by Thomas Freeman
The rapid foreign and domestic policy changes by the Trump administration have hurt American interests at home and abroad. We have withdrawn from a significant trade deal cutting some economic ties with Asia as well as our American partners. At home, Trump has erased an Obama-era protection of transgender people, enraging advocates and possibly endangering transgender people themselves.
Donald Trump is currently in the process of breaking apart the Trans Pacific Pact (TPP) trade deal. Former President Barack Obama treated trade deals as a priority during his tenure, and this particular deal would have bolstered America’s position in the Asia-Pacific region, where China is growing in influence. Donald Trump has disagreed saying it favored big business and claiming it was a horrible trade deal.
But in order to understand the significance of this policy change, it’s important to what the trade is. When it was drafted, President Obama and other world leaders hoped that the TPP would strengthen economic ties between these nations, slashing tariffs and fostering trade to boost growth. Members also hoped to foster a closer relationship on economic policies and regulation.
The TPP was designed so that it could eventually create a new single market, something like that of the EU; but all 12 nations needed to ratify it before it could come into effect. However, the victory of Donald Trump in last year’s Presidential election was the writing on the wall for the TPP.
U.S. participation was the major linchpin for the deal. It may be possible for the other countries to forge a smaller scale pact in its place, but it can’t go ahead in its current form. Those other member states are Japan – the only country to have already ratified the pact – Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru. All taxes would be removed for goods for countries in the agreement.
After the U.S. pulled out of the TPP, China expressed an interest in joining, which would further strengthen their hold in the region and weaken the U.S. significantly. Backing out of this trade deal could be the action that cuts the U.S. out of one of the most rapidly growing economies in the world, potentially weakening America’s future as an economic superpower.
Trump has also removed protection for transgender people using the bathroom of their identity. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended the action as a “state’s rights issue,” adding that Trump believes that individual states and districts should set their own policies. This means that nothing should change in the northern or coastal states but in the states where conservative opposition to transgender rights has been stronger, the rights are in danger. This had led to an uptick in hate crimes with authorities classifying four murders of transgender people on March 1 as hate crimes.
Very simply, after a person either undergoes gender reassignment surgery or otherwise fully commits to one gender, they should use the bathroom that matches their identity. Removing these legal protections puts transgender people in danger.
These new changes have hurt the United States economic future and have added cause for concern for trans people. In order to fix this we need to take the initiative and expand our trading influence in Asia. We must also provide protection to minority groups, such as transgender people, before hate crimes become out of control.