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THE ART OF THE GEOLAE

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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2018

THE ART OF THE GEOLAE

President Donald Trump makes such a big deal of his advanced negotiating skills, but the tactics he shares in his book “The Art of the Deal” are really so rudimentary that they are just clichés:
“The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.”
Is that profound or what? Such advice was exceedingly obvious long before Donald Trump had his ghostwriter churn out his “Art” best-seller (don’t ask me why it was a best-seller), before he had even stiffed his first vendor or evicted his first tenant. And North Korean leaders, from the first Kim to the present one, had already made push-pull bargaining into an art form. Not only have they always operated on the belief that agreements are made to be broken, but they were masters of cognitive dissonance. Just when hopes have been raised now that they’ll sit down and talk, just when they have engaged in some sweet-talking beforehand, suddenly they turn nasty and threaten to bail out. It’s vintage Kim. Sometimes they actually do cancel. In fact, one could easily believe that they could have written a much more authoritative book, perhaps calling it “The Art of the Geolae.” (If my cybertranslator is correct, that means “deal” in Korean. If not, I hope it’s not something really smutty. )
That explains the Trumpster and the Kimster sliding back and forth between making nice and trash talking. Even before they went through the complicated choreography to set up their first date, they were busy snarling, calling each other juvenile names like “Little Rocket Man” and “Dotard.” Kim was testing more and more powerful nuclear weapons, while Trump was threatening to blow North Korea to smithereens. The entire world trembled at the prospect of human annihilation, but Donny and Kimmy were really just engaging in foreplay, the result of which is a promised extraordinary face-to-face meeting between the two in Singapore next month.
on people ... if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”

© 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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That, of course, assumes the session will actually happen. Between now and then, we will witness all kinds of bluster. The whole shebang could be canceled and then, at the last minute, restarted. Kim is just the latest to put on his unhappy face, assigning surrogates to threaten withdrawal because of routine South Korea-U.S. military exercises and because of any impression that the North is willing to give up too much. Meanwhile, Trump is engaging in his normal face-saving, insisting that, “If the meeting, when I’m there, isn’t fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.”
All that is positioning, of course, so predictable that it isn’t even worth anyone’s attention. At the very same time they are hard at work preparing for the get-together in case it does happen. POTUS hopefully is being forced to sit still for briefings about Marshal and Dear Respected Comrade Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army. Perhaps, the president will spend time with Dennis Rodman, who has hung out several times with the Dear Respected one and might have some insights. And in Pyongyang, the chairman of everything might be told that all Americans are not alike, that Trump and Rodman are just flamboyant in different ways; Trump has fewer piercings.
The biggest reason the Singapore Summit actually might happen is that both Kim and Trump are showmen. The meetings will get boffo ratings, although Trump with have to explain why that matters. Both should know that what ultimately does matter is results. To quote from “Art of the Deal” (Geolae) again:
“You can’t con people ... if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”

© 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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