“Indeed, as the renegotiations of NAFTA and KORUS suggest, the US is pursuing a “20th century” approach to trade, using its considerable leverage to force markets open and increase its advantages at all costs. Any potential American re-engagement with the TPP thus seems likely to undermine its “21st century” provisions and increase the unilateral benefits to Washington.”
Not all negotiated agreements are purely transactional or pragmatic in nature. Some agreements also try to be aspirational — they set lofty goals and values for all involved, and the principles behind the agreement may be considered vastly more important than any individual outcome.
If you gain a reputation as a self-interested actor, you may find yourself locked out of these aspirational deals.
Even if you could contribute value to the agreement, and even if every single other party would be better off with your involvement… the simple suspicion that you will undermine the integrity or intent of the agreement may be enough to sideline you permanently.
When guarding your reputation, try to move beyond considerations of ‘greedy’ versus ‘selfless’, or ‘cooperative’ versus ‘stubborn’. Think also in terms of what values you are aligning yourself with, and whether you can bear being locked out of agreements based on oppositional values in the future.
With thanks to: The Lowy Institute