When Obama announced plans to curtail the use of coal over the next 15 years, news outlets rushed to do pieces on the prospective loss of jobs in coal-mining areas. While it is good to see the media paying attention to this job loss and its implications for families and communities, this concern is a striking departure from normal practice.
This leak shows that civil society groups on both sides of the Atlantic have been right all along to be suspicious about what is being negotiated behind closed doors. The expression "No news is good news" clearly does not apply to the transatlantic free trade deal. The more we learn about the ongoing negotiations, the less we like it.
Both men are taking a turn toward nationalism as they confront internal threats to their leadership. Both countries are facing a slowdown in economic growth that has been the cornerstone of popular support over the past decade, and both are seeing increasing public anger over corruption at the highest levels of government.
Obama and Abe have been in negotiations over Japan's treatment of sensitive agricultural products, including rice, beef, pork, wheat, and dairy products, and over trade in automobiles -- but a breakthrough is still out of reach. This lack of progress is just one of several indicators that the TPP is faltering, if not failing.