A worker uses a blow torch to break up parts of a ship brought to shore for scrap metal near Tanjung Priok port in North Jakarta December 3, 2015. 
Darren Whiteside / Reuters

The rebalance to Asia undertaken by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is perhaps the most important Western initiative in the region since U.S. President Richard Nixon went to China in the early 1970s. A linchpin for this strategy is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a sweeping trade agreement that has been tasked with three main objectives: to bring the United States closer to Asia’s sizable economic markets, to establish the world’s largest free trade zone, and to challenge China’s dominance in the Pacific Rim.

After the agreement’s actual text was released in November,

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