Donald Trump has dropped his first official policy bombshell with his intention to leave the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal on his first day in office.
His video announcement did not come as much of a shock and looks more like widow-dressing than any positive policy decision.
The move grabs headlines and looks like America is shifting away from traditional trading partners on an isolationist course.
But as with most things politics, looking beyond the smoke and mirrors reveals nothing has changed.
The TPP was heralded as a plan to bolster the US interest in the Asia rim against intrusion from China.
Trump stalling over policy announcements
The agreement was signed by 12 countries – Japan, the US, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Together, they account for 40% of the world economy.
Leaving looks like a poor decision, but although agreement in principle was reached last year, no country has ratified the treaty.
The TPP has been a talking shop without any result to date. The governments wanted to drop tariffs to make trade cheaper but also wanted to sweep away regulation in favour of new workplace and climate control rules and safeguards to protect big companies from copyright and patent breaches rife among cheap Asian ‘knock off’ manufacturers.
Behind the scenes, the wrangling is still going on and all Trump has done is call a halt to the talks.
Trump is looking more like a Brexit leave campaigner more than anything. Brexit politicians clearly had no plan to spring into place if they won the referendum, and Trump seems to have no policies now he has won the Whitehouse.
The TPP move is just a space filler to give him time to think.
Focus on winning not government
The political treadmill now seems to place focus on winning power for candidates who then have no idea what comes next.
Trump talks about taking control of the US economy and safeguarding jobs but has yet to demonstrate just how he will accomplish this.
Trump did come up with some other measures in his first day plan.
He is cancelling restrictions on output from coal-fired power stations, but this is already on the back burner waiting for the settlement of a legal challenge, so again he has announced a policy that is meaningless.
He also pledged to make people leaving government wait five years before becoming lobbyists; an inquiry into if granting visas to foreign workers is costing American jobs and setting up a cyber-attack task force.