In which I Agree with James Stavridis

There are many reasons to support the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. One such reason is that Vladimir Putin cannot stand the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership:

President Barack Obama recently spent some quality time with leaders of Asian nations at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing and again at the G20 Leaders summit, where he continued honing trade and diplomatic ties, and made another push for the long-delayed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. He also held several tense sideline meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin without any discernable reduction in the gridlock over Ukraine.

Flying under the international radar is one of the most potentially important agreements ever negotiated across the broad Atlantic: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), also known as the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). It is a big basket of agreed-upon rules and regulations that would make the United States and much of Europe a free trade zone, perhaps increasing overall trade by as much as 50 percent, according to the European Commission and the White House.

Guess what? Putin hates it.

It’s not hard to figure out why: it would more tightly bind Europe to the United States, thus hurting Russian leverage. The TTIP is a sensible agreement on economic grounds, broadly speaking. But it also holds enormous real value in the geopolitical sphere. The increased linkages between the United States and our European allies and partners will stand in direct opposition to Putin’s key strategy of driving a wedge between the United States and the EU as the central members of the transatlantic community.

There is very little not to like about TTIP, as Stavridis writes. Here’s hoping that the negotiations get concluded, that it receives the necessary congressional authorization, and that the Obama administration is actually able to use it to curb Russian hegemonic ambitions.

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