If you didn’t see this already, Trump gushed out no less than 62 rage-tweets over the weekend, and they are now part of the official presidential record. Future historians will pour over them, assuming that our species survives and there is a future — or, alternatively, some space traveler, trekking through the stars, might land here one day and unearth these treasures from the ruins of the Library of Congress. If that is the case, then I shudder to think what impression that person will get of our culture. But, this is who we are, who the sitting *resident is, in any event, in 2019.
In any rational world, a 72-year-old tweeting shit like this, and there'd be a Silver Alert out in a three state area. pic.twitter.com/kxnPruGm4m
— Stonekettle (@Stonekettle) May 12, 2019
29 tweets were about Mueller and Russia, 19 were about Don Jr., a few were about China and the tariffs, the border, of course, Joe Biden, and last, that standard staple, Hillary’s emails. No rage-fest is complete without that. Now, take a look at the China tweets, because the interesting thing here is that Trump assures us how totally terrific-ly that situation is being handled. This is where it goes off the rails.
….We will then spend (match or better) the money that China may no longer be spending with our Great Patriot Farmers (Agriculture), which is a small percentage of total Tariffs received, and distribute the food to starving people in nations around the world! GREAT! #MAGA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2019
So, China is not only handled, it’s “GREAT!” in fact, and the situation is precisely as Donald Trump designed it to be. However, there’s this tweet.
China is DREAMING that Sleepy Joe Biden, or any of the others, gets elected in 2020. They LOVE ripping off America!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2019
This is partially true. I daresay China is dreaming that somebody sane returns to the negotiating table in 2020. But the issue is that the tweet reveals Trump’s massive ego and capacity for delusion, for which the rest of us suffer. He’s too messed up to know that he effed up totally with respect to China and now he’s trying to put it on the Chinese, who love to rip us off and know just how to rip off a Democrat. Right.
Trump’s real issue is that he doesn’t understand even the most basic difference between distributive and integrative marketing, and this is where the China negotiations collapsed early on. This is a gross oversimplification of the two terms just used, but if you have a pie on the table and we negotiate for it, one of us gets the pie. So one of us “wins” or “loses” which is all Trump understands from any situation. That is distributive marketing. If, on the other hand, the maker of the pie on the table says to you, “This is one of thousands of pies, and I have a truck outside, and you have stores that sell my pies, and we’re both going to profit,” that is an example of integrative marketing. Both parties win.
Trump doesn’t get even this much. He thinks that distributive marketing principles apply in a world which is governed by principles of integrative. Here is a brilliant article, by Professsor David Honig, which explains this theory better than I just did and also analyses the current crisis with China that El Genius in the Oval Office cannot even grasp is happening, let alone what to do about it.
The problem with Trump is that he sees only distributive bargaining in an international world that requires integrative bargaining. He can raise tariffs, but so can other countries. He can’t demand they not respond. There is no defined end to the negotiation and there is no simple winner and loser. There are always more pies to be baked. Further, negotiations aren’t binary. China’s choices aren’t (a) buy soybeans from US farmers, or (b) don’t buy soybeans. They can also (c) buy soybeans from Russia, or Argentina, or Brazil, or Canada, etc. That completely strips the distributive bargainer of his power to win or lose, to control the negotiation.
One of the risks of distributive bargaining is bad will. In a one-time distributive bargain, e.g. negotiating with the cabinet maker in your casino about whether you’re going to pay his whole bill or demand a discount, you don’t have to worry about your ongoing credibility or the next deal. If you do that to the cabinet maker, you can bet he won’t agree to do the cabinets in your next casino, and you’re going to have to find another cabinet maker.
There isn’t another Canada. […]
Trump has raised tariffs on China. China responded, in addition to raising tariffs on US goods, by dropping all its soybean orders from the US and buying them from Russia. The effect is not only to cause tremendous harm to US farmers, but also to increase Russian revenue, making Russia less susceptible to sanctions and boycotts, increasing its economic and political power in the world, and reducing ours. Trump saw steel and aluminum and thought it would be an easy win, BECAUSE HE SAW ONLY STEEL AND ALUMINUM – HE SEES EVERY NEGOTIATION AS DISTRIBUTIVE. China saw it as integrative, and integrated Russia and its soybean purchase orders into a far more complex negotiation ecosystem.
Trump doesn’t get any of this. This is an explanation of a complex topic that a lay person can understand, but Trump isn’t even that — because he thinks he knows. He is the walking personification of the Dunning-Kruger principal. Dunning-Kruger is a cognitive bias whereby low ability people “do not possess the skills necessary to recognize their own incompetence.” That encapsulates Trump better than any other definition that you will ever read. You might want to print this page out and tack it to the wall for future reference.
In the meantime, relations with China are going to hell on the proverbial bobsled and here’s the tragedy: once these markets are gone, the chances of us ever getting them back are slim to none. The damage that this buffoon has done will haunt us and cripple us for many years to come. He must be defeated in 2020 before more irreparable damage is done and the America we know ceases to exist.