Foreign Policy

A Brief Reminder That Trump Doesn’t Make Deals

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trade wars and diplomatic disputes are difficult to end even when the parties involved in them are genuinely interested in making a deal, but Trump doesn't make deals.

The Wall Street Journal reported last night that the Trump regime has rejected a Turkish proposal to release American Christian pastor Andrew Brunson if the U.S. government drops its investigation of a Turkish bank accused of violating Iran sanctions.

That doesn't seem like a equitable exchange to me but, in any case, the Trump regime says there will be no talks and no deals.

WASHINGTON—The Trump administration has rejected an effort by Turkey to tie the release of a U.S. pastor with relief for a major Turkish bank facing billions of dollars in U.S. fines, telling Ankara other issues are off the table until the minister is freed, a senior White House official said. [...]

The White House official said the U.S. made clear to Turkey that areas of dispute between the two nations, including the fines Halkbank faces, won’t be discussed until Mr. Brunson has been released.

Trump apparently believes he can force Erdogan into giving him everything he wants in exchange for nothing and that may sound familiar because it's Trump's approach to virtually every dispute of his own creation.

By dramatically escalating this diplomatic dispute with Turkey into a very public trade war, Trump has left himself and Erdogan little room to back down even if either of the dictators wanted to.

From Iran to Turkey and China, just because another country has less power or money than the United States does not mean they have less dignity or national pride. And unlike the United States, if their leaders kiss Trump's ring the way Trump kisses Putin's ring, they won't remain in office for much longer.

One of the most important parts of any diplomatic effort is to give the other party room to negotiate, but Trump sucks all of the light and oxygen out of diplomacy like a black hole.

In possibly-related news, someone shot at the U.S. embassy in Turkey in a drive-by shooting

  • muselet

    Turkey is not, by pretty much any measure, a paragon of liberal democracy (and not only because Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a dyed-in-the-wool authoritarian). Still, it’s a NATO ally—as Badgerite notes—which usually means conducting diplomatic affairs with the country … erm … diplomatically.

    Andrew Brunson, as I’ve said before, is almost certainly not guilty of any of the nonsensical crimes of which he is accused (the Turkish public seems to like sprawling, incomprehensible conspiracy theories almost as much as Republicans). More likely, Brunson and his tiny congregation pissed off some local Islamists, who sicced the authorities on them. This is an issue which would normally be dealt with somewhere below the ambassadorial level.

    Instead, we have the Trump administration noisily making a public spectacle, and probably turning Brunson from an evangelical cause célèbre into a martyr. Good job, guys.


  • Badgerite

    Even with Erdogan, Turkey is a NATO ally. This is just part and parcel of driving away any allies the US has.

  • Draxiar

    Pumpkinhead only sees “deals” (I’ve come to hate that word) in a binary fashion: I win-you lose. Now, the reality of that dynamic is often, especially lately, has been a little more in depth: You win-I lose but tell everyone I won and you lost. He’s not a complex creature to figure out.

    • And still we see pundits wasting copious amounts of time, trying to “figure” him out and ignoring the very real damage of what he is actually doing.

  • Ceoltoir

    This is one of those times when it should be pointed out just how stupid this considering the history of the region, but as we have seen over and over, Cheetos and his Party have no use for that.

  • katanahamon

    It’s extremely difficult to “get serious” about the details of complex topics when a completely incompetent fool like Rump is involved. I mean, we are talking about a guy that wanted to see tanks and missiles rolling through the streets of Washington, and hate tweets foolishly all day and night.