Trump vs. Putin…

There is significant concern expressed by some over what the relationship might be between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.  Is Trump too cozy with Putin?  Is Trump smart enough to engage with Putin one-on-one?  Is Putin simply playing Donald Trump to see how far he can take that and what he might be able to gain from this game?

I wonder how many business people who felt they had the upper hand in Trump negotiations learned too late they’d been played by a master negotiator, or who thought they’d won the match only to learn they hadn’t for whatever the reason.

Donald Trump has already demonstrated the ability to view a situation and find all the subtle nuances that exist, recognizing just how those can be aligned and then going on to strike a deal that worked for both sides but gave Trump the edge.  His ability to grasp situations quickly and to exploit those to his bargaining advantage is remarkable and there are examples all through his business history.

There is no reason to believe that these skills and abilities will not transfer to this latest management/negotiation position.  Does anyone expect that Mexico’s President is going to best our President in a one-on-one negotiation?  Who is it that set up the need for this negotiation and who was it that framed the topics to be resolved?  And who is it that is pushing the envelope?  Mexico was placed on the defensive from the moment that Trump was declared the winner of the election.

Vladimir Putin has risen to power through cunning, timing and behind-the-scenes exploitation of others in his quest for power.  I suspect that he is probably one of very few who is fairly evenly matched when it comes to putting a deal together with Trump although he will do that without his typical ace-in-the-hole of being able to say “it will be the way I want it to be, or I’ll walk away.”  Putin is not going one-on-one with the immediate past president of the United States.  Putin had the decided, almost lop-sided, advantage over Obama and I think both knew that.  I am sure Putin knew that even if Obama thought he’d be the winner against Putin.

I suspect Obama’s fear of being embarrassed in a one-on-one with Benjamin Netanyahu is why he treated Netanyahu as he did.  I don’t doubt for a moment that Netanyahu and Trump will have a solid working relationship because each has genuine respect for the other.  That is a big, big part in the art of making the deal.  Each person is comfortable in his or her own skin so the discussion can center on the issues rather who can bark louder or jump higher or make the loudest noise.

We have witnessed the ease with which President Trump has taken on his new role in the world.  He has already taken actions where his predecessor toyed with situations for months before making a decision.  The daily activity in this Oval office is astounding especially compared to the past eight years.  Everyone in a position of leadership in the world sees it as plainly as do we.  Even the media has met its match although most of the players on that side of the game will need months to reach that conclusion.  Few are up to a one-on-one with this President.

China is the far greater issue from the world perspective given our indebtedness and continued need for borrowing huge sums.  I suspect we’ll see some Trump moves in that regard, such as in the South China sea situation, but we have to understand that we are operating under an entirely different set of circumstances in that case.  By the way, I believe that President Trump recognizes those situational differences and did even before he took over the Oval office.

Democrats and those in the press corps loyal to the Democrats (you can guess that number as easily as I) make a big mistake if they underestimate the consummate skills of this new Commander-in-Chief.  He is new to the politics in Washington, D.C., but he has played in world sandbox of politics for many years.  Trump is not likely to pussyfoot around on any major issues, and that will draw ‘clucking’ sounds from many Democrats and some Republicans.  They are as unaccustomed to a person with Trump’s experience and negotiating skills as many of the world’s leaders.

The process of coming to understand just what we have in the Oval office will move more quickly for some than for others no matter what stage they are on.  What we have gives us a decided edge at least for now and, for that reason, I am not at all concerned with the situation with Mexico.  That will be resolved in due time, and it will have tilted to our advantage when the dust has settled.

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