(The correct answer for the many well intentioned f—-ls)
Trump always and everywhere negotiates. Great negotiators are not afraid of opponents, they are thrilled by the competition. Trump is a ruthless negotiator who has made an industry out of baiting opponents, entrapping them, and then controlling them. He creates opportunity for greedy people to act greedy, traps them and the exploits them for their greediness. This is why the bankruptcies are merely a tactic he uses to entrap greedy people, and corrupt bureaucrats. Where the ignorant person sees failure, the sophisticated person sees strategy.
Trump is a competitor in the Nietzschean mold. He sees a meeting with Putin as an opportunity to learn how to win just as he sees a meeting with Kim as an opportunity to learn how to win. The worst that happens is that nothing happens. The best that happens is that he finds (as did Regan) an opportunity. He does not care about ‘face’ or your approval. He only cares about opportunities to win.
Putin is terribly rational and very simple: russians never want to repeat the 1990’s and they respect strength. He saved them from chaos and has given them self respect back. All his stunts that cause us to react are just image building. We are just a tool for him to show his people he is strong. Just as we are just a tool for Kim to demand cash when he is bankrupt. Putin is actually very weak because he is under the control of his dependence upon the export of petroleum. The difference is that Kim can starve his people and retain power, and Putin can’t. Stalin would have starved them. Putin isn’t that strong.
Trump’s point of view, and it is not false, is that Americans are weak negotiators trying to win friends and make their jobs easy at the expense of the middle american work force. His opinion (and he’s right) is that china is rising to replace us by stealing our technology and undermining our markets. It does not take skill to negotiate an agreement that is favorable to your opponents.
How do I know this. I do exactly the same thing. Why? Because Kings, Generals, and Entrepreneurs, unlike corporate heads, bureaucrats, and politicians have a constituency of one. Themselves. Some people go public to make a windfall. some of us stay private so that we remain our masters. Trump stays private to remain his own master. The only place a man can still be king is in commerce.
Very few people in contemporary life actually participate in the market economy at personal financial risk. Kings, Generals, Investors, and Entrepreneurs of every scale, do it every day.
Trump acts like a king, general, and entrepreneur because he has always been an entrepreneur, and he was trained in a military school.
He’s not looking for your approval. He’s just always testing himself to see if he can out compete. Because that is the only test that the Nietzschean man cares about: the test of the markets.