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The Worst Deals Ever

What Trump Misses About the Art of Foreign Policy Negotiation

Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump in Iowa, September 2016.  Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

The secret to U.S. President Donald Trump’s successful foreign policy, he often claims, is his knack for cutting a great deal. A real estate mogul and author of several books about the art of negotiations, Trump made dealmaking a central theme of his 2016 campaign. He blasted international agreements negotiated by his predecessors as the “worst deals ever” and claimed that he could do a far better job on behalf of the American people. After decades of “losing” on trade and being cheated by free-riding allies, the United States would finally have a leader willing to “put America first.” Trump would not hesitate to make more ambitious demands and confront adversaries and allies alike. And instead of paying the bills for some notional liberal international order, he would leverage the United States’ immense financial and military power in the name of driving harder bargains that would serve the national

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