Congress did not give Obama the power he requested to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It refused to concede Fast Track Authority (FTA), the high-speed preferential avenue that would have given him greater negotiating leverage and restricted Congress to a final yes or no vote, therefore devoid of amendments and stipulations. The Democratic Party, guided by the ex-Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, essentially defeated the White House. Despite pressure from the White House, Pelosi used byzantine procedures to blow up a previous agreement that has greatly postponed the ratification process. It will probably not happen before the end of Obama’s second and last term in January 2017. Therefore, an architrave of US foreign policy has been stricken, an agreement that would have facilitated trade and investment between the US and 11 other countries bordering the Pacific such as Japan, Australia, Canada, and Mexico, who account for 40% of the global GDP. China, India, and South Korea are missing from the roll call, but they could have joined afterwards. It’s likely that the negative consequences will extend to another treaty involving the US and the European Union, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Therefore, Obama’s ambition to be remembered as the president that opened trade and dialogue with both shores of the oceans flanking the US remains in serious doubt. The rejection calls into discussion the theoretical and practical framework that has distinguished foreign policy in the Pacific for the last 70 years, which hinged on two elements. The first was of a political and military nature. It was necessary to help allies in the fight against soviet and Chinese expansion. IT was not opportune to skimp on aid to friendly countries like Japan, the Asian Tigers, and Indonesia. Transferring technology, opening the US market, the freedom to undervalue Asian currencies, and assistance loans were the reward for accepting the US’ ideological and military camps. Washington has always tried to keep conflicts far away from its borders—even those directly involving the US. US assistance was conspicuous and compensated with loyalty and military bases. The other element has a more complex nature, with a strong cultural vein. The conviction that the US is a singular country inhabited by a lucky people was and is still strong, something we call “American exceptionalism.” This special circumstance has made the rapport with friendly countries easier: they would have been grateful and in any case not capable, albeit aided, of reaching the American dream. In any case, this route has proven insidious. The Asian allies are increasingly independent, the ideal barriers have vanished, and Beijing’s emergence has called the liberal approach that found its ideal delocalization in China into question. Therefore, the TPP also represented an effort on behalf of the US to re-impose its struggling hegemony on the Pacific, dictating the rules for commercial and investment transactions. Unfortunately, the debate in the US over free trade agreements, de-industrialization, the role of finance, and the fate of laborers is strong. In reality, preceding experiences did not militate in favor of the choices that were made, at least in terms of employment. New jobs were not created by the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or by China’s accession to the WTO. The actual liberal institution has produced ambivalent results. Supported by all the administrations from Clinton to Obama, it has preserved the US’ global supremacy but at the cost of social tensions that are rebelling with force today. The White House is under scrutiny because the TPP intends to favor the economy’s big players: the most powerful firms, the companies managing big data in Silicon Valley, banks, Wall Street, and chemical and pharmaceutical companies tied to exclusive protections of their patents. They will be the ones to reap the most benefits from a bicontinental agreement that reduces tariffs and constraints, embittering regulations, and leaving the single market that will be created at the mercy of their control and exclusive interests. Obama is accused of being allied with this position by his party’s left. In an unusual alliance, the Republicans—excluding the most liberal section—did not miss an occasion to weaken the presidency, uniting their voices with the traditional chorus of isolationism. Therefore, a patchwork of force is opposed: the unions fearful of losing contractual power, workers that don’t want to see their factories close, environmentalists seeing dangerous polluters, and supporters of human rights fearing constant violations outside of democracies. These positions have gained strength and influenced Congress’ choices. Elected officials are more careful of their electorates, where the principal preoccupations are classic: employment, mortgages, and university educations for their children. For the first and perhaps not the last time, the province has prevailed over big corporations, finance, and New York’s technology. It’s a lesson for Obama, who probably trusted his intellectual elites and the flattery of deregulation, forgetting about the suffering middle class by accident, which ushered him into the White House with its votes.