Trump's hard-line negotiation methods could be ruining the US's reputation

  • President Donald Trump has long branded himself an expert negotiator.
  • Recent policy decisions, including his recent exit from planned talks with Kim Jong Un, have cast doubt on Trump’s ability to successfully deal with international actors.
  • Experts say Trump’s erratic ways are jeopardizing US credibility.

President Donald Trump has long branded himself as an expert negotiator.

In his 1987 book, the “Trump: The Art of the Deal,” he called his approach to dealmaking an “art form.”

“I’m really a great negotiator. I know how to negotiate,” he has said.

However, as president, critics have lampooned Trump’s negotiation prowess, particularly when it comes to diplomacy.

On Thursday, Trump announced he was cancelling his planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which had been billed as an effort to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Trump’s decision likely came without any consultation with key ally South Korea, whose president, Moon Jae-in, had just spent time with Trump last week, preparing the US president for the summit.

A photo of Moon and some South Korean officials holding a meeting after learning about Trump’s cancellation hints at the mood in the room.

Experts argue that Trump’s erratic methods could be jeopardizing the US’s credibility, which in turn could further diminish its standing on the world stage.

“If the global perception is that withdrawing from the summit was a sudden and arbitrary decision, and if neither South Korea or Japan were warned in advance of the decision, this reinforces the idea that US is not a reliable negotiator,” Michael Mazarr, senior political scientist at RAND, told Business Insider.

Other policy decisions over the last year have cast doubt on Trump’s ability to successfully deal with international actors.

Last year Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, prompting outcries from Japan, the Pope, and Europe.

And earlier this month, the president controversially withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, a decision that garnered the fury of European allies as they scramble to save the deal and keep Iran in a cooperative mood.

Mazarr asserts that Trump isn’t doing the US “any favours.”

And while Mazarr insists that Trump’s cancellation alone won’t be enough to decimate the US’s global negotiating power, he says some of his recent policy decisions don’t help.

“Trump’s Iran decision may have more serious long-term ramifications,” Mazarr said.

He added: “The sum-total of recent US actions are leading to a point where it will take a long time to build back the US reputation.”

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