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Trump Negotiation Behavior


I was tempted to call Trump’s behavior a “technique”, but it is not sophisticated enough to be considered such. He behaves in a way, and that should be clear to everyone one who can look at him without the rose colored glasses that he will (figuratively) provide to you if you care to put them on.

He negotiates with at least two very obvious behaviors: Flopping and Diversion.

For instance, he currently diverts the Russian inquiry by suggesting that Obama did nothing about Russian interference. Not to get too far in the weeds, but the interference was being investigated by the Federal Government while Obama was president. Nothing was overtly done for a number of reasons that I can see. 1. the investigation was no where near complete; and, 2. Once the investigation would be complete, the resolution should be done more quietly than is now occurring. The length and breadth of the current investigation show the first, and certainly the sense of the second bullet point seems to be just as obvious.

Now lets get to the Flopping on the “Tariff” issue.

NeighborDave has negotiated professionally for over 40 years, and really has negotiated his entire life. The Flop is the reactionary behavior first observed as a child, and is the go to move of a bully in the neighborhood. The guy that is big and strong, maybe older and less smart, the guy with no real future beyond exercising size or muscle to get what they want. It is like flopping your dick on the table and saying look how big that is. (Apparently, President Lyndon Johnson articulated this behavior once when he revoked a promise to Abe Fortus of a Supreme Court appointment.)

Here’s the thing. The move only works if you have the leverage necessary for the other side to be afraid of the leverage you have. With a bully, in the neighborhood, unless you are really slow or really stupid, you only get caught by the move once. After that you see it coming and avoid it, or just as it is about to happen, you speed away. Look at David and Goliath for an example. David could hit a flying bird with that sling shot, but Goliath had to be within swinging distance to use his weapons. David knew he could disable him without getting in the danger zone.

Trump revels in the concept that he is Goliath, but he doesn’t get that when you are the big dog, maybe even the alpha dog, you take care of your needs, but if you get your wants at the expense of the pack’s needs, then the pack is hurt. The US is (for now) the big dog, but if we focus on our wants to the exclusion of the worlds needs, WHERE DO WE END UP?

Sorry for the graphic example of the Flop, but that is how it is known in the world of negotiation. I have seen it many places around the world and eventually the people on the side from which it is exercised learn to discount “their” guy and he gets shunned by both sides as the negotiation continues. Trump’s disciples smile and enjoy the flop, so they will never shun him. It is up to the rest of the pack to see it though, and move on.

Simple behavior is just that, and honest behavior is just that too. Make a choice and stand behind it.

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