This afternoon Bill Richardson, in a surprisingly cogent article, argues that Trump the President is forgetting all the lessons of The Art of the Deal. Among other things, he’s
- Trying to force foreign leaders to accept humiliation, thus ensuring that they will not, and indeed cannot, enter into the deals he wants
- Closing doors when no alternative lined up, e.g., the Trans-Pacific Partnership affair,
- Giving up the leverage he would need to negotiate a deal, and thus putting himself in a place of desperation, and
- Making mincemeat out of managing expectations.
In an alternate universe, Trump the negotiator might very well proclaim Trump the president something of an amateur. “You can’t con people,” he notes, “at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole.
“But,” he adds, “if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”
Former Governor and Ambassador Richardson does not address the etiology of these failings. A casual reader might glean that Trump could get back on track just by rereading his famous book.
Or could it be that the White House has gone to his head?
Maureen Dowd gives it to us straight:
It took us years to find out that Richard Nixon was swilling Scotch, eating dog biscuits, talking to the White House portraits and blowing up the Vietnam peace talks in 1968 to help his election bid. It took us years to find out that, despite that deep, reassuring voice, Dick Cheney was a demented megalomaniac.
But with President Trump, it’s all right out there — the tantrums, the delusions, the deceptions, the self-doubts and overcompensation. …
Those who go into the Oval Office with chips on their shoulders and deep wells of insecurity, like Nixon, W. and Donald Trump, are not going to suddenly glow with self-assurance. The White House tends to bring out paranoia and insecurity.
Still, it was stunning how fast it got weird. To Trump biographer Tim O’Brien, the new president conjured the image of “a guy on a pogo stick in the Rose Garden bouncing around with a TV remote control in his hand trying to decide what to respond to in the next 30 seconds on Twitter.” ,,,
I ask the [Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio] if he’s as nervous as everyone else, and he says yes.
“Donald’s manic without being depressive,” he muses. “The only thing you can do is keep him distracted for a day and then one more day so that he doesn’t do anything disastrous.”
Just like Obama and May, D’Antonio says, “a lot of people over the years have tried to mollify him and accommodate him day by day. And eventually you get a year behind you. Everybody else wants stability, but he thrives in turmoil.”
Aardvark welcomes new readers in Belgium, India, and Spain, and sends a great big Добро пожаловать снова to his devoted followers in Russia. Still happy, guys, or is Trump beginning to make you a little нервный?