Saturday, February 11, 2017

Backtrack




In a promo for Donald Trump's most famous book, "The Art of the Deal," the Chicago Tribune is quoted as commenting "Donald Trump is a deal maker. He is a deal maker the way lions are carnivores and water is wet.”

It should have read "He is a deal maker the way lions are carnivores, water is wet, and cookies and cake are life-affirming substances."

With all due respect to Girl Scouts on a fund-raising drive, cookies are not life-affirming, and President Donald J. Trump is no deal-maker.

Politico's Eli Stokols reports

Trump, who first inflamed tensions with Chinese President Xi Jinping by accepting a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan in November, said just two months ago that he might not honor the country's "one China" policy, under which the U.S. recognizes China's designation of Taiwan as a Chinese state, unless he won concessions on trade in return.

In what Stokols recognizes as "appeasement"

According to a White House readout of Thursday's "lengthy" phone call, "President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our "one China" policy.

"Representatives of the United States and China will engage in discussions and negotiations on various issues of mutual interest," the statement continued. "The phone call between President Trump and President Xi was extremely cordial, and both leaders extended best wishes to the people of each other's countries."







Three weeks into his presidency and tough guy Donald already has capitulated.

We were led to believe it wouldn't be that way by the fellow who promised voters "We're going to win so much. You're going to get tired of winning. you’re going to say, ‘Please Mr. President, I have a headache. Please, don't win so much. This is getting terrible.’"  We were sold a bill of goods by the man who only last month told ABC's David Muir

that critics who questioned the legality of the move were “fools,” and said: “If we took the oil, you wouldn’t have ISIS.” Trump has also roundly criticized Obama’s strategy in the ongoing battle for Mosul, saying that the U.S. should not have abandoned the element of surprise by publicly announcing the offensive months ahead of time (though military strategists tend to see it as irrelevant to the progress of the battle). In his first press briefing on Monday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer reiterated that Trump will not reveal his military plans for Iraq before undertaking them.

Yet, Trump clumsily annoyed mainland China with his phone call with Taiwan and casual comments about the one-China policy and now has blundered again. Slate's Fred Kaplan explains that any Asian expert

could have told him that the Beijing government views “One China” as an existential matter, not open to discussion. When told this after the fact, Trump said—publicly—that he would use his threat as a “bargaining chip” to get better terms on trade or other issues.

This was Trump’s second mistake. If his best-seller The Art of the Deal doesn’t include a chapter titled “If You Want to Use Something as a Bargaining Chip, Don’t Say It’s a Bargaining Chip,” it’s a pretty worthless book.








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