abuse of the ISDS system, tobacco would now have no international recourse whatsoever if governments flat out nationalize their factories.
while this is true there are already mechanisms built to counter this uncertainty, i.e. you can get insurance for operating in "dangerous" countries.
Without a body that can invoke broad sanctions, countries can play chicken with each other. Regimes can simply decide to seize company assets, and hope the offending parties don't cause enough of a real ruckus.
Of course this lowers investor confidence long-term. But governments that do that are rarely interested in this. They're more interested in lining their own pockets with personal wealth.
These sort of trade frameworks build a mutually-assured-destruction setup, so that any BS can get swiftly acted upon by a "neutral" party. And at the end of the day, it allows for stronger rule of law, which is better for most parties. The ones that end up the worst off are the kleptocrats.
Airliners can buy insurance for plane crashes. But most of them would rather planes just not crash.
Sure, ISDS can help a country build more trust, and lower the cost of foreign investments, but it's not a panacea.
Plus, countries would still play chicken with each other.
If China decides to seize Apple's plants, what should the US do, declare war?
Should France and EU terminate all foreign deals with Egypt due to it not wanting to pay for the Veolia ISDS decision?
There's less debate and uncertainty about the legitimacy of the retaliation, and its better understood than the advanced kremlinology required to decipher some other things.
Not many things are panacea, but things like the WTO have been pretty useful at avoiding trade wars IMO.
> Regimes can simply decide to seize company assets
And they can ignore the provisions in a treaty they sign, too. If a country is willing to start seizing assets and taking the usual penalties in business for doing so, the TPP isn't going to mean much.
Treaties are only as powerful as their ability to be enforced (whether that's militarily, politically, or economically). Have a look at the state of the 19th C treaties between the USA and various Indian nations for a crystal-clear example of this.
And it does it with a far lower cost to sovereignty.
This misunderstands what incentives are at play for politicians with low accountability in developing countries. The cost of corruption is borne by these investors and domestic consumers, but the benefit of it is entirely concentrated in the political class. Therefore the opposite incentive exists, and the system becomes more resistant to any changes towards more inclusive institutions.
Meaningless buzzword. If a nation no longer favours the basket of benefits and obligations, it is entirely free to leave.
Do you think government agencies and leaders should be above the law in general, or only with respect to companies?
ISDR (investor state dispute resolution) is usually arranged as a private arbitration, with arbitrators who conspicuously do not meet conflict of interest or probity rules of even a hicksville kangaroo court. ISDR has the power to force judgements which are strongly not in the public interest, under the pretence of 'market interference'. The most obvious case is the tobacco lobby trying to prevent plain packaging legislation.
This idea that trade deals can guarantee commercial justice for large multinationals in authoritarian countries, but we shouldn't expect any such improvement for citizens, is quite abhorrent.
Why shouldn't we? Does TPP prohibit that? No. Are you saying that countries with poor rule of law should not make any improvement to the Trent tho for the rule of law unless it does it all completely in one go? Are incremental improvements undesirable or actively bad? That's a pretty extreme absolutist position to take.
At the moment governments are pressured by other governments and multinationals to have stronger rule of law. The cost of capital is higher in more corrupt countries. The threat of capital flight is a significant disincentive to government crackdowns on democratic movements -- building stops, bond returns skyrocket, lines of credit disappear, arms sales stumble.
TPP is the promise that your foreign capital is safe, even though locals are screwed. Even better, companies sue governments for raising the minimum wage, or enforcing OH&S.
This isn't 'give a little, get a little', this is 'we're taking your rights'.
In particular, a government that changed the law because certain behaviour was found to be harmful would potentially be required to pay huge amounts of compensation to a company whose business model relied on doing those harmful things. This is particularly relevant in fields like public health, environmental protection and sustainable exploitation of natural resources.
The problem with this is that the same governments that might genuinely legislate to, say, protect public health by banning smoking in restaurants or protect the environment by banning diesel-powered vehicles with unacceptable levels of particulate emissions can also legislate for protectionist purposes in ways that really do screw over foreign companies. This makes countries with such governments, or the fear that their government go down this path, much less attractive for foreign investors. And so those investors look for safeguards that will ensure governments can't arbitrarily take advantage of them once they've put their money in.
Which brings us back to step 1 in the case of foreign investors whose investments turn out to be in harmful things, whether or not anyone realised that in advance, and so the cycle continues.
That doesn't mean we should fear the bogeyman, since in reality such provisions have not been unusual in previous free trade agreements and the most notable ISDS cases were ultimately failures for plaintiffs like Big Tobacco. But even though results have usually gone the right way in the past, they have still cost the governments involved a lot of time and money to fight the case, and that alone is grounds for asking whether the ISDS provisions are a good idea.
No foreign nation or individual should be able to override what a country has decided to do via the democratic process. There is no absolute higher authority to appeal to in a true democracy.
In this case - it's not about suing the government for doing anything outside the law.
Company ABC decides to extract tons from freshwater from country XYZ.
Country ZYZ realizes this is damaging the environment, and puts in some regulations.
Company ABC can now sue country XYZ - just for having good governance.
There are many reasons that company ABC should be able to sue country XYZ ... but the it's so broad that it can lead to problems.
Canada banned a fuel additive that was only used by one company (foreign) called Ethyl Corp on the basis of health reasons. Ethyl Corp sued, saying the additive was actually banned for political reasons rather than on any scientific grounds, and the Canadian government chose to settle - paying them some $20 million dollars and withdrawing the law they were implementing.
On the face of it, it seems like Ethyl Corp was the bad guy and the Canadian government was pursuing legitimate policy in the public interest, and this is certainly how it was played out in the media. In actual fact, Ethyl Corp presented the Canadian governments own documents coming from the Health and Environmental departments, dating to about a year prior that unequivocally stated that there was absolutely zero danger from using the additive in fuel. In fact, the party that tried to get the law through had had strong historical links with the domestic companies competing with Ethyl Corp.
In all the papers, it was portrayed as 'Company sues government over environmental protections/health protections', and that's how all ISDS cases get presented in mainstream newspapers. 'Company screwing with our laws' sells way more papers than 'company disputes unfair government policies', I guess. I don't know about you, but I don't think it's fair that foreign investors should be unfairly discriminated against in this way. ISDS prevents political parties from favouring their contributors over foreigners by enacting biased laws such as these. Why should Joe Public lose out because one of the parties is trying to cozy up to their largest donors, and why is it fair that international investors get screwed just because they're foreigners? In actual fact, ISDS is a great way of keeping governments accountable by limiting the political favours they can hand out whilst in office.
Regulations aren't grounds for an ISDS suit, unless they're implemented discriminatorily.
 http://www.economia-snci.gob.mx/sic_php/pages/importa/sol_co... (p.4 onwards)
If a company believes they can sue, and convince a judge ... well, they'll sue.
I get that it's nuanced, but it's a problem, is my point.
And its their right to have their case heard if that's the case, no?
I'm willing to hear an argument for why TPP would be good for working people in the US. I've never heard anything even close to that. I've heard plenty of hard evidence that it's horrible for working people (and people in general) in the US, while being great for large corporate interests. Sometimes unpopular things are unpopular because they are bad, it's not always a communication problem.
It's a free trade agreement like any other.
The benefits of free trade are well understood.
Consumers get access to a larger variety of goods, at better prices.
Companies get easier access to parts/services in their supply chain.
When the government has been lying to you for years about domestic spying, among other things, how do you expect them to follow you blindly on another deal made in the dark?
This country is going to go into chaos in the next ~10-25 years as more and more jobs are automated, unemployment skyrockets, and people refuse to give free money to all the "entitled white heroin users in the Rust Belt." Notwithstanding the effects of global warming ramping up.
Except because of the elitism we get to start this period with Donald Trump at the helm instead of someone at least half sane.
You are being distracted by irrelevancies if you think this was the main issue. And probably quite foolish if you think democracy means 100% of people give their input to 100% of decisions.
The only thing that could improve this situation is that deals should be formed in complete secrecy, with no input from Congress or the Senate and should be ratified solely by the President via a treaty process.
You really want to ensure the Great Unwashed and those incompetents they elect indirectly don't get any where near trade deals, otherwise they might possible make "improvements" such as forcing through openness, accountability, fairness and equality! All of which are totally the anathema of good backroom deals.
It's a pretty seminal work, I'd encourage reading it.
(8000+ citations, https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?view_op=view_citatio... )
You don't want to show your cards in a negotiation, right? So how could the President and Congress say to the American people "this is what we're going to offer and accept from China" and pretend that the Chinese aren't going to hear it too?
Secrecy is often a horrible idea but this is a really complicated issue.
"Black crack smokers in Detroit would rather help themselves with welfare instead of getting a job and helping the rest of the country."
Wow, doesn't that really make you think? Maybe we shouldn't target people by their race, and associate them with negative stereotypes? Maybe we shouldn't dismiss their response to struggle as selfish and stupid? Really gets the noggin goin'.
As for stupid, large complex and overarching new legislation taking away tons of rights relating to everything from food to medical treatment from individuals ... and everybody (including the vast majority of Hacker News I might point out) seems to have a problem with this.
This is not a stupid attitude. Why not ?
Start here: https://www.eff.org/issues/tpp
Actually paying higher taxes is so rare and unknown that it baffles anyone you tell that it's actually allowed and that a few people did it.
But in case you don't know, here's how you're supposed to do it: http://www.fms.treas.gov/faq/moretopics_gifts.html
So, did you pay higher taxes, say, last year, or not ? Or does it "matter to you that others wouldn't be contributing equally" or something along those lines ?
And most of the information I have suggested otherwise.
The problem was that all of the things pertaining to the duties of corporations were optional while things falling on individuals were enforced with the full weight of law.
The people putting together the TPP knew EXACTLY what they were doing and tried to tie together a bunch of unpopular stuff with a bunch of important stuff and ram it all through together.
Given how much effort some of this took to hammer out, they can split the TPP provisions apart and try passing them individually.
The EFF has an entire page on why the TPP was bad. The secrecy was only one part of it. https://www.eff.org/issues/tpp
Some HN headlines related to TPP:
"The Final Leaked TPP Text Is All That We Feared"
"TPP Text Confirms Massive Loss to Canadian Public Domain"
"UN Experts Say TPP and Fast Track Threaten Human Rights"
"TPP could thwart computer security research and tinkering"
I'm going to stop there because people can search the history for themselves. Hate on Trump all you want, but he did the right thing here.
Here's a couple of common criticisms that will easily identify a commenter as having not read the agreement:
"the TPP (or ISDS) allows companies to sue countries for lost profits" (they don't)
"this is a power grab by pharmaceutical companies" (Pharma was second after Tobacco at being upset with the deal)
"it undermines Net Neutrality" (there are specific points allowing net neutrality regulation, NN was an Obama policy plank FFS)
"TPP worsens environmental or labor conditions" (it actually provides minimum standards that will improve these in developing countries specifically around overfishing, trade of endangered animals, and minimum wage. It's why the deal was endorsed by the WWF)
Then again maybe you did read it that way and still found it not that bad. I admit I didn't read it myself, but then again I'm from Europe so it's not my agreement to check. Still I have some faith in the EFF and other organisations which did read it and found it a dangerous agreement. And I really think it's a good thing that it's now harder to negotiate trade agreements in secret. It doesn't matter what the traditional way to negotiate these was, they have a big impact on the countries that implement them, and people deserve more than just a (representative) YES/NO to a huge number of potentially life-changing provisions at once.
It's also worth noting that they were invited to be part of the TPP negotiation process but declined. The agreement itself is not that difficult to read. It's meant to be used as a practical functional document, after all. The one thing that is a little tricky is that carveouts and exceptions to one mechanism or another may be listed in a separate chapter.
You can say that this deal is what's best for them. But whatever harm killing this deal may have done is much less than the harm from letting the elites decide what's best for them without the courtesy of even an explanation.
I think there were a lot of people that voted for Trump simply because the elites told everyone that they had to vote for Clinton. It's a way to remind the government that the people are in charge.
Whatever your viewpoint on the TPP itself, to negate criticism of it as lacking any "logical legs" is intellectually dishonest at best.
The EFF has a long list of reasons to oppose it here: https://www.eff.org/issues/tpp
This is a good fight -- one I applaud and support the EFF for pursuing relentlessly -- but this is just one issue in a gigantic compromise legislation that has to attain broad legislative support inside the US  as well as support from the other signatories, of which there are many.
It was in fact a failure of messaging to not get out ahead of, or in response to these vocal oppositions, as the public's ire was allowed to foment.
 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11893512#11894446  https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/07/world/asia/trans-pacific-...  http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/trade-trans-pacific-pa...  http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/293344-mcconnel...
I think that, with the exception of environmental policy on the part of the poorer counties, I'd prefer the other countries' notiations. (Other than IP I have no evidence though, as others have said it's hard to come by.)
Sure, but at least they made this cartoon to help the plebs see the light:
Actually, one might have some (small) hope that Trump is actually libertarian enough to tone the surveillance state down. Not hoping for much though.
Treaties, free trade treaties foremost among them, are almost never public before the final text is available, because if they were they'd never get that far. Too many interests.
Look, it's a free trade agreement. It says, basically, "no tariffs at all for trade between the signatories". Except of course that every signatory has a list of a thousand "but..." clauses to protect whatever proprietary interests have their ear. So the end results is a big mess of exceptions and clarifications, which is why everyone hates it. There is literally something in there in there that everyone will hate! By design!
I mean, look: it's hardly the most important bill of the decade, and I'm not crying that it failed. But to pretend that this was some collusion of the global illuminati to stick it to the hippies, or white nationalists, or whoever you happen to identify with is just insane.
It's a ?!@#!$ trade treaty, for god's sake.
The TPP was full of provisions that would have made profits higher for corporations and very little that would genuinely protect workers and the environment. This is understandable given that most the voices in the room were representing corporations.
"That's a feature, not a bug. Whence this argument that trade negotiations are somehow different from every single other aspect of good governance? For all other mechanisms of government, everyone agrees that transparency is a vital mechanism for preventing corruption, and that whatever inefficiencies it introduces into the system are a necessary evil. Yet somehow free trade agreements operate on a different set of rules; even though time after time it's been shown that this invites boatloads of the exact corruption that government transparency is meant to combat."
(This argument gets trotted out with such reliability in TPP threads that I can just copy-paste my response from a previous one)
Used to be a lot more compromises made in private, to come up with trade offs both sides could live with but the partisan core supporters would shoot down immediately if they knew. Which leads to our current government, where compromise with the other side of any kind is political suicide.
Yeah, because "coalition governments" have worked so well in countries like Italy. Have they hit the 100 mark yet for number of "coalition governments" formed since WWII?
And the Liberal Democrats made out really well in the "coalition government" that was formed in the UK after the 2010 elections. They went from 57 MPs after 2010 to 8 MPs after 2015. Even Charlie Sheen wouldn't call that "winning".
its ramifications would have affected billions of people just as if it were a new civil and criminal law, that's what was so scary about it. Citizens aren't bound to obey international treaties. That's why we have governments.
This is a complete strawman argument, and lacks rational coherence.
Mind you, 50 years would still be an improvement.
Perhaps we can start again with a much cleaner, people friendly TPP that excludes the US and includes China.
And that's the existing trade deals, TPP would have made it much worse. There is a reason why democratically elected governments need to protect their sovereignty. The scope of the legal provisions along with the requirement to use easily corruptible mediation is superfluous to free trade.
In addition, I don't understand those that think boxing out Russia and China from the rest of Europe and Asia is a good thing.
Buzzword. A nation is always free to enter and leave contracts for mutual benefit.
> In addition, I don't understand those that think boxing out Russia and China from the rest of Europe and Asia is a good thing.
Vastly preferable to being boxed out of Europe and Asia by the aforementioned powers. Don't be naive.
The idea is that if you can connect the economies of small regional powers (Korea, Japan, Vietnam or Poland, Romania, Hungary) more than they're connected to the regional hegemon, and you connect those powers to the US, then you will have a balance of power in the region that makes war impossible.
Instead of pushing to deal with those criticisms, the entire deal gets scrapped. And along with it, we now have an isolationist push against NAFTA and international trade in general. It'll be interesting to see the damage that's wrought in a vain attempt to somehow stack the deck in favor of "America First."
Sadly, it'll take much longer to fix than it did to screw up in the first place.
1. Fix the many problems with TPP, then pass it
2. Scrap TPP entirely
3. Pass TPP as it was
You say "Instead of pushing to deal with those criticisms, the entire deal gets scrapped.", but this is the real FUD. There was a huge outcry to fix TPP's problems-- that got completely ignored by the USTR, which didn't even try to pretend it had the people's interests in mind. If there were any chance that public criticism of TPP actually could have improved it, I would've preferred that solution, but it was made plain from the beginning that that wasn't going to happen and that we were not welcome at the discussion table.
> Sadly, it'll take much longer to fix than it did to screw up in the first place.
Agreed. The first step, and the hardest, will be for the people pushing for trade deals to start giving a shit about anyone other than corporations and billionaires. Reconciliation and public approval of trade deals can come after that
I'm also not saying everything will necessarily be perfectly peachy, because that's also just the same error firing in a different direction as thinking that it's all catastrophe. It's mostly about fiddling around the margins, not massive binary movements. What will really happen is that some things will be better for the US, some things will be worse, and which one you think dominates will depend upon your values.
If it had such incredible benefits, perhaps people should have talked about those. Ideally with quotes of the text, and discussions about the deltas to the current situation. And even then, that's an argument for passing the good provisions, not for accepting a package deal containing numerous downsides. Of course, all of that becomes much harder to do while trying to operate in secret.
1. Geopolitical influence. The Western world, lead by the USA, wants to dictate terms of trade in the Pacific before China can. This means laying the groundwork for the environments that western businesses and investors are comfortable with. US investors would be less likely to invest in Malaysia if Malaysia was instead following China's lead on IP protections.
2. Stabilizing of third world countries. By providing the frameworks mentioned above, third world countries take a few steps towards providing open and inclusive economies, and the benefits of the trade deal ensure that their leaders are less likely to take steps that would sow uncertainty in their own economies. Also countries with trade agreements are far less likely to go to war with each other. This was one of the main benefits of NAFTA with Mexico too.
3. Straight growth benefits. Every country is predicted to get some additional GDP growth, though large and already liberalised countries like the US won't see too much. On the other hand, poorer countries like Vietnam are predicted to get a staggering 11% extra GDP growth. That's amazing, and will lead to vastly reduced poverty in SE Asia.
4. It includes a glorious fuck you to tobacco companies. Seriously, it blocks them from using ISDS at all, and it sent so many lobbyists into a fit when it was released.
I won't claim any kind of expertise on the non-tech-related effects of TPP; I'm not an expert in international trade.
With respect to copyright, patent, and trademarks, however: I really don't care about "investors" who want to make other countries follow more draconian regimes in those areas. There's a happy medium between "zero acknowledgement of foreign copyrights at all" and "ridiculously excessive copyright laws"; ditto for patents and trademarks. TPP just directly exported the US's ludicrously excessive copyright, patent, and trademark laws, complete with DMCA-like provisions and criminal (not just civil) penalties. Those terms at a minimum needed fixing, and I think the people arguing against TPP in its current form on those grounds alone were right to do so.
With some exceptions (biologics) you're right on copyright, and I'd agree. However this only tempers my support of what I consider to be an important geopolitical move.
I'm not well versed in the details of NAFTA but are you contending that one of it's main benefits was preventing a war between the US and Mexico?
The problem was that nobody saw any need to make the case to the people. They thought they were in charge, and the people had to remind them otherwise.
I take issue with the assumption that these two things are either equal or synonymous, and that the latter has or will cause damage. To boil the argument down, national sovereignty is the real issue at hand, and there is plenty of nuance to be had in the discussion. Such flippant dismissal of protectionism as bad and equating it with isolationism reeks of irrationality and a lack of understanding of the bigger geopolitical and geoeconomic picture.
It's a position I see taken very often these days, but it's not one that stands up to scrutiny in my experience. I would like to say I do understand where it comes from though. It's easy to assume protectionism = isolationism, and therefor rejection of any globally focused trade agreement ergo becomes another form of isolationism, and hence from that perspective it makes sense, but even a base line academic analysis would show much more room for nuanced discussion of the subject.
Of course, that's assuming that your goal is debate or discussion conducive to finding truth in the first place, which I suspect isn't the case.
In the previous situation all that agreed with the TPP need do nothing, as it looked sure to pass, so the argument was not worth having for them. The anti-TPP had very few positive actions available to them so it largely fell to writing.
Now the anti-TPP position has prevailed those against the TPP see little reason to debate it, yet those who were for it are left with nothing but writing.
The Australian government has decent chapter summaries too though, I'd encourage reading those:
Chapters you may be interested in:
Investment (the controversial ISDS provisions are in this chapter)
Why the change ?
That's what I would assume. It's hard to tell because right now the Trump administration approach to trade and pretty much everything is solely sloganeering, but the initial actions appear to support the assumptions that Trump is an isolationist and wants to disengage from much of current and future national accords.
I oppose the TPP though not for the reasons given by the Trump administration, who I also oppose, so this exit is bittersweet.
And by not participating, the bad things the US (i.e. Hollywood) wanted don't end up in there. And the bad things other countries wanted won't apply in the US. And the treaties can't be used for domestic policy laundering in the US.
The problem with these deals is that free trade is generally good but these deals aren't free trade. They're not about eliminating restrictions, they're about imposing them. Which we can do perfectly well on our own via our democratically elected governments, if we want to, and not if we don't.
But trade discrimination in 2016 is different than it was in 1948, when the GATT made its debut, or even 1994, when NAFTA came into effect. The process of legislating national standards and regulations that can differ from global ones means that governments can block trade in ways the drafters of GATT could never have even imagined.
Those who believe in a rules-based global economy should cheer rather than condemn the fact that TPP runs thousands of pages. Its complexity reflects the fact that, like KORUS before it, the deal is going after high-hanging fruit. After all, the WTO has already picked the low-hanging fruit by disciplining most tariffs. 
It also seems like a quite impractical protectionist method for any major country, because foreign competitors will suffer an inconvenience complying with the regulation, but in most cases that won't actually keep them out of the country. And then your country's domestic industry will suffer the same inconvenience exporting their product when they have to comply with the conflicting regulations in the other country.
Wasting resources like that is in the interest of no one, but because it's in the interest of no one, you don't need an international agreement about it, you only need the industry to each go to their respective governments with the same proposed standards and argue that they should each adopt the international industry standards because it will make it easier to export domestic products.
And why would a country that didn't agree to that be willing to sign the trade agreement? (If your answer is "some kind of extrademocratic quid pro quo" then you've discovered why these agreements are much hated.)
That's part of the reason people oppose the DAPL and other pipelines, because US (and Canadian) communities are taking on the environmental risks of economic arrangements that benefit the wealthy (Trump was invested in DAPL) and China, with a few pipeline jobs the crumbs to satiate the affected communities.
We were told by the Very Smart People that we had to invade Iraq, because otherwise the Islamists would consolidate control over the region. We invaded, and not only did we not prevent that outcome, we actually caused it.
I didn't even vote for Trump, but the one thing I'll side with him on is that I'm quite sick of being told that we have to take this or that self-destructive action for the sake of defeating the foreign-boogeyman-du-jour.
>We were told by the Very Smart People we had to go into Vietnam, because otherwise Domino Theory assured that the Communists would take over the world. We lost Vietnam, and tens of thousands of lives, and nothing happened.
Please stop trying to dramatize reality. The truth is that withdrawing from a multilateral 'trade' deal has consequences, and those are worth analyzing.
>We were told by the Very Smart People that we had to invade Iraq, because otherwise the Islamists would consolidate control over the region. We invaded, and not only did we not prevent that outcome, we actually caused it.
I don't really understand what you're saying, to be honest - are you talking about the Iraq War, like the one that happened in '03? Do you think that's the reason that was cited, or the motivation of the administration?
>I didn't even vote for Trump, but the one thing I'll side with him on is that I'm quite sick of being told that we have to take this or that self-destructive action for the sake of defeating the foreign-boogeyman-du-jour.
Funnily enough, Trump gave up a great piece of leverage and instead needs to resort to threats ('China wont go into the north china sea', recognizing Taiwan). So the net result in the change in relations is much less effective and much riskier leverage.
This is incorrect. The primary justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein's regime had WMDs, and that his WMD programs were a growing threat to the region and the world. The majority of Americans thought that invading Iraq would increase the terror threat to the US.
1. In a CBS/NYTimes poll, 62% of those polled said that if the US took military action vs. Iraq, the threat of terror would increase. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/poll-talk-first-fight-later/
The people advocating invasion did so on the basis that their WMD program represented a threat to the world. They were obviously full of crap to anyone paying attention at the time.
> We invaded, and not only did we not prevent that outcome, we actually caused it.
Well yeah, who thinks you bring peace with war? There are ways we could have taken over Iraq peacefully, such as making it a protectorate and giving everyone health care (which would have been far cheaper than the war).
In fact, what you're saying is the second half of the traditional "We have to do something, and this is something, so we have to do this." fallacy. "Well, if bombing the the ungrateful fuckers didn't make them love us we're out of here."
No, you've got a lot of shit to fix before you get to quit.
The argument is that a land invasion would have resulted in far more than the 129,000 people killed by the two bombs.
Later it emerged that it was actually the Soviet delcaration of war on the 8th August that was the deciding factor for surrender; the Japanese had stocked around 10,000 aircraft in Manchuria which were now under threat and they couldn't fight a two-front war.
Yes, the two bombs ultimately saved untold thousands lives but that was more accidental than deliberate.
Japanese leadership assumed they could negotiate with the Russians, and therefore still had an out. When this avenue was closed, the Japanese were forced to face the fact that they had lost.
It's somewhat ironic that the Russian army put forth the vast majority of effort and lives that defeated the Germans, yet it was America that reached Berlin first, resulting in Nazi surrender. This was reciprocated in the Pacific theater by the Americans expending the lions share of the effort and lives, yet it was the Russians that forced Japanese surrender.
Although, this is all theory by historians. It still stands to reason that in the moment, the Americans speculated that the use of nuclear weapons would end the war. After all, Truman issued an ultimatim that essentially spelled out what would and did happen if the Japanese did not surrender.
Emperor of Japan directly cited "a new powerful weapon" in a surrender address.
> the Japanese had stocked around 10,000 aircraft in Manchuria
Sources? Why Japan had to stock that number of aircraft so far away from the planned invasion points?
We almost had the regulatory state imposed at an international level. Good riddance.
Having spent a lot of my time since getting out of the military trying to understand the bigger geostrategic picture, I am fairly confident in saying the national sovereignty is one of the most important, and most under-discussed, issues of our time as we progress towards an increasingly global economy. The global economy itself is here, and I am not disputing that the world needs more cooperation on international issues such as global climate change, but far too often I see these arguments being used to then turn around and use those issues to advocate overthrowing the idea of sovereignty, which I find is logically fallacious reasoning, callous, naive, and can only imagine such touting comes from the ivory tower of intellectuals, academics and other insulated peoples who haven't experienced the stark reality of this world when the sovereignty of nation states is violated.
In short, those who call for an end of nationalism fail to understand the proper and right role of sovereignty in the apllication of the rule of law, and in the ability for the people to affect their government.
My question for those who propose national sovereignty as being an outdated concept, I have one question:
What would you propose to replace the nation-state with once you toppled it down?
For me, the optimal outcome is actually as much secession as possible - to a state or county level. With so many options in place, people can self-select into what fits their style and culture. This would be, in my view, a recipe for increased global peace. It is when forced integration is in place that conflict emerges.
I agree about the importance of sovereignty, for the same reasons as Nassim N. Taleb. He says the EU results slightly increases efficiency at the cost of vastly increased complexity and fragility, and therefore weakens the world order and threatens global peace. This isn't the case for the TPP, and it's unlikely that Trump can negotiate something much better economically.
Treaties passed by the legislative branch of the government are laws. Do you believe that your governments executive branch should be bound by the laws of your nation, or not?
The point is a lot of money on the line. Being against TPP is good politics, but it doesn't fly well with those who funded him. I am worried what happened with the ethics office will happen here: they tried it, be blown back by the bad rep it gets, reverse course, then pass rules that limit the ethics office anyway when no ones looking. I have a feeling that Trump is doing this for press now, but a form of the TPP will pass anyway because there is just too much money on the line.
It might temper your confidence to know that most forecasts have routinely been wrong about President Trump.
There's all that "collateral damage" via drone strikes, and then his stepping all over the constitution, nothing to see here folks, move it along.
The loaded gun that Obama left for Trump is what terrifies me the most. Trump has been shown the way on what to do when you want to take out a citizen without due process of law. I am hopeful that all the disdain against Trump will result in a peeling back of these abuses that Obama pioneered, even more so than his predecessor, Mr. Bush.
"Ha ha, Trump didn't do all those awful things that he said he would on the very first day!" Shouldn't that make people who are against Trump happy?
I know, I know, the point is that people who are apparently smart but don't understand the concept of hyperbole can say "LOL Trump lied again, he said he'd do all this stuff on day one but he didn't until day three, you Trump voters got taken for a ride!"
He just stood up in front of the CIA and claimed that he had more people than any Inauguration. In reality, he had less than half. The man has 0 integrity. It's not just one thing, it's everything he says. Hillary had a public and a private position - he's got so many positions his words mean nothing.
Yes, he really does seem to be behind reducing immigration. Yes, I can guess that when he stood up and told Silicon Valley's CEOs he was going to remove the borders and trade restrictions, he was probably lying. But in the end, the details are what matter, and for him to violate every single thing he says in favor of vague wishy-washy nonsense is not someone I can trust as President.
Except he didn't. I watched that press conference. He said he had lots and lots of people. He never said he had more people than Obama. He was calling out CNN because CNN was trying to make it seem like had less than half.
>In reality, he had less than half.
Except we have photos showing he have almost the same as Obama. Around 90% of Obama.
The photo you saw probably came from CNN. CNN posted a photo from earlier in the day, before people started filling it up, and claimed that Trump only had half the people.
Here's a photo closer to the end, showing the crowds goes all the way to the back, almost comparable to Obama.
More seriously, they might not complete on day 1, but many will happen. E.g. your article lists the TPP withdrawl was a broken "day 1" promise. How long did that take? Couldn't have been much more than 24 hours...
Oh yeah, and trump is a liar. That's very well documented - and just a google search away. But I'm not really concerned with if he's a liar or not. I just care about what he ends up doing. I do not suspect I will like it very much - but I would LOVE to be wrong.
More important than ignoring trolls is to combat them with facts so other observers don't get the wrong impression about the topic they troll.
I would love to see more work along the lines of browser extensions that automatically provide a certain amount of factual context/background around articles. This browser extension seems like a great start in that direction.
Which one this commenter was is up to you, but actually responding to trolls makes the problem worse, not better. It's a case where only moderation can really help.
Besides, Hacker News is very clearly a heavily moderated echo chamber and you don't have to spend long here to know it. And there's nothing wrong with that, nobody is obligated to go to places that they don't want to go and this is an interest group with a culture. Accosting people in their interest groups to demand that they debate you is clearly not helpful to anyone.
Is that the only problem?
Of particular note, name-calling is off limits, even if it's of the former President and he's not actually involved in the thread. Among other things, it's a relatively strong signal that productive dialogue is not going to happen. Since we prefer productive dialogue here, we'd appreciate if you'd fill your comments with substance but not name-calling.