One of the many spurious memes that Donald Trump voters spouted to praise him during the campaign (promoted by Trump himself of course) was that he was such a fantastic businessman, such a skilled negotiator that he would make great deals for America and use his abilities to make foreign leaders bow down to him and give him what he wanted.
Anyone who has never played Three Card Monte or never responded to emails from Nigerian princes promising to pay millions tomorrow for a loan of thousands today, knew that this type of material is usually spread over new grass seed and shouldn’t have been consumed.
Trump’s business history does show he knows how to be a bully and use threats, intimidation and his (inherited) wealth to extort what he wants from others but when it comes to how to negotiate in the real sense of what a negotiation is, Trump seems to have spent that class at Wharton locked in his dorm room cursing his tiny fingers.
Consider the situations that have arisen while he’s been in the White House that required negotiation and how he’s fared. Repealing Obamacare, getting at least 60 votes in The Senate for his candidate Gorsuch to join the Supreme Court and most of his cabinet to be approved, convincing Russia to stop aiding in Syria’s genocide and getting Mexico to agree to pay for his wall.
In fact, all of his alleged accomplishments have nothing to do with being able to negotiate anything, using declarations through Executive Orders, forcing cabinet nominees and his Supreme Court pick through The Senate on party line votes (having to use the “nuclear option in Gorsuch’s case) and dropping bombs in mostly unoccupied deserts as “statements” to enemies.
When Trump does try to negotiate, he doesn’t do so like a sharp businessman, he just uses extortion like any thug or terrorist might. There is no art to the dealing Trump does, just the threat of brute force, that’s all he has.
One current example is the dangerous and erratic action he has been taking to “convince” Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, to back down from his recent provocations. Trump and his minions have been directly threatening to attack North Korea. Some say that in this case, having a president who appears to be a bit crazy, irrational and capable of anything is a good tool (Trump is a tool indeed) against another leader who acts similarly. Maybe, maybe not. It has ratcheted up tensions and fear in the region and when so many lives hang in the balance and those who give the orders for buttons to be pushed are emotionally unstable and paranoid, that’s not exactly a recipe for good things to come.
But that’s all Trump has in his “negotiation” sack, threats of harm. When Freedom Caucus Republicans threatened to derail the Obamacare repeal that Trump and Paul Ryan were trying to shove down the nation’s throat, he turned on them, threatening to destroy them in their re-elections. How did that work out, did The Great Negotiator get another predicted “win”, as he bragged people would get tired of seeing, and get Obamacare repealed?
Trump has announced a new tactic now that he believes will force Democrats to negotiate the terms of surrender on Obamacare…threatening to strip 3 million Americans of federal subsidies that allow them to afford health insurance in the exchanges unless Democrats agree to supporting the repeal of Obamacare. Due to legally disputed terms in the ACA and a current court case, that funding is vulnerable to being blocked by Trump. If ISIS held 3 million Americans hostage and threatened their well being unless its demands were met, what would we call that? “Negotiating”? Of course not, we would call it terrorism.
Donald Trump is a terrorist in the literal sense. He may call it “negotiating” but his only tactic is terrorism and it’s the one way he knows to try and get what he wants. He used terrorism to help himself win the election, instilling terror in voters against Mexicans and immigrants, black people, Muslims, Hillary and Democrats, the U.S. Intelligence community and the media (but not Russia and Putin of course). He has used terror tactics in Syria, Afghanistan and now in North Korea, using violent bombing and the threat of it to “make his point”.
Does terrorism work as the primary “negotiating” tactic of a country’s leader? Against enemies AND his own citizens (no coincidence Trump called Turkey’s oppressive Edrogan to congratulate him on winning an election to change the laws of their government so he could become dictator for life)? Trump knows no differently and the media praise he’s received for being so quick to drop bombs seems to have assured him that this is what he should continue doing.
Trump is using terrorism through his transformation of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) into something resembling a national militia, grabbing undocumented immigrants anywhere at anytime no matter how wonderful they are in contributing to America. An atmosphere of fear has gripped this vulnerable community in this country, it is scaring away needed migrant workers (farmers around the country are now worried about many crops spoiling due to a shortage of workers) and intimidated a growing number of victims of crime from contacting police because they are undocumented.
Terrorism works…until it doesn’t. Trying to manipulate others with the fear of violence can be effective until the violence begins, then the threat no longer is a tool and the violence opens the door to a response of violence or mass uprisings against it.
In the case of trying to use extortion in the healthcare debate, threatening to harm up to 3 million American lives if Democrats don’t agree to repeal Obamacare, Trump’s terrorism is a lose-lose for him and Republicans. If Democrats refuse to negotiate with this terrorist as they should with any terrorist, this self-declared enemy of millions of Americans would have to “execute” his attack on those Americans (which isn’t ideal for him and Republicans to run on in 2018…when many of those will be their constituents) yet would still fail in being able to pass a full repeal of Obamacare since Democrat votes would be needed in The Senate on the non-financial aspects to overcome a filibuster. Or, he would have to abandon his terrorist threat as another in a string of failed “negotiations”.
And what about North Korea? Will Trump’s response to terrorism with terrorism have the desired results and force Kim Jong Un to back down…or might it make Un feel that an attack by the U.S. is impending and the only way to defend himself is to strike first? Or might the result be a terrorist one-upmanship, where neither side wants to be seen as buckling and so another step closer to war is taken by one then the other until war is unavoidable in the eyes of one or both?
One thing is for sure, a president who can only “negotiate” what he wants by threatening terrorism against others in the world and against his own citizens can only dig a deeper hole for himself when it comes to being seen as stable, trusted and respected. He may be feared but that’s not a positive when trying to win re-election for yourself and your party in the U.S.. Americans like their president to be revered, not reviled.
Trump vowed that if he was elected president, he would end terrorism. He won’t be able to accomplish that now…until he loses the White House to another candidate. Here’s hoping he keeps at least that one promise when 2020 rolls around.
I have to start off by saying that — as always — you’ve come up with the perfect graphic for this one, AdLib! (Although I have to wonder whether The Donald has enough testosterone to sprout a beard like that one!)
Many times in this short administration of his (although — doesn’t it feel like years already?) I’ve wondered whether he seriously believes that one of these days Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi (or the presidents of Mexico and China or Kim Jong-un) are going to say: “Good Lord, Man! You’re absolutely right! How could I NOT have seen it before now? Since you’ve threatened me, everything’s become so much clearer! I see it all now!” Followed by total capitulation.
When — in life — does that ever work??
Never. Taking the tone that he takes (and I know this is exactly what you’re saying) only hardens peoples’ resistance. Only a spoiled rich boy could have gotten to be 70 without figuring that out.
And I don’t think there’s time for him to learn that lesson now. One of these days one or more of the people he’s attempted to terrorize is going to punch back. Which will be a first for Little Lord Fauntleroy. Wouldn’t you love to be there when it happens?
I don’t really see Trump, fitting in the commonly understood idea of what a terrorist is. I have said, for over a year now, that Trump really has the mentality of a mob boss. Mob bosses differ from political terrorists, because they have their own interests at heart, and nothing more.
That’s Trump. He doesn’t give a shit about anybody but himself and his immediate family. That, in essence, is what a mob boss cares about, exclusively.
Trump is an anomaly, someone who has been a master manipulator for decades, and he’s playing the US like a cheap fiddle. Sadly, too many happily dance, while Rome burns.
My thoughts exactly, it has seemed to me that most of Trumps most fanatical adherents watched to many movies about gangsters growing up.
Can’t disagree that Trump has things in common with mob bosses but when it comes to negotiating, mob bosses aren’t in the position of threatening the safety of millions of people to get what they want, that’s a terrorist mindset.
Before he was president, Trump negotiated like a bully. He’d threaten, sue or refuse to pay to force others to do what he wanted. Not really mob boss stuff, just asshole land.
But as President, as he’s found that he can’t just threaten and get what he wants, he just tries to raise the stakes and threaten the health and safety of millions of people.
Check this out, the definition of terrorism on Dictionary.com:
Trump’s negotiating by threatening 3 million Americans sure seems to fit #1 and his day to day governing could be covered by #2 and #3.
The key is that using threats to intimidate and coerce as well as instilling fear is what defines a terrorist.
He may not have explosives strapped onto him or have a scary beard but he sure seems to fit the definitions of a terrorist.
Well Ad, after giving this some thought, I’d say the only real difference between the two is the amount of power each one has at their disposal.
How about this…….Trump is a terrorist who has the mentality of a mob boss!
Look at his attempt to hold the ACA hostage. Gee, that’s a nice bill you have there, be a shame if, you know, somethin bad would happen to it (if I don’t get money for my wall).
My question now is, will the jellyfish in congress stand up to Odious Maximus? Biggus Dickheadus!