May 25, 2018

Trump Has No Idea How Diplomatic Deals Work

By Ilan Goldenberg

Earlier this week, the New York Times ran a remarkable story explaining all of the ways in which the Trump administration botched its high-stakes trade negotiations with China. I am not an expert on China and don’t know that much about trade, but I do know a little something about diplomatic negotiations. I was part of the team led by then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that tried and failed to negotiate peace between Israelis and Palestinians from 2013 to 2014, and though I was not on the team that negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, I was part of the small interagency group that worked on this issue in the years before negotiations got serious and watched them very closely throughout.

Based on these experiences, what was stunning to learn about the China trade negotiations was how at every step of the way, U.S. President Donald Trump’s economic team did precisely the wrong thing. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Director of Trade and Industrial Policy Peter Navarro, Chief Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross executed a textbook case study in how to not conduct international negotiations.


Read the Full Article at Foreign Policy

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