The Japanese prime minister is meeting Donald Trump. President Obama warns that you can’t reverse globalisation, and China says it didn’t invent what Mr Trump calls the ‘Chinese created climate change hoax’.
“Excuse me Madam, would you like this beautiful handbag?”
“To you, one hundred euros.”
“Okay madam, how about 90 euros?”
“I’ll give you three euros for it.”
“What, I have wife and three children, would you see me starve.” … breaks down and cries. . . “you can have it for 50 euros, but that is taking food from the mouths of my children.”
We all know the story. When negotiating, start with an extreme position.
Is that what Donald Trump has done? Put the fear of god up NATO members to get them to spend a touch more on defence. Make the sounds of an anti-climate change cynic, to get other countries to take it more seriously? Bang the protectionist drums in-order to get your trading partner to dance to your beat?
Meanwhile, Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, is the first world leader to meet up with President Elect Trump. In the US, it is not uncommon to see Japanese cars ceremoniously destroyed at events – a symbol of the US car industry fighting back. But these days, Japanese car exports to the US are modest, its car giants are major investors in the US, their cars are made in the land of Uncle Sam. Can Uncle Shinzo get Uncle Don to see this? Maybe a good negotiator would pretend he can’t see it.
Barack Obama has been meeting up with his good friend, Angela Merkel. In a joint communique, the US President and German Chancellor said: “There will be no return to a world before globalisation. We owe it to our companies and our citizens, indeed to the entire world community, to broaden and deepen our co-operation." But will Mr Trump and his good friend Steve Bannon see it that way?
As for climate change, during the Presidential campaign, Mr Trump said that it was a hoax advanced by the Chinese, which is odd, as China is a bigger burner of fossil fuels than the US.
Now China has responded saying, “but, President Reagan and Bush senior talked about climate change before we had even heard of it.” Or if you want it more accurately, China’s vice foreign minister, Liu Zhenmin said: "If you look at the history of climate change negotiations, actually it was initiated by the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] with the support of the Republicans during the Reagan and senior Bush administration during the late 1980s.”
But then maybe a great negotiator may secretly understand this, but openly deny it.
They used to call Ronald Reagan the Great Communicator. It is to be hoped that history will recall Donald Trump as the Great Negotiator, the alternative may take the food from our grandchildren’s mouths.