But after three summits and more than two years of on-and-off talks, some analysts are asking just how well Trump’s self-proclaimed prowess as a dealmaker translates to the world of diplomacy.
Baruch Fischhoff, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Politics and Strategy, said Trump’s dealmaking with world leaders is influenced by his dealmaking in the business world.
“Mr. Trump’s business experience is primarily as a real estate developer,” Fischhoff said. “In that business arena, it was possible for him to have major properties go bankrupt and still get funding for new ones.”
In the world of business, deals are often viewed through the lens of cost and benefit analysis, and strategies involved are aimed at maximizing profit while minimizing cost, said Vershbow, the former Bush administration ambassador.
However, in the world of diplomacy, Vershbow continued, costs and benefits cannot always be assessed in monetary terms and strategies involved cannot solely be based on gaining financial advantage.
“In the business world, you’re talking about economic benefits and costs,” he said. “It’s kind of fairly dry but straightforward. In [diplomatic] negotiations, there’re many different factors in terms of building trust between different countries, different cultures, and calculating the interest of third parties who may not directly be involved but could be affected. So it’s more complex undertaking.”
It is in the international system of alliances where Trump’s business calculations tend to overshadow the building of relationships and fostering intrinsic values, said Bruce Klingner, former CIA deputy division chief of Korea and current senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
“Trump’s transactional views on the U.S. alliance and the stationing of American troops overseas are at odds with 70 years of post-World War II American strategy,” Klingner said. “Seeking alliances as business transactions, rather than based on [sharing] common values and strategic objectives, is a disservice to the men and women in the U.S. military.”
On the Korean Peninsula, Trump has been