While it makes for good politics to blame free trade agreements for the loss of U.S. jobs to overseas labor, the truth is, most manufacturing jobs have been eliminated due to automation — not outsourcing. An investigation by Politifact found that data doesn’t support this claim that agreements like NAFTA have been a massive “job-killer.” They might have some negative impact on jobs, but I personally believe they’re often overly-vilified for political purposes.
Nevertheless, because Donald Trump doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing (and his first 100 days in office have been a disaster), he seems intent on throwing as much crap against the wall as he can, hoping that something will stick.
Well, almost as quickly as the news broke that Trump was preparing to possibly announce that the U.S. would be exiting the NAFTA agreement, the administration did a full flip-flop, saying they were delaying making such a move after phone calls from both Mexico and Canada.
Big victory for Trump the “master negotiator,” right?
No, not really.
During his campaign, Trump sold himself as some sort of a genius businessman and expert negotiator who was going to “put America first” by “negotiating better deals.” Sure, to those foolish enough to support him, I’m sure they all see this quick reversal as Trump “playing hardball,” getting Mexico and Canada to quickly contact him hoping to prevent such a move.
I’m sorry Trumpsters, that’s not what this is. Like with several other areas where Trump’s tried to “negotiate,” this is just another embarrassment.
The art of negotiation is something I find fascinating. I absolutely believe it’s a skill that some people naturally have, others can teach themselves, and some will just never posses. I’m not going to get into the boring specifics of how I view it, but being a good, effective negotiator isn’t easy.
Enter Trump and his “skills of negotiation” — or should I say lack thereof.
Obviously I have no idea what’s said behind closed doors, but from what I can tell, Trump’s entire “negotiation tactic” boils down to the tired “do what I say or I’ll punish you if I can” approach. He just makes threats hoping that doing so will intimidate others into giving him what he wants.
That’s not negotiating — that’s bullying.
And thus far, Trump’s not even good at that. In just his first few weeks in office he’s:
- Failed to find any way to make Mexico pay for his wall.
- Couldn’t even force his own party to pass Trumpcare with a simple majority vote in the House despite the GOP having a 44-seat advantage.
- Backed off on his demands for Congress to approve funding for his border wall.
- Syria seems unfazed by his woefully inept airstrike several weeks ago.
- Russia is acting more emboldened than ever after that airstrike.
- Despite repeated threats against North Korea, neither they nor China seem to be taking him very seriously.
- Within a matter of hours, flip-flopped on threatening to pull out of NAFTA.
- Rescinded his accusation that China was manipulating currency because they more-or-less told him if he didn’t they weren’t going to help with North Korea — and they still haven’t done much.
- Needed then-Governor Mike Pence to offer Carrier millions in tax breaks to “save” around 800 jobs (fewer than were still being outsourced) in Indiana.
Those aren’t the actions of some highly-skilled negotiator who’s feared and respected by his “opponents.” That’s the after-effects of an incompetent buffoon believing he can govern as “Commander-in-Chief” the same way he did as CEO of his company, by either making threats or bribes while hoping to get his way.
From my perspective, what we’re seeing is an international stage where other world leaders are doing their best to appease a man they know is an idiot, who they don’t respect, because they’re aware that his overwhelming ignorance about very complex issues could ultimately backfire on them just as much as the United States. I also get the feeling that these other foreign heads of state know they can easily outsmart and manipulate him, so they’re not too worried about “negotiating” with him.
Think about it. Would you rather deal with a sharp, well-spoken Harvard and Columbia-educated Constitutional lawyer like Barack Obama — or a petulant child with a small vocabulary who doesn’t seem to know how to spell or read very well, who’s easily manipulated, like Donald J. Trump?
The bottom line is, Trump doesn’t really know how to “negotiate.” He knows how to throw hissy fits, make threats, bully, and hope that people just give him what he wants. You know, the same tactics toddlers use when they’re trying to get their way. That’s fine when he’s running his various businesses into the ground, but not when he’s leading the United States and his foolishness and ignorance can negatively impact the lives of everyone living here, as well as people all over the world.