Donald Trump ran for U.S. President, among other things, as "the great negotiator." His book, The Art of the Deal, was highly touted in evidence. (He didn't write that book, and the ghost writer has had some pointed things to say about him.)
He's now been in office for 2 years and some change, so we've had a chance to see him at it. I was going to discuss his many failings as a negotiator, starting with the fact that he has only a limited understanding of how his opponents think; but I realized it would take a full volume, not just a blog post. But for a blatant example of his ineptness, I refer you to an article in the April 25 Economist called America Wants to Challenge Rogue Petrostates. As I read it, I found myself shaking my head.
The incident which blew me away in its stupidity was related to the Iran oil ban. He announced in May 2018, when he withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement, that America would impose sanctions on Iran's oil industry, starting in November. To support this, he dickered with OPEC to increase oil production, to help restrain oil prices. Saudi Arabia did this, increasing production by 600,000 barrels a day from June to November. This was quite generous of the Saudis, since they require an oil price of something like $80-$85 per barrel to balance the national budget.
Just before the sanctions were to take effect, he announced sanction waivers for 8 countries, including China and India (the biggest investors in Iran oil) - and he didn't warn the Saudis, who reduced production in December, along with the rest of OPEC, when oil prices fell to $51 a barrel. And he considers MBS a good friend.
The rest of the Economist article, which I highly recommend, goes into detail on several other aspects of Trump's attempts to manipulate the oil market to support his policy positions, apparently with less idea of how the oil market works than I have. Or for that matter, with less idea of how the international financial market works than I have.
I didn't vote for him; I wouldn't vote for him for second assistant dog-catcher. But we're stuck with him, at least until 2020 (I hope, no longer), and every so often I have to rant about him. Thank you for reading.