The Washington Post reports: On his third day in office, President Trump signed an executive memorandum withdrawing the United States from a 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade accord that had been painstakingly negotiated over a decade by two of his White House predecessors.
“Everyone knows what that means, right?” Trump asked rhetorically in the Oval Office. It meant, he said, that the country would start winning again in the face of unchecked globalization that had harmed ordinary Americans.
But on the 295th day of his presidency — during a trip to the region where the trade pact was most vital — a competing narrative emerged. Trump’s “America first” slogan has, in many ways, begun to translate into something more akin to “America alone.”
As the president’s motorcade wove up a mountain road Saturday to a regional summit in the Vietnamese city of Danang, news broke that the 11 nations that had once looked to U.S. leadership to seal the deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership had moved on without the United States and announced a tentative agreement among themselves.
It marked a stunning turnabout that foreign-policy analysts warned could further erode U.S. standing at a time when China is embarked on a major economic expansion and further undermine global confidence in the United States’ ability to organize the world around its own liberal values. [Continue reading…]