President Donald J. Trump, known for announcing policy and matters of national security on from his Twitter account, this morning chided world leader and President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto by writing that, “If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.”
Roughly two hours later, Pena Nieto responded sharply via his Twitter account that he would not attend the meeting scheduled for next week with Trump at the White House.
This is a HUGE deal and the impact cannot be overstated. Mexico has been one of our greatest friends and biggest allies in the south. For all of Trump’s disparaging, condescending and racially charged remarks during his campaign about Mexico, Trump is making a colossal mistake with his isolationist, all or nothing approach to diplomacy.
Trump will need to learn quickly that brokering business deals is quite different from brokering relationships through international diplomacy. Just from the most basic perspectives, Trump is ill-advised to believe that another world leader is going to allow him to shame, disrespect, bully and play “chicken” with him for the world to see and believe that that leader is going to allow himself to be made to look weak to the people of his own country as well as to his coounterparts around the world.
Trump’s mistake, is he believes this is all about money. To be sure, money does indeed have a great deal to do with any domestic or international economic, infrastructural or political negotiations. However, in the arena of diplomacy, money is just a means to an end, whereas in Trump’s world, money is the end. Leaders around the world value their dignity. Without providing them a sense of this along with a clear sense of mutual respect, Trump won’t be able to get leaders to the table to even utilize those “great” negotiation skills he and his supporters tout so much. We can only hope that Trump can learn this lesson before his bullish stance breaks every plate in the proverbial China shop.
More as this story develops.
Think Passionately. Disrupt Strategically.
-A. Lawrence Haskins
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