Small Wars Journal

For Trump, Threats Become Part of Diplomatic Playbook

Sun, 06/09/2019 - 12:45pm

For Trump, Threats Become Part of Diplomatic Playbook by Rebecca Ballhaus – Wall Street Journal

President Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Mexico was met with alarm from business leaders and many in his own party, who responded with corresponding relief when the threat was withdrawn Friday. No one, however, should have been surprised.

Using threats of punitive action even against allies to force negotiation has become a staple of Mr. Trump’s diplomatic playbook, from dangling the prospect of U.S. withdrawal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization if Western nations didn’t increase their contributions to, in this case, hitting one of the U.S.’s largest trading partners with tariffs if it didn’t do more to stem migration across the southern U.S. border. As Mr. Trump views it, the threat creates leverage and leverage strengthens the U.S.’s hand.

Mr. Trump telegraphed his fondness for the tactic during his days as a real-estate developer. In his 1987 book “The Art of the Deal,” he wrote: “The best thing you can do is deal from strength, and leverage is the biggest strength you can have. Leverage is having something the other guy wants. Or better yet, needs. Or best of all, simply can’t do without.”…

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