The Road to War: The Trans-Pacific Partnership

In a continuation of my Road to War series, I turn to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal recently struck (but not yet ratified and executed) by the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.  Much has been written about how this deal will (or will not) benefit the participants, but that is not the focus of this post.  Instead, we turn to the strategic aspect of the TTP, and try to answer the question: is the TPP intended to contain China, or is it simply the extension of the Washington Consensus that drives the world towards greater openness and trade.

Turning Point for China’s Economy?

Uh oh.  Have we finally reached the turning point for China's economy?  Per Caixin:

 

(Beijing) – China's services sector continued to expand in December, albeit with less strength than in previous months, according to the latest Caixin China Services Purchasing Manager's Index.

December's index of 50.2 pointed to nationwide expansion for service business in general, even though the figure was down from 51.2 in November. It was also the second-lowest figure for the sector since record-keeping began in November 2005. The weakest services PMI ever recorded was 50 in July 2014.

Turkey’s Foreign Policy

As I am posting this from a mobile phone, apologies for the unpolished nature of this post.  I would like to articulate some thoughts I have had about Turkey’s foreign policy to try to explain its seemingly insane decision to shoot down a Russian jet which had marginally violated its airspace for 17 seconds.

What is China’s Grand Strategy?

What is China's Grand Strategy?  

 

What connects China's push to internationalize the RMB, set up new global institutions to compete with the post-WWII order set up by the United States, and China's militarization of the South China Sea?  I've revisited an old discussion in the forms debating the death of the American superpower, and wondering how it might be achieving by a rising China.

Chinese Views of America

Reading through this study by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is rather disturbing.  The authors strain to extract neutral or even optimistic conclusions, but it's difficult for me to get past this table early on in the study, concerning Chinese perceptions of Americans and themselves along a range of attributes (click on the images to enlarge):

CE_ChinesePerceptions

In short, a majority of Chinese citizens believe Americans are dishonest, selfish, greedy, intolerant, aggressive, arrogant, rude, and violent.  Only slight majorities are willing to concede that Americans are hardworking or sophisticated, implying that nearly half of the Chinese population believes that the American people are lazy and unsophisticated.