Monday, June 3, 2019

Trump's Negotiating Strategy

As you know, Democrats have wildly excoriated President Trump for saying nice things about North Korean dictator Kim Jongun. They had no such objections when their favorite president, Barack Obama, appeased the dictators in Iran.

As you know, given the limited intellectual resources that Trump’s Democratic detractors possess, it does not really matter what he does. They will declare it to be the worst thing that human history has ever seen.

Be that as it may, Atlantic writer Uri Friedman researched Trump’s negotiation strategy. He asked William Ury, a leading authority in the field. Funnily enough, Ury said that there was method in the Trump approach:

When I asked William Ury, a co-author of the business-negotiation bible Getting to Yes, about Trump’s perplexing praise for Kim, he told me that he saw a clear method to the president’s seeming madness—one that he felt was deliberate because Trump has exhibited a pattern of behavior, even amid overwhelming criticism.

Trump appears to be operating with the philosophy “The cheapest concession you can make in a negotiation is to give the other fellow a little respect,” which buys you a counterpart willing to hear you out and maybe even work with you, said Ury, who is also a co-founder of Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation. “I’ve found that to be true over 40 years of being in this field, whether you’re talking family, business, or high-stakes nuclear showdowns.”

And yes, there’s more:

The president also seems to be adhering to a principle recommended in Ury’s book: being “soft on the people” you’re negotiating with (in this case, Kim) while being “hard on the problem” (in this case, maintaining unprecedented international sanctions on North Korea and walking away from the Vietnam talks when Kim wouldn’t agree to completely denuclearize).

In their book, Ury and his co-author argue that this counterintuitive strategy works because of the psychological theory of cognitive dissonance, which posits that “people dislike inconsistency and will act to eliminate it.” By demonstrating “that you are attacking the problem, not them,” they write, you encourage your counterparts to “overcome this dissonance” by separating themselves “from the problem in order to join you in doing something about it.”

“Erring a little bit on the side of relationship and respect and saying nice things is a very small price to pay for the potential benefit [of resolving the Korean conflict] and to avert the potential danger” of sparking a new one, Ury told me.

Of course, the approach has not yet yielded any conspicuous success. That does not mean that it’s bad or wrong. It’s part of the process, and shows more skill than Trump’s detractors will ever give him credit for.


Unknown said...

How much peace around the world have our former leaders negotiated? It seems we've been lulled into "war is the only answer" politics that hugely benefit a very few, well-laced globalists. The CIA continues waging mini-extractions that have only increased trafficking of drugs, arms,energy and humans. Chaos - $$$ for some one, and it ain't the guys on Main Street.

President Trump seems willing to spend the time necessary to avoid such bloody encounters in spite of the globalists still embedded in every nook and cranny of our government. I, personally, am willing to learn from his approach. It's only been in effect for two years vs. the century where war was the only answer as long as those who encourage the warfare could avoid sending their blood and treasure.

Jerry said...

The odd thing I see about the Trump critics is that they insist he's stupid and doesn't know what he's doing.

You do not make a fortune in real estate in the NYC market by being stupid. The man knows how to negotiate.

He's not a traditional political animal, that's for sure. He's not a 'I'll promise you everything to get elected, and then do nothing once in office' type.

We've gotten used to politicians who think that only the promises matter, and that actually doing what they promise is ridiculous. After all, a promise that got you elected can KEEP you in office for the next election.

For Trump - results actually matter. He promised, and he's trying hard to deliver results.

I was a reluctant Trump voter - saw him as better than Hillary, but not by much. I've been very surprised and very pleased by how much he's gotten done. In 2020 I'll be an eager Trump voter - because nothing the Dems have to offer seems calculated to benefit the country as a whole, just their Party.

Sam L. said...

" Blogger Jerry said...
The odd thing I see about the Trump critics is that they insist he's stupid and doesn't know what he's doing."

That's because they KNOW they are smarter than Trump, absolutely so convinced. (As I see it. I could be wrong; I have before.)

Anonymous said...

>> That's because they KNOW they are smarter than Trump, absolutely so convinced.

See the "Dunning-Kruger effect" --
As In: Why Do Stupid People Think They're Smart?

Sam L. said...

Thanks for that, Anon!