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New York Times, May 18, 2017: Tips for Leaders Meeting Trump: Keep It Short and Give Him a Win
As per the NYT article, foreign embassies in Washington have been trading tips and advising their ministers back home on how to handle the "mercurial, strong-willed leader with no real experience on the world stage, a preference for personal diplomacy and a taste for glitz". What has emerged is a list of tips to handle Trump in meetings and conversations:
"Keep it short — no 30-minute monologue for a 30-second attention span. Do not assume he knows the history of the country or its major points of contention. Compliment him on his Electoral College victory. Contrast him favorably with President Barack Obama. Do not get hung up on whatever was said during the campaign. Stay in regular touch. Do not go in with a shopping list but bring some sort of deal he can call a victory."
"Bear in mind this is still a guy who focuses on wins...He likes to have wins for America and wins for himself from bilateral meetings.”
"He is a deal maker, a pragmatist.
"He has a limited attention span and absolutely won’t want to listen to visitors droning on for a half-hour — or longer if they need an interpreter."
I had to smile when I read this. The recent visits by leaders of foreign countries seem to bear this out. They go out of their way to compliment and praise Trump on a host of issues, and always mention his big victory over Hillary Clinton. In other words, they know how to pander to his big ego.
And dumb down group presentations to the lowest common denominator.
Is this what foreign diplomacy has degenerated to?
Sure all foreign leaders do their homework on each other before engaging in meetings, but in Trump's case the list of trivialities that make him responsive is somewhat amusing if it were not for the fact that it's a list for how to manipulate the president of the United States.
Don't know how it will work out on his nine day trip, but the Saudis seem to have gotten the message.