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Trump versus Kim
Trump's unscrupulous negotiating tactics could make a bad situation worse
By Ray Cunneff
March 9, 2018
Just as he did by abruptly announcing tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, Donald Trump breaking with decades of foreign policy precedent by agreeing to in-person talks with North Korea's Kim Jong Un is nothing more than Trump's impulsive need for self-aggrandizement (and distraction).
Both were done without consultation, research, policy review, or any sort of preparation of allies or even communication within his own administration. In reality TV, this is called "flip the script".
Trump's much-touted "unpredictability" is more reminiscent of reckless "cult of personality" attempts to distract from the mounting evidence of a treasonous, corrupt conspiracy with Russian interests, both political and financial, at the expense of American democratic institutions and vital national interests.
What makes this face-to-face meeting between Trump and Kim so dangerous are Trump's deeply ingrained negotiating tactics.
It's all in Tony Schwartz's ghostwritten Trump manifesto, "The Art of the Deal".
Trump has always negotiated on a bait-and-switch principle that depends entirely on several assumptions that have historically proven false.
The widely-cultivated belief that everyone wants to do business with Trump.
The mystique that the payoff for doing business with Trump is prestige, power and enormous profit.
The mythology that the Trump "brand" is a guarantee for success.
That Trump's primary leverage in any deal is his threat of walking away if his demands are not met.
Trump's deals are always structured on unrealistic expectations.
Anything less than immediate, enormous success collapses into failure.
His "last money in, first money out" contractual demands leave partners to absorb most of the losses.
The history of Trump blaming others for failure to deliver and then refusing to honor his contractual obligaions.
Trump may have gotten away with these unscrupulous tactics in business, but in negotiations with a rogue nuclear nation they are potentially catastrophic.