Faced with the decline of American hegemony, what are the United States’ trade and security partners in the Asia-Pacific doing to protect their respective national interests? To answer this question, we look closely at Australia, Japan, and Vietnam. Each of these was a signatory to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, from which the United States withdrew in 2017. They have all subsequently gone on to sign the successor to TPP, the Comprehensive Trade Partnership Agreement (CPTPP), also known as TPP-11.
While each has its unique political and economic history, the three countries share security and economic concerns, as well as reasons to be worried by the inconsistencies in American foreign policy. Motivated by rational self-interest, each country is proactively taking steps to protect its own position in the regional and international system.