Threatening others is not a great sales strategy

The US President made an ill-advised move to declare Jerusalem Israel’s capitol saying the US would move its embassy there. The dilemma is it’s a lightning rod of a change, with Palestinians laying claim as well. Yet, after the UN Security Council voted 14 to 1 against this declaration with the US being outnumbered, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, extended the President’s threat to cut funding to the countries who voted against the US.

Well, in a show of defiance, the entire UN body voted 128 to 9 against the US decision. Some small African nations, who heavily rely on US funding, acquiesced to the threat. Several countries abstained since the did not want to unsettle the sensitive President, but the sizable vote count should serve as an embarrassment to him. In sports and politics that would be called a rout.

It is my guess the President will remain defiant as it is not in his nature to admit a mistake, but one thing the President absolutely detests is being made to look bad. We should not forget his recorded comment that asked Enrique Peña Nieto, the Mexican President, to say openly Mexico would pay for the wall as “it was making him look bad” if they did not.

We should remind the President that his decisions and comments are what are making him look bad. When he announced that the US would be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Change Accord on June 1, it was the day after Exxon-Mobil shareholders voted against a management recommendation to require management to disclose what they are doing to battle climate change, the third fossil fuel based company to be so required in May following shareholder votes at PPL and Occidental Petroleum. The shareholders did what the President would not, go against the wishes of a petroleum company’s management.

To further illustrate US isolation on this Paris withdrawal, we are the lone county not to participate once the withdrawal becomes effective. We are also one of the biggest polluters, which seems fairly un-neighborly to thumb our nose at the rest of the world. Our country was also not invited to a climate change planning conference earlier this month in France. The US did have representation from several states, cities and business leaders who have picked up the baton the President dropped, but our government was not represented nor wanted.

My biggest fear going in with the bullying President was his not supporting climate change action. But, the greater fear is making the US a pariah in the world, someone who threatens other countries. If a country has a choice to deal with the US President or not, unless avoiding pain or accomplishing gain is compelling, the answer may be “no, thank you” more than it would have been before this President took office. Threats will not help in this cause, as illustrated at the UN.

China is benefitting from our retrenching position in the world. Xi Jinping is a more rational and trusted leader than the US President. Even domestic US leaders know not to trust the President at his word, including Republicans who suffer in silence. Lying and bullying are not admirable traits. Fortunately, leaders like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron are picking up the mantle as true leaders of the Western world.

In closing, if there is a visual metaphor of the bullying US President, it occurred during a meeting with fellow NATO leaders in Brussels earlier this year. President Trump appeared to shove Prime Minister Milo Dukanovic of Montenegro aside in order to position himself front and center for photographers. A bull in a china shop, so to speak.

16 thoughts on “Threatening others is not a great sales strategy

    • Janis, the threatening will add to our isolation. This was extremely poor form, to alienate people and countries over a poor decision. He will rationlize this as will his sycophants, but lopsided losses like this are not good for his or our reputation. Keith

    • Gronda, indeed we look like fools. It is already in evidence the President will double down on this sleight. His sycophants will pile on and he will take pride in being the outlier. Keith

  1. Good post, my friend. As I always say, great minds think alike. I had forgotten about the last incident you mention, where he visibly shoved Prime Minister Milo Dukanovic aside in his hurry to be ‘front and center’ for the photo op. And you said it all when you referred to him as the proverbial ‘bull in a china shop’. I am so ashamed of him and of the fact that there are still people in this country who think he is ‘great’. I am afraid to ask the question “what’s next” for I’m afraid of the answer. Sigh.

    • Jill, many thanks. There is one mantra we must not forget – you cannot shrink to greatness. Pulling back from global agreements, bullying other leaders and making decisions based on what a very limited audience in the US might think are not ingredients for growth. Keith

      • Quite so … one cannot shrink to greatness, and one cannot be great if he refuses to listen to those who are more educated and knowledgeable. He ran his businesses with threats, bullying and browbeating, and he seems determined to try to run this nation in the same manner. I’ve got news for him … he is sooner or later destined to hit a brick wall, and it won’t be on the U.S. – Mexican border!.

      • Jill, Warren Buffett said Obama is the best editor of information he had ever seen. Trump’s folks don’t tell him certain things do as not to upset him. I know it is a bad mental picture, but few want to tell this emperor he has no clothes. Keith

  2. This little fool is incapable to playing the hard long games seasoned politicians do every month.
    Mentioning China Keith. Trump’s move on Jerusalem is a gift to China. Guess who will ready to step into the gap if the USA doesn’t supply aid.
    What a fool!
    Best wishes

    • Roger, China is playing the long game and will be the dominant economic power in the future, if they are not that now. Yes, they have issues, but their blend of socialism and capitalism permits then to more easily invest in big things. The Trump/ Bannon model will make us a smaller fish. Keith

      • Indeed Keith. These are little men with no sense of the forces at play……no Mr Bannon not Conspiracy forces!- The forces of Human interactions which History illustrates to us over and over again.

      • Roger, Bannon wants to convince everyone all institutions are bad and must be destroyed. The real challenge is bureaucracy, not the institutions. We must constantly challenge the efficacy of regulations and institutions make them better where we can.

        My favorite example is Erskine Bowles, as Bill Clinton’s Director of the Small Business Administration reduced the application for help from 42 pages to two. That is the kind of change that we need, not eliminating an agency. Keith

      • This is the constant challenge Keith to balance simplicity with rigour of the law. Often an administrative action will be an effort to cover all the bases or options within a law.
        Bannon’s ideas are quite ridiculous and would lead back to the ages of the barons of the Middle Ages with each powerful person or combine holding sway.
        His mindset appears to be set in a mythical notion of the Pioneer Age, and no doubt influenced by the film ‘How The West Was Won.’ (one of my favourites by the way)

      • Roger, great movie, but probably more of a showcase for Debbie Reynolds’ talents than historical accuracy. Bannon needs to be challenged for his thinking, as it quite dangerous wanting to tear down relationships between people, countries and those who serve. David Brooks, the conservative columnist, noted how sad public servants and staff are under this President. He said they feel their work is not valued and many are frustrated by in-fighting in the White House. There have been about 750 people who have left the EPA this year. We are peeing away intellectual capital and don’t realize yet what we have lost. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: It should be said that Trump threatens everyone who disagrees with him, usually name calling as he is not too steeped on details. These global threats are par for the course for our tempestuous President.

  4. Note to Readers: Apparently, the US ambassador to The Netherlands likes to emulate his boss’ boss. As reported in The Guardian today about declaring fake news in our recorded world:

    Trump’s new choice for ambassador, Pete Hoekstra, who was only sworn in by the vice president, Mike Pence, on 11 December, was being interviewed for current affairs programme Nieuwsuur by reporter Wouter Zwart.

    Zwart says: “You mentioned in a debate that there are no-go zones in the Netherlands, and that cars and politicians are being set on fire in the Netherlands.”

    Hoekstra replies: “I didn’t say that. This is actually an incorrect statement. We would call it fake news.”

    Hoekstra is then shown clips of him saying: “The Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos. Chaos in the Netherlands, there are cars being burnt, there are politicians that are being burnt … and yes there are no-go zones in the Netherlands.”

    Challenged about having called this “fake news”, Hoekstra then went on to deny to Zwart that he had in fact used the phrase “fake news”.

    “I didn’t call that fake news. I didn’t use the words today. I don’t think I did.”
    Nothing like putting your best foot forward in an initial impression. Lying twice in one sitting takes an effort.

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