Looking at the Taiwan phone call in terms of the Art of the Deal

Donald Trump’s protocol-breaking telephone call with Taiwan’s leader was an intentionally provocative move that establishes the incoming president as a break with the past, according to interviews with people involved in the planning.

The historic communication — the first between leaders of the United States and Taiwan since 1979 — was the product of months of quiet preparations and deliberations among Trump’s advisers about a new strategy for engagement with Taiwan that began even before he became the Republican presidential nominee, according to people involved in or briefed on the talks.

The call also reflects the views of hard-line advisers urging Trump to take a tough opening line with China, said others familiar with the months of discussion about Taiwan and China.

The Taiwan call tells us that Trump isn’t waiting for January 20th to get Obama’s hands off the foreign policy steering wheel. Obama has been trying to tie his successor’s hands on issues like the Iran deal; Trump is underlining that Obama is a lame duck, that he can’t commit the United States, and that the next administration is going to take a different line. This may or may not be wise, but Trump has so far been extremely successful in isolating and undermining Obama. The Taiwan call was one of many signals that Trump intends to manage American foreign policy very differently from his predecessor; all over the world, leaders are moving away from the postures they adopted in response to Obama’s goals and priorities in order to reposition themselves for the next era.

The Taiwan call is a clear sign that Trump is planning to do two things at the same time: to dump the Obama era “pivot to Asia” and simultaneously to assert the American presence in and commitment to Asia in unmistakable ways.

Trump is dropping the effort to marginalize China economically, dropping Obama’s human rights emphasis as counterproductive, and stepping up the effort to deter China with strong military forces and close cooperation with like minded states in the security field.

In Communist China the key references were Mao’s little red book and Sun Tzu’s Art of War, Now it is the Art of the Deal for Trump’s US

It also appears to reflect 2 of the 11 points in the Art of the Deal, which was Trumps book on negotiation.

The Taiwan call appears to maximize the options and highlights a point of leverage against China.

11 Negotiation Guidelines from the Art of the Deal

1. Think big

“I like thinking big. I always have. To me it’s very simple: if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.”

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

“I always go into the deal anticipating the worst. If you plan for the worst–if you can live with the worst–the good will always take care of itself.”

3. Maximize the options

“I never get too attached to one deal or one approach…I keep a lot of balls in the air, because most deals fall out, no matter how promising they seem at first.”

4. Know your market

“I like to think that I have that instinct. That’s why I don’t hire a lot of number-crunchers, and I don’t trust fancy marketing surveys. I do my own surveys and draw my own conclusions.”

5. Use your leverage

“The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.”

6. Enhance your location

“Perhaps the most misunderstood concept in all of real estate is that the key to success is location, location, location…First of all, you don’t necessarily need the best location. What you need is the best deal.”

7. Get the word out

“One thing I’ve learned about the press is that they’re always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better…The point is that if you are a little different, a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you.”

8. Fight back

“In most cases I’m very easy to get along with. I’m very good to people who are good to me. But when people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my general attitude, all my life, has been to fight back very hard.”

9. Deliver the goods

“You can’t con people, 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 if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”

10. Contain the costs

“I believe in spending what you have to. But I also believe in not spending more than you should.”

11. Have fun

“Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.”

SOURCES- Art of the Deal, the American Interest, Washington Ppst