US Losing Its Capability To Be Benign Hegemon
The Political Economy of the Trans Pacific Partnership
In the post–World War II era, one of the United States’ greatest advantages has been that other countries have generally regarded it, despite its lapses, as a benign hegemon—especially compared with how they saw the old European colonial powers or the Soviet Union. A pillar of that benign posture was the United States’ willingness to pursue trade liberalization with its partners, enabled by a belief on the part of U.S. leaders that the country benefited, both economically and politically, when its allies became prosperous and stable. As this attitude was shared by business and labor leaders, Washington was able to persuade domestic interest groups—even those with legitimate worries about trade—to compromise in pursuit of the broader national interest.
That is no longer the case. Both the Democrats and Republicans have turned against open trade. On many fronts, Joseph Biden is continuing the trade policies of Donald Trump. The way the US negotiated the Trans Pacific Partnership, as well as its reception on Capitol Hill, marked a sea change in America’s postwar stance.
For detail, see this essay in Foreign Affairs.