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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/9/18

Trump's Art of the No Deal (revised and updated)

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From Robert Reich Blog


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Trump promised to be America's deal-maker in chief.

"We need a leader that wrote The Art of the Deal," he said in the speech announcing his candidacy. "I'm a negotiator. I've done very well over the years through negotiation," he said during a Republican debate. "That's what I do, is deals," he said in May. "I know deals, I think, better than anybody knows deals."

Rubbish. So far, Trump has made no deals at all, and the ones he thinks he's made have unraveled.

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He has no deal with North Korea. Following his June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un, Trump declared on Twitter that "there is no longer a nuclear threat" from North Korea.

In fact, recent satellite images show that North Korea has upgraded a nuclear facility. It also appears to be finalizing the expansion of a ballistic missile manufacturing site.

Instead of surrendering its nuclear stockpile, American intelligence says North Korea is considering ways to conceal it at secret production facilities.

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As if to drive home the point that there's been no deal, just after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pyongyang to start filling in the "nitty-gritty details" of Kim's vague commitment, the North accused the Trump administration of pushing a "unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization," calling it "deeply regrettable."

Trump apologists say the supposed deal with North Korea will take time.

Maybe. But Kim got everything he wanted from the summit -- an American president appearing to grant North Korea co-equal status, and cancellation of joint military exercises with South Korea -- without conceding anything on weapons and missile programs.

Trump has no trade deals, either. Instead, he's launched simultaneous trade wars with Europe, China, Canada, and Mexico.

After slapping tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports, China has retaliated with tariffs on $34 billion of American exports. Trump is now threatening tariffs on nearly everything China exports to the United States, as well as a clampdown on Chinese investment here.

After Trump raised tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, they also retaliated. They promise further retaliation if Trump acts on his threat to place a 20 percent tariff on imported cars and car parts.

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Are these Trump's negotiating tactics? "Every country is calling every day, saying, let's make a deal, let's make a deal," he boasted last week.

More rubbish. Trump's actions have poisoned relations to such an extent that instead of joining the United States to, say, push China to open its markets, our trading partners -- including China -- are starting to join together to stop Trump from doing worse damage.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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