Know Your Enemy (2 of 2)

In the website Inc, Peter Economy under the title of “11 Winning Negotiation Tactics From Donald Trump’s ‘The Art of the Deal’” listed those eleven rules Trump operates by, according to Trump. I’m not going to get into any of the political arguments surrounding this book, I just want to touch on how Trump operates. (You can read what he writes HERE.)

1. Think big

2. Protect the downside and the upside will take care of itself

3. Maximize the options

4. Know your market

5. Use your leverage

6. Enhance your location

7. Get the word out

8. Fight back

9. Deliver the goods

10. Have fun

11. Contain the costs

Whatever the reasons are he decided to build this hotel it’s going to be in a large city that has its own ideas on what the city wants and how it should be done, and a landowner who has his or her own ideas on what he or she wants for that property. Trump has to negotiate with the landowner and with the city and when the project is greenlighted he has to negotiate with those who will construct the hotel and the sources of material that will be used. There is a saying, “If you like hot dogs don’t watch them being made.” If you want to build something either small or large what you have to go through isn’t always pretty.

Okay, so Trump the businessman who wants to build a hotel can’t simply go into a city and with no issues build his building. He believes it will benefit the city because it will employ citizens. He believes it will benefit the city’s economy because visitors will come and stay in his hotel and spend money in the city. Yes, he, too, will make money but he never was that evil builder who only cared about himself. If you go there you will never understand him. But, again, if you have ever wanted to build something you’ve had to fight with the city that wants to determine what you do and not let you just do what you believe is good. And now the games of negotiating begin so you say things and do things to try and move the deal in your favor because you honestly believe it will benefit everyone. But again, every negotiating tactic effects only a few.

This is Donald Trump’s, the businessman’s world. His only concern with politics is selfish, how it will benefit his business. Every large business has the same concerns, it’s not just Trump. The rise of lobbyist is a serious subject that needs discussion but too large and outside this study.

When Trump decided to run for president, and won, Donald Trump the businessman now added to that Trump the politician. This means that that circle of people he affects by his attitudes, beliefs, and behavior has shifted from a few to every person, certainly in the United States, but most of the nations of the world as well. The first American President who had real impact beyond the borders of the United States reaching into the world of nations was President William McKinley and that influence came with the Spanish American War that saw us moving into new territories around the globe.

Trump as a businessman has seen the unfairness of trade with other nations, not just its negative impact on him but business at large. He wasn’t hesitant about complaining. Now he’s president and has the power to do something about it. Some of the worst trade deals came out of the Obama administration not just because he never was a businessman and didn’t appreciate benefits and losses, he was a politician who negotiated out of a social justice belief that the United States harmed the world from some sense of superiority taking advantage of the world so shifted the benefit of trade to other’s in a “make-up” kind of way. Admittedly it’s more complicated than this involving presidents before Obama as trade took on characteristics of war as nations with the same resources fought to benefit themselves at the expense of the other. And beyond this what happens internally inside a nation, for instance Unions drive up labor costs that drive up production costs that drive up retail costs making it more attractive to buy some goods from other nations that come in cheaper. But don’t just blame unions for this, environmental groups have done their damage as seen in forestry and fishing and natural resources—like coal and oil—who have politically driven up costs because they’ve persuaded government to restrict so much of our production here. And what lumber we’re allowed to harvest can’t be milled in our lumber mills because of restrictive rules and regulations so China comes in and buys our lumber cheaply, places it on their milling ships, mill the lumber and sell it back to us cheaper. The same goes for fishing. And oil we’ve outsourced to places like Saudi Arabia because for so long we couldn’t drill for it or refine it. Where I live there were at one time a dozen or more refineries that have now all been forced to shut down except for a couple that have over their heads outlandish restrictions driving the cost of refining high.

Like the man or not, Trump inherently understands this because the businessman Trump lived this. The tactics, the art of the deal, he used in his personal business negotiations he now uses as president with the world. If you understand this you understand the things he says and why he says them that is so different from any politician. He’s not interested in political niceties. As Larry the Cable Guy would say, “Get ‘er done!” That’s what Trump is doing.

Admittedly he comes across as a bull in the china shop. Because of this some of you are screaming, HE’S INCOMPETENT! No. He’s actually not. He’s different. This does place an air of danger around him because the responses from his world opponents have greater consequences than those strictly in the business world. He doesn’t always understand political ramifications of his words and actions—ala the game he’s now playing with tariffs—because he doesn’t primarily think politically. Honestly I find this both good and bad. By keeping everything in the political world we’ve done more harm than good for ourselves.

Spanking a child when they are bad has at least one very positive consequence, it gets their attention and stops their out-of-control behavior. Until you get their attention you can’t help them see the “evil of their ways”. So much of this modern claptrap nonsense that began with Dr. Spock is just that, claptrap that gets you nowhere.

Remember this from Proverbs 13:24: “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” I only want you to take from this scripture that now and then you’ve got to get the child’s attention and sometimes that takes a stick. Politicians are just children who sometimes need to have their attention “gotten”, so to speak. Trump is doing this. While it looks like it will come to naught with the North Korean leader, Trump did get his attention for a while when calling him “Rocket man.” None of the games we played before did that. In doing that did Trump risk a war with North Korea? Sure, the possibility was always there. Talk is cheap and has no meaning until you put some force behind it. He did that where no other president did. I believe the risk was worth it.

Why does Trump do this when other presidents didn’t. As a businessman he knows that you either crap and get off the pot or get crapped on, So Trump goes in talking tough and beginning actions that are tough and then backs off some of that when he sees the ball moving. That’s not incompetence, that’s business negotiation. When you don’t understand this and you politically put up every kind of block trying to stop him, trying to remove him because you hate him and think him incompetent, you’re fighting the wrong battle, you’re dragging what might be our best hope down for spite and you’re the one who’s sadly wrong.

Trump isn’t doing everything right. There are places he needs to be tempered. Argue that. Prove your reasons are better than his. Give him something that he can see that might be better rather than just hate that only drives him further into himself. If all you do is beat on your child what do you think you are going to create? I’ll tell you, a monster. A monster that will bite you. In this case it’s not the child’s fault, it’s yours, you created it.