Calling the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) an "economic NATO" seems logical enough, but the comparison should not be taken too far.
The build-up to and launch of TTIP negotiations between the United States and the European Union has led to a flurry of debate and speculation about what the world's largest trade and investment deal could herald. The deal could bring welcome opportunities for economic prosperity in the U.S. and Europe, and the chance to push wider global trade negotiations. It also offers the West a geopolitical tool, and it is this that has attracted deserved but sometimes excited comment.
By uniting the two core parts of the West, TTIP would allow them to engage emerging economic powers which are quickly shaping the global economy. By bringing together 40 percent of the world economy, rules agreed across the Atlantic could then form the core of global rules and norms, shaping the rise of new powers. Some commentators have gone so far as to declare that TTIP could be an 'economic NATO.'
The metaphor seems logical, and in part it is. For more than 50 years the two sides of the North Atlantic have pursued various policies to bind themselves together economically to complement NATO's military bonds. If the U.S. and the Europeans can combine their economic power then, like NATO, they would command the planet's most powerful and transformative economic relationship.
But it pays to be circumspect when making the comparison.