Meanwhile, suspension of U.S. participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership is potentially good news for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, offering temporary relief from enhanced global competition with the most competitive products and markets in Asia. Although important from a strategic U.S. perspective in Asia and Latin America, TPP nonetheless threatened to divert U.S. trade and investment activities away from the Northern Triangle and others in Central America toward nations like Vietnam and Malaysia.
In all the noise about immigration, it never occurred to most Americans to ask the obvious dumb question: why don’t we promote the economic development of those nations where many of the illegal immigrants come from? Why make everyone who wants to succeed move here? The answer to that is a combination of American exceptionalism on the one side to the needs of employers to the desire to change the composition of the electorate on the other.
But it’s in the best interest of this country for those nations to our immediate south to prosper and not just be the conduits for our voracious appetite for drugs. Hopefully the summit later this month on the subject will move things forward, although I’ve always been sceptical about summits like this as gatherings of people who have never done the deal.
Although promoting economic development elsewhere isn’t a novelty in American policy (the Marshall Plan is the largest example) the self-focused nature of our governing elites has put it out of fashion of late. But if there was a time when fashion needed to be cyclical, it’s this one.