The Trouble(s) with ‘Sovereignty’

Staffers adjust U.S. and Chinese flags before the opening session of trade negotiations in Beijing, China, February 14, 2019. (Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via Reuters)
The concept exists both in principle and in practice, and Washington has embraced the former at the expense of the latter.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE S ome of the more intelligent observers in the United States have begun to understand that the United States committed itself to a serious blunder when the Trump administration torpedoed the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (National Review has an excellent editorial on the subject.) The decision was a poor one, and the rationale — sovereignty — is complicated.

Though never framed in such terms explicitly, the TPP represented a U.S.-led Asia-Pacific bloc to counter the influence of an ever-more-masterful China. The United States has vacated the field, but that does not leave the field vacant, and so instead of a Washington-led counter-China bloc in