Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Quote of the day 25th January 2017

"Better to be respected than liked"

Extracts from an article in the "Bagehot" column of "The Economist" magazine on how Britain should deal with the Trump administration, which you can read in full here.

"Mr Trump’s world is one of muscular conflicts of interest; brute, zero-sum tests of leverage, self-confidence and guile. Sycophancy and flattery may buy one a place in his court but the evidence suggests it comes at the cost of real influence.

If he is solicitous towards Vladimir Putin it is not because the Russian president sucks up to him (in fact his public pronouncements have been cooly non-committal) but because he is a strongman who seems to get his way. Mr Trump admires that.

If he is angry about China, he also commends its leaders’ canny policies. In other words, he respects those who stand up for their interests.

This is the main message ofThe Art of the Deal”:
  • 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”; 
  • You have to believe in yourself or no one else will”;
  • When somebody challenges you, fight back. Be brutal, be tough.”
All of which begs the question: could the new president’s early encounters with Britain’s fawning establishment turn out to have made him a less, not more, accommodating partner in the long term? Why ever cede ground to a government that instinctively gives it up for free?"

"This is not to say Mrs May should seek conflict with Mr Trump. Far from it. The prime minister was right to send two chiefs of staff to New York last month to meet the transition team. She is also right to visit Washington, D.C. early in his presidency (the dates will be made public soon after today’s inauguration).

But she should do so while clarifying and sticking to certain red lines; principles by which she intends to conduct the partnership and ensure it serves Britain’s interests. Mrs Merkel’s response to the election result—looking forward to cooperation “on the basis” of “common values”—points to the conditional sort of friendship London should seek.

If we know one thing about America’s colourful new president, it is that he does not do long-term alliances or sentimental friendships. He does case-by-case deals. This transactional world, his world, will now circumscribe the transatlantic relationship. And in this world it is better to be respected than liked."

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