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Trump’s Negotiating Strategy in Detail

TRUMP’S STRATEGY:
(second version)

“Negotiate with corrupt, immoral, dishonest, unsophisticated, incompetent, competitors, ‘frenemies’, and hostile parties, from a position of demand for moral transparency, while evidencing mistrust and maintaining walk away power, causing your opponents to creatively negotiate, and provide and commit to details, while on the defensive – causing those opponents to pay the cost and liability of educating everyone else involved, leaving you free of having made commitments – the judgement, intention, and morality, of which can be questioned.”

“Say what the base, soldiers, workers, employees think, and cause the state bureaucracy, media, public intellectuals, and academy, to justify its position thereby educating the people.”

He has been practicing this strategy with the media and they do his bidding. It is how he obtained free press. It is how they are under his control today. In this way he talks to his base, who understands exactly what he is doing, and avoids putting the opponents in control of the discourse.

As long as his base will repeat what he says the opposition will remain on the defensive.

He used this strategy throughout his career. He did it through the campaign. He did it prior to taking office. And he has continued to do it since taking office.

GOALS – THE STRATEGY OF SIMPLE MAN TAKING THE MORAL HIGH GROUND
1 – Propose a deal that is either big opportunity or big threat (or both). (bait/greed or threat/fear)
2 – Position your decision criteria as the ‘moral man’ that wants everyone to be happy, and do the right thing in the long term.
3 – Propose extreme strategy, tactics, and solutions uncompromisingly to move people to the center.
4 – Never give away any information or your acceptable compromise position. This just weakens your negotiating influence.
5 – Force the other side to come to your table with ideas if they want to participate or defend themselves.
6 – Play the last most unreasonable man: dumb, irrational, paranoid, angry, while holding to a moral high ground narrative. This means that they have to constantly educate you.
7 – Listen to the parties, your employees, and sponsors, for ‘things to mistrust’. Use this information to either question or attack the motives, intentions, or character of opposition parties. This keeps them on the defensive, proposing new ideas. Maintain the moral high ground.
8 – Speak in the voice of your investors, employees, followers, customers, or whomever is necessary so that they feel you are working in their interest. Use Hyperbole to illustrate to your base that you hear them. This creates trust, and weakens the other parties ability to create consensus and forces them to spend energy on defense.
9 – Find proposed solutions that are unacceptable by inflexible parties and promote those antagonistic ideas in order to force them to change their positions by choosing a lesser of two evils.
10 – Always act decisively and immediately when you find an opportunity to move forward one single step at a time. Incrementally accumulate information, commitments, contracts, and influence.
11 – Exhaust your opponent’s tactics, ideas, and will to try to plan or to outwit you.
12 – This strategy makes narratives, plans, and alliances against you very difficult, reduces your costs of inquiry, puts you in control by creating chaos, keeps opponents off balance, and results in you gathering exceptionally good information by evidence – rather than words. Make incremental progress toward big wins until the investment is such that people are trapped and cannot back out.
13 – If people took advantage of you and others during the process, ensure that they lose all gains later in the process. Explain that it was their greed or folly, or character, caused it.
14 – Failure is always your opponents fault. Just stay on moral message the entire time.

NEGOTIATION AS PROXY WARFARE
Imagine (you probably can’t) what it is like to negotiate with Yassir Arafat, any given president of Iran, any given member of the Russia duma, or any given Chinese Party official. In these countries DECEPTION is not only an art, but it is HONORABLE. In the case of Russians, telling the truth that exposes a vulnerability or gives away information is considered stupid. In the case of Chinese it is simply good manners to lie in most circumstances. In the case of Iran(and much of the arab world), the difference between suggestion, wishful thinking, faith, an outright lying is non-existent. And skilled lying is not only something to be proud of but religiously sanctioned.

Trump uses very well understood negotiating techniques. They have names. People teach them. You can hire people to use them for you. Most of us cannot grasp the art of negotiation with enemies, competitors, and ‘frenemies’. (Foreign Governments, Domestic Politicians, Bureaucrats, Unions, Financiers, Construction, Garbage Disposal, Maintenance, Housekeeping, and Utility companies.) Imagine what it is to negotiate with rooms full of lawyers trying to seek advantage through contractual nuance (deceit).

Trump has vast experience with ‘the unskilled laboring classes’, ‘the semi-skilled working classes’, and the ‘the skilled classes’, the ‘managerial classes’, the ‘professional classes’, and the ‘bureaucratic classes.’ He has build his career negotiating with people in an industry (construction) where corruption is rife at political, government, union, and contractor level, and where profits and losses are often determined in by the resolution of conflicts over prices and responsibility in courts – and where everyone is trying to get a dime out of everyone else.

You might consider this ‘crafty’ but it is just ‘the craft of negotiating’, that anyone learns when negotiating under threat of legal, financial, or military consequences with many parties, in competitive if not hostile environments, with sometimes single digit profits, but large numbers to work with.

WHITE COLLAR BLINDNESS (The curse of the educated but lacking experience with responsibility for objectively testable outcomes.)
People who advocate, politic, and criticize for a living rarely if ever have had any responsibility for anything other than themselves. Those who manage soldiers; those who manage the incomes of many families, tens, hundreds or thousands; those who manage the money of investors; those who manage the political demands of millions; all have responsibility – because they can fail, with dire consequences. Unfortunately, politicians, public intellectuals, media, and the academy can’t really fail because – while we could – we don’t measure them the way we measure war, economy, business, industry, and finance.

When you compete in business you fight, and when you fight in business in ‘the trades’ you’re dealing with very small margins, and very ‘creative’ means of error, bias, wishful thinking, suggestion, obscurantism, fictionalism, and outright deceit.

Trump’s strategy creates a funnel through which deceit, manipulation, pretense, ignorance, incompetence are filtered by the negotiating community and its clients. Instead of layers of political lies and compromises and positioning, it creates material outcomes regardless of those attempts at politicking, fraud and deceit.

His strategy is to reverse the roles of cat and mouse, and to put the competitors on the defensive by forcing them to testify to the public, thereby exposing the pretenses that politicians, intellectuals, bureaucrats, operate under.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine

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