Trump Negotiates

Because Donald Trump does not provide reliable readouts of his meetings with Kim Jong Un, we must stitch together bits of information as they trickle out. There’s enough now to provide a picture of Trump’s negotiating style.

Jessica Tuchman Matthews summarizes that style in an excellent overview of the Hanoi meeting between Trump and Kim.

Shortly after the success of The Art of the Deal (1987) made Donald Trump a supposed expert on negotiation, he lobbied the George H.W. Bush administration to put him in charge of arms reduction talks with the Soviet Union. The position went instead to Richard Burt, an experienced diplomat and arms control expert. When the two men met at a New York social event, Trump pulled Burt aside to tell him what he would have done—and what Burt should do—to start off the negotiations. Greet the Soviets warmly, he said. Let the delegation get seated and open their papers. Then stand up, put your knuckles on the table, lean over, say “Fuck you,” and walk out of the room.

…Trump thinks that what works is the unexpected. His goal is to put people off balance, which allows him, he believes, to get his way. This explains his otherwise baffling calls for US policy to be “unpredictable.”

After the breakdown of the Hanoi summit, the United States and North Korea provided conflicting reports on the reasons for the breakdown. It appeared that one side or both asked for too much. The amount of time the two leaders spent together suggested that rejection had been rapid, with no effort at working through alternatives.

We now learn that

…Trump handed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a piece of paper that included a blunt call for the transfer of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and bomb fuel to the United States, according to the document seen by Reuters.

This is consistent with statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about North Korea’s obligations and by John Bolton about the “Libya Model” for North Korean denuclearization.

There has been a gulf between North Korea and the United States on the meaning of the word “denuclearization.” North Korea has long used it to indicate a state in which nuclear weapons and their threat have been removed from all of the Korean Peninsula and its environs. That includes American promises of nuclear defense to Japan and South Korea. The use of the word by the Trump administration means unilateral nuclear disarmament by North Korea.

The Trump administration seems to have made denuclearization a condition for any concessions at all on the American side. The North Koreans know well that their nuclear capability is the basis of any leverage they have.

Libya gave up its nuclear program, which mostly hadn’t ever been uncrated, and centrifuges and other equipment – no bombs – were sent to the United States. That is the model that Bolton has insisted on for North Korea, which has full manufacturing capability for bombs and missiles in several locations. To North Korea, the lesson of Libya is that giving up nuclear leverage means a vulnerability to American attack.

The United States has put this plan forward earlier, and North Korea has rejected it. To put it forth again, with no changes in American concessions, is insulting to North Korea.

In what may have been an attempt to walk back the excessive demand, or perhaps to provide more unpredictability, Trump tweeted

He apparently did this without the knowledge of any of his team. There was confusion for a while about which sanctions he was referring to, but the best information seems to be that they were sanctions that Bolton had earlier praised and had already been announced. It appears that Bolton’s approving tweet has been deleted. Revoking those sanctions would undercut Trump’s stated position of maximum pressure on North Korea. The sanctions seem to have remained in place.

Trump believes that international negotiations can be won with a show of force and bluster. He is ignorant of the substance that must go into a negotiation with North Korea and unwilling to depend on the experts. He believes that a “deal” can be arrived at like a real estate deal – one of the parties decides to give in and agree to terms.

That isn’t how this sort of negotiation is done, however. A million questions must be answered. In the unlikely event that North Korea were to give up its nuclear weapons program, those questions would include

  • How many bombs and missiles does North Korea have?
  • Where are they located?
  • Who would confirm that information?
  • Where would they go?
  • Who would take them there?
  • How can both sides be sure that is what would happen?

And many sub-questions on timing, modes of transport for both people and materiel. On the American side, there are the questions of how sanctions would be lifted and so on. No country gives up an advantage for nothing.

Trump’s arrogance and ignorance allow him to be manipulated by those he negotiates with and those around him. He proclaimed the first meeting with Kim a success and that there was no longer a nuclear danger from North Korea. Kim probably understood that the photo ops and television ratings were enough for Trump. But now Kim expects reciprocity for his actions, as any negotiator would.

The request for all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program probably comes from Bolton, who has pushed the Libya scenario. His plan B is probably war. Trump’s desire for a big, instant solution probably made the demand seem plausible to him.

Trump seems not to learn from his mistakes. His idea of negotiation has little to do with how international agreements actually are negotiated.

Look at that top photo. That’s the man whom Trump expects to give up his nuclear arsenal.

 

Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner.

 

99 replies
  1. 1
    Dan B says:

    It also seems that Trump does not comprehend that we are negotiating with the PRC. North Korea is a good troublemaker for them in the region. China may be uncomfortable with the nukes but they could overwhelm North Korea in a few hours.

  2. 2
    Dan B says:

    I also wonder how many of the people in the stands are on Chinese, or Russian, payrolls.

  3. 3
    wvng says:

    I am reminded of McCain’s idea of how to resolve sectarian issues in Iraq, specifically, get everyone in a room and yell “cut the bullshit. ” Trump is somehow less sophisticated than that.

  4. 4
    Lapassionara says:

    When will this nightmare end?

  5. 5
    Emma says:

    Has anyone noticed how Trump and May resemble each other in this? They seem to believe people will just get out of their way and do as they’re told. And they keep doing it over and over again. They learn nothing.

  6. 6
    B.B.A. says:

    @Lapassionara: Noon, January 20, 2021, if and only if we work hard until then.

  7. 7
    RepubAnon says:

    Of all Trump’s many problems, the one most relevant to his negotiation failures is that he’s used to “one-and-done” deals. In all his real estate deals, there was little if any prospect for repeat business. Thus, he could try these tricks and tactics.

    It doesn’t work in negotiations with other countries, except for accepting an unconditional surrender. You’re going to be negotiating with the same folks over and over again. This means one needs to build a relationship and establish trust. Trump’s clever little tricks only work for someone desperate for a deal. Otherwise, all they do is cause the other side to question why they’re bothering to talk with you.

    I expect Russia and China will start quietly ignoring the sanctions soon, using Trump’s tactics as an excuse.

  8. 8
    SFAW says:

    Well, I know I’ll sleep better tonight, knowing that the entity “negotiating” with NK is a moronic toddler in the body of a 70-plus-years-old obese, traitorous, fascistic piece of shit. Because, really, how bad could he fuck things up? It’s not like it would be the end of the world.

    I hope.

  9. 9
    Lapassionara says:

    @B.B.A.: I hear you. I read somewhere recently that Trump wants to do just one campaign event in a day, as he gets tired. Maybe this will help the good side win.

  10. 10
    SFAW says:

    @RepubAnon:

    This means one needs to build a relationship and establish trust.

    The Traitor-in-Chief thinks [sic] “trust” is for suckers.

  11. 11
    mrmoshpotato says:

    Fuck you to the 77000 assholes who had to feel “pure” about their vote. I hope they’re happy with themselves.

  12. 12
    MattF says:

    @Emma: There’s a level of stupidity in both governments that’s hard to comprehend, until you’ve seen it with your own lyin’ eyes.

  13. 13
    randy khan says:

    Trump is used to negotiating when he has more leverage than the other side. He really doesn’t know what to do when the other side can walk away. We’ve seen it again and again – just this year with North Korea and the budget negotiations, where he never really had any position other than where he started and had no idea what to do when his initial offer was rejected.

  14. 14
    J R in WV says:

    Trump:

    Greet the Soviets warmly, he said. Let the delegation get seated and open their papers. Then stand up, put your knuckles on the table, lean over, say “Fuck you,” and walk out of the room.

    What a charmer. I would never meet with that fucker again. I wonder if that’s what went down in Hanoi?

    I note a new headline on the news page: Trump Directs State Department to cut off all aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras! Another Fuck You to countries we have urgent problems with. I suppose this is Trump’s way of asking them to stop migration of their refugees north to the USA.

    Will work like his meeting with Kin Jung Un. Not.

    What’s up with Brexit?

  15. 15

    Libya gave up its nuclear program…………………. That is the model that Bolton has insisted on for North Korea

    Hey, it worked out great for Gaddafi!

  16. 16
    Ohio Mom says:

    This is one example why I wish the Democratic contenders would start talking about foreign relations. It’s a really important part of the presidency and argueably the area in which the next president will have to do the most cleaning up.

  17. 17

    @Emma:

    Has anyone noticed how Trump and May resemble each other

    For a minute, I thought you meant physically. I did feel that was a little unfair to May. But once I realized you meant boneheaded to the point of being unable to learn, yeah. They make the same stupid move over and over.

  18. 18
    Lapassionara says:

    @Ohio Mom: I agree. What a mess Trump is making in this part of his job.

  19. 19
    sukabi says:

    @wvng: that entire strategy is based on the person being the ONLY person with authority…like a parent.

  20. 20
    Duane says:

    What’s equally crazy is the right-wing klan thinks crazy is good. If Trumpov dropped a nuke on NK his supporters would cheer.

  21. 21
    J R in WV says:

    @J R in WV:

    Now I have another insight to Trump’s “negotiating” behavior — it’s the behavior of an abuser, who comes home, doesn’t like dinner, and slaps their mate around, telling them not to make that mistake again. Over and over again, and more violently as the condition persists. Starting with “stand up, put your knuckles on the table, lean over, say “Fuck you,” and walk out!”

    When that person, the abuser, is President of the U.S. — well, it doesn’t bode well, because most of us will not respond well to that kind of “leadership” in the national family. I believe that’s the root of his “rallies” as well, the threatening and blustering stage, before actually launching a physical attack.

    Fortunately, I doubt he can actually direct government agencies to attack his political enemies. I certainly hope not! Although previous Republican-Fascist administrations have used the DOJ to attack successful Democratic politicians, particularly during W. Bush’s misrule.

    I was driving most of the day running errands, and listened to the Real Jazz channel, where I heard Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughn and many other smooth swinging jazz greats. It helped me through a strenuous afternoon.

  22. 22

    @Ohio Mom: Thing is, I don’t know how much cleaning in up is even possible, after this. What reason does anybody have to trust us ever again when we can turn around and elect a clown like Trump who will go back on anything we can negotiate?

  23. 23
    rk says:

    @Emma:

    Has anyone noticed how Trump and May resemble each other in this? They seem to believe people will just get out of their way and do as they’re told. And they keep doing it over and over again. They learn nothing.

    Between Trump and Theresa May I’m beginning to think May is a bit more stupid. But I could be wrong. Could Trump have done a worse job on Brexit? Not sure how he could have made it worse. Maybe he’d have made up all sorts of dumb names for leaders of EU countries, but that’s probably the only thing missing in the Brexit debacle.

  24. 24
    gene108 says:

    He believes that a “deal” can be arrived at like a real estate deal – one of the parties decides to give in and agree to terms.

    I don’t think that’s how business negotiations work. Just from my experience, though I have no experience with real estate.

  25. 25

    […] Cross-posted to Balloon Juice. […]

  26. 26
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @J R in WV:

    Starting with “stand up, put your knuckles on the table, lean over, say “Fuck you,” and walk out!”

    The hilarious thing (from a logic standpoint) is doing that at the beginning. What negotiations start with refusing to negotiate?

    What a f’ing clod!

  27. 27
    B.B.A. says:

    @rk: Trump would have proudly gone over the hard Brexit cliff.

  28. 28
    Ruckus says:

    Cheryl Rofer
    Trump has no idea about anything but bluster. And bluster hasn’t always gotten him what he wants as you say, except when someone is trying to get rid of a problem. And because Trump and reality are in 2 different time zones he’s managed to purchase several different problems masquerading as reasonable properties for cheap. And he thinks that makes him a master negotiator. Because he’s incapable of actual learning. Especially about himself. He’s the guy who not only thinks he’s better he thinks he’s perfection. There is nothing to learn, he knows it all and knows it better than anyone else. He doesn’t need to read, to discover, to learn. He’s perfection. In that warped shithole of a mind. What amazes him, and pisses him off, is that not everyone else sees that as clearly as he does.

  29. 29
    gene108 says:

    @John Revolta:

    It’s not Trump. It’s any Republican. All 16 of the 2016 candidates said they would get us out of the Iran deal on day one. The rest may not have been as hostile to NATO, but the Republican Party has rejected any sort of multilateralism and wants the world to bow down to us.

    Any good a Democratic President(s) does, the world now knows, will be undone by any subsequent Republican.

    GWB got us out of Clinton’s Agreed Framework, with North Korea, which led them to restart their nuclear program.

  30. 30
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @B.B.A.: He probably would’ve made it worse for Britain too by doing something like seizing all the country’s livestock and giving it to the EU.

  31. 31
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Emma:

    I’m guessing that, in both of their experiences, most people do eventually back down, becasue they get tired of dealing with the narcissist’s bullshit and walk away.

    Neither Trump nor May knows what to do if someone decides not to back down. It flummoxes them.

  32. 32

    @gene108: I agree that business negotiations by people acting in good faith will usually involve a certain amount of back and forth. I suspect that Trump has carried out his business deals the way he describes and has had some success in them for various reasons given by others in this thread. Or he walks away. Or his underlings do the negotiating and give him all the credit. In any case, he has no concept of negotiating where the other side has significant power or the relationship continues. He burned every bank he ever borrowed from, except for Deutsche Bank, which for some unknown reason kept lending him money.

  33. 33
    trollhattan says:

    Telling that you couldn’t fit a sliver between those two, so similar are they in their concept of “leadership.’

    North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un reportedly ‘purged’ his personal photographer, referred to only as ‘Ri,’ after he violated two rules related to photographing the dictator and briefly blocked a crowd’s view of him. In addition to being fired from his role as photographer, Ri was allegedly banned from the Workers’ Party of Korea.

    News of the event first surfaced from Daily NK, a Seoul-based news website from Unification Media Group. The report claims Ri was punished for causing damage to Kim Jong-un’s ‘Supreme Dignity’ while photographing him on March 10 in the No. 10 election district.

    In addition to blocking his neck from view with a camera flash, Ri allegedly violated two rules that barred photographers from capturing images and video directly in front of and within 2m / 6.5ft of Kim. The Korean Art Film Studio under which Ri had worked (and from which he was subsequently fired) edited the video to delete the scene featuring Ri and the ‘damages’ it caused to Kim’s ‘Supreme Dignity.’

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:

    Trump seems not to learn from his mistakes. His idea of negotiation has little to do with how international agreements actually are negotiated.

    Trump does not believe that he makes mistakes.

    Trump and his supporters think that diplomacy is a lot of unnecessary prissy rules, a game played by effeminate intellectuals. This belief makes it easy for Trump to neutralize State Department experts and staff.

    People like Bolton believe that the US should simply express its will and force everyone else to just accept it.

    You are not going to get anything substantial from these people.

  35. 35
    trollhattan says:

    Could Trump have done a worse job on Brexit? Not sure how he could have made it worse.

    Dunno, guessing May probably at least went to class while in school. Regardless, it’s best to presume Donny will find a worse way to do anything. If he ever says “hold my beer” just run.

  36. 36
    rikyrah says:

    @Emma:
    Absolutely nothing 😠😠

  37. 37
    Ruckus says:

    @gene108:
    Real estate is like every other segment. With one small exception. Someone wants what you are selling. And in most cases there is a catch, location. So if you have a multistory building in say NYC or Chicago that you want to get rid of and everyone else knows that it’s a shithole, selling it is going to be a problem. Well….. There is always someone who wants a deal. Trump is often that person. He buys shitholes, a little gold spray paint and a big T on the side and he’s got a gold mine. Which one of his properties is it that faces a river front in a very expensive area and has no renters on the ground floor, it’s empty and he can’t find a leasing agent? But it’s a great property and was a great deal! Trump is a bullshitter and not actually all that good at it or he’d be worth what he claims. As a politician he’s a racist bullshitter and racists like that in a person. Their entire lives are built on bullshit.

  38. 38

    @J R in WV:

    it’s the behavior of an abuser

    That is what immediately struck me. That kind of random bullshit is exactly what abusers do, because they get off on hurting people, because they get off on not having to restrain their impulses, and because it maintains their power over their victims. This displays both what an incredible asshole Trump is, and that he doesn’t understand situations where he doesn’t have overwhelming power over the other person.

  39. 39
    Ruckus says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    except for Deutsche Bank, which for some unknown reason kept lending him money.

    Isn’t that one branch of DB, which also has a number of Russian mucky mucks as customers? Not sure but I smell a possible conflict of interests.

  40. 40
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Ruckus: That would be Dump Tower in Chicago. Damn thing’s an eyesore.

  41. 41

    @Ruckus: One of the House committees, I think Elijah Cummings’s, has asked for Deutsche Bank’s records.

  42. 42
    Brachiator says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    it’s the behavior of an abuser

    That is what immediately struck me. That kind of random bullshit is exactly what abusers do, because they get off on hurting people, because they get off on not having to restrain their impulses, and because it maintains their power over their victims. This displays both what an incredible asshole Trump is, and that he doesn’t understand situations where he doesn’t have overwhelming power over the other person.

    I don’t see how this explains Trump’s actions toward Russia, Israel or North Korea.

    Even though Trump abandoned the North Korea talks, he still kissed the North Korea leader’s ass.

  43. 43
    Ruckus says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    And I thought I read/heard that headquarters was more than willing to oblige.
    I’m thinking rogue branch, lots of money flowing through, so headquarters doesn’t mind, till they find out that where/what the money is moving from – to, and what that means for the overall company.

  44. 44
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:
    Trump recognizes his betters in what he does? And that they do it way better than he ever could.

  45. 45

    @Brachiator:

    I don’t see how this explains Trump’s actions toward Russia, Israel or North Korea.

    Because he thinks evil despots like Putin and Kim are the cool kids and wants to be part of their club, and because when he thinks of Israel he thinks of them killing brown people.

  46. 46
    PJ says:

    @Ruckus: Deutsche Bank has been fined millions for laundering billions for the Russians, and I don’t doubt they saw Trump as a way to help with that (and were perhaps being ordered to do it by their Russian clients). Josef Ackermann, who was CEO of DB at the time, was subsequently handpicked by Wilbur Ross, our Secretary of Commerce, to run the Bank of Cyprus, which is a notorious banking haven for Russian oligarchs.

  47. 47
    Jeffro says:

    Can only imagine the rhetoric of the GOP if a Democratic president was risking our national security…our actual lives…like this.

    It’ll all be unthinkable until it happens…

  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator: He’s what is referred to as a double A authoritarian. Where he can dominate he does. Where he cannot he positions himself as the first among lickspittles. Bolton is the same way, which is why he was described, by one of his professional peers at his nomination hearing to be US ambassador to the UN, as being a kiss up and kick down type of person.

  49. 49
    PJ says:

    Cheryl, have you seen this NY Review of Books article about Chernobyl, or read the book by Kate Brown? https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/04/04/chernobyl-syndrome/ The article (and her book) maintain that the damage done by radiation from Chernobyl is far greater than many scientists were willing to admit at the time.

  50. 50
    Leto says:

    The tag “All we want is life beyond thunderdome” needs to be replaced because it doesn’t encapsulate where we’re at: “All we want is life beyond Trumpdome”. Seems more appropriate.

    @PJ: Maddow covered the Bank of Cypress quite a bit in 2017. I could’ve sworn that Mueller was looking into them for potential money laundering issues related to Trumpov. I have seen an update on BoC in a long time (any media format) but I have been curious what their status was in all this bullshit.

  51. 51
    The Dangerman says:

    @B.B.A.:

    Noon, January 20, 2021.

    I believe Michael Cohen about as far as I could piggy back Trump (might be millimeters before the inevitable hernia), but I think he has it right; Trump, if he loses, won’t go easily into that good good night. He’ll claim voter fraud, yada yada yada, declare victory, and then we have a real crisis. I don’t know how it plays out, but it won’t be simple when Trump loses.

    I thought Mueller was going to be the nail in Trump’s ass but I didn’t realize the rules had changed since Ken Starr (and didn’t see Barr coming into the picture). I didn’t think impeachment, it would be a waste of time, but I thought it might mean the Republicans came to their senses (hey, a guy can dream) and nominate someone else. Hah. Yup, put a pointy hat on my head and make me do the Jack Horner thing. Can you make the pie ollalieberry? Thanks in advance.

  52. 52

    @The Dangerman:

    I don’t know how it plays out

    The Secret Service escorts him out of the building and there’s jack shit Trump can do about it. If he tells the military to stop it, they’ll shrug and say “You’re no longer the boss of me.”

  53. 53
    dmsilev says:

    @Ruckus:

    Which one of his properties is it that faces a river front in a very expensive area and has no renters on the ground floor, it’s empty and he can’t find a leasing agent?

    Trump Tower in Chicago. Which is pretty impressive, since it’s about a block away from one of the major high-end foot-traffic retail areas in the city.

  54. 54
    debbie says:

    I wish Bush had let Trump try his hand with Russia. He wouldn’t have lived long enough to become their tool.

    ****

    I don’t know who Charlie Cook of Turning Point is, but his tweet congratulating the decision to end aid to Central America has 32,900 likes, compared to others’ 4,000+. Bots are among us!

  55. 55
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Man, this is really handy. I will be negotiating a collective bargaining agreement next week, and now I have some great new tactics to use!

    Fucking moron.

  56. 56
    RepubAnon says:

    @J R in WV: As Trump threatens to cut off aid to countries that he wants to make a deal with (to show dominance), I expect China will be happy to step in. They’ll say: Unlike the US, China is reliable.

  57. 57
    Brachiator says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Because he thinks evil despots like Putin and Kim are the cool kids and wants to be part of their club, and because when he thinks of Israel he thinks of them killing brown people

    I agree with you here, but this goes beyond the notion of Trump being “like an abuser.”

    @Adam L Silverman:

    He’s what is referred to as a double A authoritarian. Where he can dominate he does. Where he cannot he positions himself as the first among lickspittles.

    Trump has a fetish for authoritarians. I think that something else is going on here.

    Bolton is not a leader. He only succeeds by advising others. But I take your point. Bolton gets off by using others to kick down.

    Did Bolton ever serve in the military?

  58. 58
    B.B.A. says:

    @The Dangerman: In that case: noon, January 20, 2025.

    I think it’s more likely that we just lose 2020 outright than that we unambiguously win and Trump stays President.

  59. 59
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @gene108:

    It’s not Trump. It’s any Republican. All 16 of the 2016 candidates said they would get us out of the Iran deal on day one. The rest may not have been as hostile to NATO, but the Republican Party has rejected any sort of multilateralism and wants the world to bow down to us.

    Any good a Democratic President(s) does, the world now knows, will be undone by any subsequent Republican.

    GWB got us out of Clinton’s Agreed Framework, with North Korea, which led them to restart their nuclear program.

    Can’t our allies do something to disrupt the GOP?

  60. 60
    Ohio Mom says:

    @John Revolta: Eh, not to go Goodwin, the world got over Germany and Japan’s hijinks.

    Maybe this is another argument for a Truth and Reconciliation process, to demonstrate to the rest of the world that we are atoning and starting anew.

    I know, awfully idealistic of me.

  61. 61
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    Eh, not to go Goodwin, the world got over Germany and Japan’s hijinks.

    That’s because there were other players opposed to them to step in and knock them on their collective asses. Who will save us, now? All the other major players are autocracies that seem to want to export their brand of government to the rest of the world

  62. 62
    J R in WV says:

    @Ruckus:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    except for Deutsche Bank, which for some unknown reason kept lending him money.

    Isn’t that one branch of DB, which also has a number of Russian mucky mucks as customers? Not sure but I smell a possible conflict of interests.

    The guy who managed that branch of Deutsche Bank was the son of recently retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, IIRC. I believe he has left Deutsche Bank, perhaps because of throwing hundreds of millions of good $Dollars after bad?

  63. 63
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Steve in the ATL: If there are any tables you can flip before storming out, flip the hell out of them while you’re flipping out, you flippin’ great negotiator you.

  64. 64

    @Brachiator:

    this goes beyond the notion of Trump being “like an abuser.”

    Even abusers aren’t one-note. It’s his overall style, and he has great difficulty approaching or even thinking about the world in any other way. One of the few exceptions are people he thinks are cooler than him, which is a very small club and mostly consists of the most brutal dictators he can find. Even then, he doesn’t actually know what to do in negotiations. His policy with Israel has been erratic, he doesn’t negotiate with Putin, just does what makes Putin happy, and you can see what a clusterfuck the North Korea negotiations are. He’s letting Jared handle the Saudi Arabia graft.

  65. 65
    khead says:

    @J R in WV:

    This is a good post for two reasons. The first reason is that, yes it really sucks because the abuser is the leader of the free world. So you can’t exactly call the cops on him. The second reason is that if it wasn’t for the Smooooooooth Jazz stations in the DMV I am pretty sure I’d be in jail for killing someone in DC/MD traffic back when I had a commute.

  66. 66
    hoodie says:

    Doesn’t sound like a very effective technique where you’re trying to create a long term relationship, and probably isn’t all that effective in one-off deals like real estate sales. Trump’s vaunted negotiation skills appear to consist nothing but a handful of gimmicks. The “unpredictable” gambit can sometimes work with people who don’t know that’s your gimmick but, if they do, you usually get your ass handed to you because your actions become predictable and you have no fallback position because you suck at the details. Trump lost the fortune he inherited from Fred, and was only able to get it back by being a Russian stooge. He’s complete bullshit, and only idiots fall for his nonsense. Unfortunately, this country has a lot of idiots and a lot of corrupt pols who will join Trump in fleecing them.

  67. 67
    Ruckus says:

    @dmsilev:
    Yeah, he’s a great negotiator alright. He’s negotiated himself out of a pretty sizable fortune. And quite possibly into a not as nice jail cell.

  68. 68
    dexwood says:

    – Greet the Soviets warmly, he said. Let the delegation get seated and open their papers. Then stand up, put your knuckles on the table, lean over, say “Fuck you,” and walk out of the room. –

    My dogs came purposely into the kitchen a few minutes ago where I greeted them warmly. Their evening negotiations were under way, noses on my leg nudging me, paws on my thighs, wagging, wagging, wagging. I stood up, put my knuckles on the table, said fuck you, and walked over to their kibble container. I lost again.

  69. 69

    @PJ: I just read the NYRB article. I probably will not read the book by Kate Brown. She wrote another one I did read, Plutopia, which I think missed a number of points and was generally alarmist, as it sounds like her Chernobyl book is.

    It just gets very tiring, seeing how some of this stuff is misrepresented. People fundamentally do not understand radiation and think of it as some kind of evil ghost whose power never wanes and which contaminates everything it touches, increasing the dangers. That’s just not correct.

    The official toll is now between thirty-one and fifty-four deaths from acute radiation poisoning (among plant workers and firefighters), doubled leukemia rates among those exposed to exceptionally high radiation levels during the disaster response, and several thousand cases of thyroid cancer—highly treatable, very rarely fatal—among children.

    That’s from UN agencies. Brown and Pinkham would like to include autoimmune diseases and a number of other things. The immune system is one of today’s big fad concerns, partly because research hasn’t uncovered a whole bunch of things about it. Does that mean that radiation could affect it? Yes. It also means that radiation may not affect it. We just don’t know.

    In 1989, under public pressure, the Soviet Minister of Health requested that the World Health Organization send a delegation to the area around Chernobyl to determine what levels of radiation were safe for humans. The WHO selected a group of physicists who had already issued reassuring statements about the effects of the radiation spread by the accident. (Brown implies that this selection was connected to pressure from the world’s nuclear powers.) This group soon concluded that there was no association between Chernobyl fallout and the reported rise in noncancerous diseases such as circulatory or autoimmune disorders, and recommended a dramatic increase in the guideline for “safe” lifetime doses of radiation.

    If Brown has evidence that the selection was connected to pressure from the world’s nuclear powers, she should present that evidence.

    Other researchers have issued a much sunnier picture of post-Chernobyl ecology, but Brown argues persuasively that they are grossly underestimating the scale of the damage, in part because they rely too heavily on simplistic measurements of radioactivity levels.

    If Brown has a better measurement than radioactivity levels, let’s hear about it. The discussion around this quote makes it sound like the radiation levels increase as material works its way through the environment, but in fact it is decaying and becoming less radioactive and is being dispersed to lower concentrations. Plants and animals can accumulate radionuclides, but that effect will lessen as other factors make for less radioactive material available.

    From other things I’ve read, Plokhy’s book seems worth reading for the insight into the systemic and bureaucratic aspects of how the accident was handled.

    HBO also has a video series about Chernobyl coming up. I have seen the trailer and won’t be watching that. Reading the reports about Louis Slotin’s death from radiation was plenty for me. I also was on a rapid response team at Los Alamos that tried to come up with ideas for dealing with the out-of-control reactor as the accident was happening, and I’ve kept up with the rest of it since then.

  70. 70
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:
    Bolton served in the NG and Army reserve. 1970-76.
    If I remember correctly he’s never met a war he didn’t like, except of course the one going on when he was of conscription age.

  71. 71
    B.B.A. says:

    @Ruckus: He won’t go to jail. He’s incompetent to stand trial. (Among the many other ways he’s incompetent.)

  72. 72
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Ruckus: True. Even Bolton’s mustache has a war boner.

  73. 73
    Ruckus says:

    @B.B.A.:
    You are probably right, mores the shame.
    Of course if he’s incompetent to stand trial, that should make him incompetent to be out on his own. Probably won’t though.

  74. 74
    Ken says:

    They were sanctions that Bolton had earlier praised and had already been announced. It appears that Bolton’s approving tweet has been deleted.

    Doubleplus good response time by Minitrue.

  75. 75
    Ruckus says:

    @mrmoshpotato:
    It is terrible isn’t it? Looks like something he found in a hundred yr old box of Cracker Jack.
    And this comes from someone with a full beard and almost handlebar mustache.

  76. 76
  77. 77
    The Dangerman says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    The Secret Service escorts him out of the building and there’s jack shit Trump can do about it. If he tells the military to stop it, they’ll shrug and say “You’re no longer the boss of me.”

    Well, yeah, if we make it to 1/20/21 without shenanigans, Trump is sent away and told to have a nice life.

    But, there are those potential shenanigans; for example, the Electoral College has to be accepted by the House and Senate, right? Can Trump cause enough damage to get the Senate to balk? No idea. Can he get the USSC to do something? I’d think the Senate is more likely, but, with people like Kavanaugh (read: hack), who knows?

  78. 78
    Mike in NC says:

    Fat Bastard’s chaos business model has played out so poorly on the world stage. But the MAGAts still think it works. Winning!

  79. 79
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Ruckus: His mustache or his mustache’s boner? Hehe

    Colbert and Dana Carvey had a good skit about Bolton’s ‘stache a few months ago.

  80. 80
    debbie says:

    @dexwood:

    Brilliant!

  81. 81
    JDM says:

    So if “fuck you” is an effective opening strategy, why hasn’t Trump used it with Putin to get his Moscow tower?

    As for giving up nukes, just look at how many nations we’ve attacked since nukes were a thing. Then look at how many nuke-possessing nations we’ve attacked. Than calculate the ratio and you have the number that every potential nuked-up country will operate by.

  82. 82
    Ruckus says:

    @mrmoshpotato:
    I thought he is his mustache’s boner.

  83. 83
    Jay says:

    @trollhattan:

    https://korcounterprop.tumblr.com/post/176612975762/cia-funded-anti-dprk-disinfo-outlets-unification/amp

    Part of the reason the DRPK is called “The Hermit Kingdom” is that the very little information that we get is either DRPK State propaganda and approved narratives, or “allied” Counter propaganda.

    A bunch of the “western” propaganda mixes truth, with “mockery” of the leadership, and a bunch of gossip.

    As an example, when it was discovered that the DRPK was through shadow companies and brokers was the largest buyer of Courvoiser in the world, it was pitched that the Kim’s were big mean, vain drunks.

    In reality however, the DRPK Intelligence services use brandy smuggling into Japan and other regional countries with taxes and import duties, to build and maintain ties with criminal organizations and corrupt businessmen, and as a revinue source.

    Take any claim, especially the graphic ones, on the internals of the DRPK leadership, with a huge serving of salt. At it’s best, it’s Kremlinology, at it’s worst, it’s just propaganda.

    The DRPK Leadership has survived for over 50 years.

  84. 84
    rikyrah says:

    #ListenToBlackWomenKamalaHarris2020 (@psddluva4evah) Tweeted:
    Motown has finally released Marvin Gaye’s You’re the Man. It’s some of the best music he ever made. https://t.co/tNM6yeOScq via @slate https://twitter.com/psddluva4evah/status/1112133470980050945?s=17

  85. 85
    Ruckus says:

    @JDM:
    Reality strikes even Trump every so often.
    He sees Vlad and Kim as people he wants to be.
    Totally in charge and wealthy beyond anyone else in their entire countries.
    They inspire him. And he doesn’t understand why everyone else doesn’t see in him, and bestow upon him the greatness that he sees in Vlad and Kim.

  86. 86
    Barbara says:

    @Emma: Oh yes. Trump and May and the rest of the Brexiteers don’t know what it means to negotiate from a position of weakness and therefore are unable to develop a strategy that maximizes their hand. In the UK’s case, pro-leavers still don’t seem to know that they are negotiating from a weak position, which is why they have been particularly inept. Kim knows his position is weak but understands every possible way to maximize what leverage he does have.

  87. 87
    PJ says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Thanks for your perspective on this.

  88. 88
    B.B.A. says:

    @The Dangerman: The central question, as with so much else in our politics, is how much does Mitch think he can get away with.

    Where there’s a Mitch, there’s a way.

  89. 89
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Pretty much anything Plokhy writes is worth reading.

  90. 90
    randy khan says:

    @The Dangerman:

    The Senate and the House have to agree not to accept a state’s electoral votes. So a Republican-controlled Senate isn’t enough.

  91. 91
    Brachiator says:

    @The Dangerman:

    But, there are those potential shenanigans; for example, the Electoral College has to be accepted by the House and Senate, right? Can Trump cause enough damage to get the Senate to balk? No idea. Can he get the USSC to do something? I’d think the Senate is more likely, but, with people like Kavanaugh (read: hack), who knows?

    People could not believe that Trump got elected president. Now they can’t believe he will give the office up.

    Trump is not magic. He will be gone. Let’s make sure we boot his orange ass out of office on election day, if not sooner.

  92. 92
    Brachiator says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    this goes beyond the notion of Trump being “like an abuser.”

    Even abusers aren’t one-note. It’s his overall style, and he has great difficulty approaching or even thinking about the world in any other way.

    No, it’s that the comparison is not very useful or meaningful.

    We don’t like Trump, and it’s fun to heap on negative metaphors, but the use of these pseudo-diagnostic labels is not very illuminating.

  93. 93
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Ruckus: He went to high school at McDonogh School outside Baltimore, whic “was established as an all-white, semi-military school …The first African-American student was admitted in 1959. In 1971, the military traditions of the school were discontinued. The school became coeducational in 1975.” One of my closer friends graduated from McDonogh the year after Bolton; he tells me the Walrus was a whackjob even then.

  94. 94
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Brachiator:

    Trump does not believe that he makes mistakes.

    Trump is a walking example of the Dunning–Kruger effect, he ignores all information that contradicts the narrative he wants. Walking out on negotiations works in Trump’s mind because he only remembers the time it did, not the times the other person told Trump to sod off and wouldn’t return his calls.

  95. 95
    sharl says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: The thread is dead, but the NYT had an article a couple weeks ago about the Trump-Deutsche Bank connection. A couple excerpts (Ms. Vrablic of Deutsche Bank was the lead liaison to Trump):

    …The relationship had paid off. Mr. Trump used loans from Deutsche Bank to finance skyscrapers and other high-end properties, and repeatedly cited his relationship with the bank to deflect political attacks on his business acumen. Deutsche Bank used Mr. Trump’s projects to build its investment-banking business, reaped fees from the assets he put in its custody and leveraged his celebrity to lure clients.

    Then Mr. Trump won the 2016 election, and the German bank shifted into damage-control mode, bracing for an onslaught of public scrutiny, according to several people involved in the internal response.

    In the weeks before Ms. Vrablic attended his swearing-in, the bank commissioned reports to figure out how it had gotten in so deep with Mr. Trump. It issued an unusual edict to its Wall Street employees: Do not publicly utter the word “Trump.”

    In the late 1990s, Deutsche Bank, which is based in Germany, was trying to make a name for itself on Wall Street. Its investment-banking division went on a hiring binge.

    The bank recruited a handful of Goldman Sachs traders to lead a push into commercial real estate. One was Justin Kennedy, the son of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Another was Mike Offit, whose father was the writer Sidney Offit.

    At Deutsche Bank, Mr. Offit’s mandate was to lend money to big real estate developers, package the loans into securities and sell the resulting bonds to investors. He said in an interview that one way to stand out in a crowded market was to make loans that his rivals considered too risky.

    In 1998, a broker contacted him to see if he would consider lending to a Wall Street pariah: Mr. Trump, who was then a casino magnate whose bankruptcies had cost banks hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Mr. Offit took the meeting.

    There’s quite a bit more (it’s a fairly long article), but you get the idea. Trump (being Trump) meets a bank department with marching orders to drum up business, damn the risks and warnings. I hope Elijah Cummings and his committee make those bankers thoroughly miserable (although many of the bank officials responsible for the bad Trump deals are no longer with DB).

  96. 96
    Captain C says:

    @Brachiator: Kiss up, kick down.

  97. 97
    trnc says:

    @Brachiator:

    I don’t see how this explains Trump’s actions toward Russia, Israel or North Korea.

    Even though Trump abandoned the North Korea talks, he still kissed the North Korea leader’s ass.

    It was the 80’s so it may have predated his financial reliance on Russia. From the article:

    Shortly after the success of The Art of the Deal (1987) made Donald Trump a supposed expert on negotiation, he lobbied the George H.W. Bush administration to put him in charge of arms reduction talks with the Soviet Union. The position went instead to Richard Burt, an experienced diplomat and arms control expert. When the two men met at a New York social event, Trump pulled Burt aside to tell him what he would have done—and what Burt should do—to start off the negotiations. Greet the Soviets warmly, he said. Let the delegation get seated and open their papers. Then stand up, put your knuckles on the table, lean over, say “Fuck you,” and walk out of the room.

    And, of course, it wasn’t that long ago that he was calling Kim “little rocket man.”

  98. 98
    trnc says:

    @hoodie:

    Doesn’t sound like a very effective technique where you’re trying to create a long term relationship, and probably isn’t all that effective in one-off deals like real estate sales.

    Which would explain why he had to file fraudulent forms to banks.

  99. 99
    jonas says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    He burned every bank he ever borrowed from, except for Deutsche Bank, which for some unknown reason kept lending him money.

    When you’re swimming in money from Russian oligarchs that needs laundering, there are worse things to do with it than lending it at high interest to a blustering New York jackass for his vanity projects.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Cross-posted to Balloon Juice. […]

Comments are closed.