It doesn't happen often, but Twitter delivers some pretty useful insights on occasion. Though I remain unconditionally opposed to the ridiculous "threading" format – seriously, just get a blog already – this string of posts by Matthew Chapman offers a useful way of conceptualizing Trump's worldview in terms of negotiating.

Briefly, he is a con man. Like many con men, he presumes that everyone else is also a con man. This is how many Wall Street and real estate types morally justify their behavior – I am doing nothing wrong by ripping you off, since the entire economy is everybody trying to rip everybody else off.

Since everyone is trying to rip everyone off, a deal in which the other party is enthusiastic is de facto evidence that you have been ripped off. Nothing can be mutually beneficial, even though making mutually beneficial transactions is like, the Page 1 definition in every textbook ever written about a market economy or even a barter system. Nope. The other party being pleased with the arrangement means you got fucked, period.

Therefore every "deal" the United States has ever made with another country is bad, because if the United States was not getting fucked then the other country would not have wanted to make the deal.

God only knows what really goes on in that desiccated brain of his, but this is one potential explanation that lends a bit of coherence to his insistence on pulling the United States out of NATO, out of the Iran deal, out of treaties, out of free trade agreements, out of everything. Either the other country is clearly getting fucked, or we are. No other outcome can exist.

10 thoughts on “DEAL-MAKING ARTS”

  • Fwiw, Melville's final (and finest) novel, The Confidence-Man, perfectly outlines this mindset, central to American-ness, and therefore to American naivete and callousness about the world at large.

    And DH Lawrence had a great quip: "The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer. It has never yet melted."

  • John Danley says:

    We receive VIP seating to witness a global gambit of zero-sum numbfuckery executed indiscriminately by a conspiratorial slob.

  • Dave Bearse says:

    Of course Trump is a man that can't be happy unless he's fucking someone else. Because all he knows is that if that is not occurring that he's being fucked. Sad were he not President.

  • I’m inclined to agree with this. It’s striking how willing he was to file bankruptcy and give up on businesses in the past. His recent business ventures were not even him building garbage looking structures but just marketing his name. The surrealist aspect of President Donald Trump still overwhelms me. I don’t understand how this has happened to us.

  • Reminds me of the old poker saying: "If you can't figure out who is the patsy, then you're the patsy."

  • Josh Marshall on TPM today in "Thoughts on Trump's attempted trade wars" : "International trade is complicated and involves lots of dimensions I don’t have sufficient knowledge about. But again, that’s not what any of this is about. This is a large scale version of Trump’s practice of pressing for super low rates for a service and then not even paying the vendor. They gotta problem with that? Fine, sue me! He needs to win and you need to lose. Indeed, he won’t know he’s won until you lose. This is not a recipe for any kind of longterm success for a great power or really any major state for that matter. You can see it in Trump’s own history, which is a long one of burned bridges, banks that shut him out and people who refused any longer to do business with him. That’s why he became dependent on criminal money from overseas and scams like Trump University."

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