By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host
The President of the United States is playing poker and chess, while his adversaries are still playing the games of the past.

He was right, NAFTA was a bad deal, and the Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) that replaced it is better and worse, depending upon which paragraphs you are reading.

That said, one thing I have noticed is President Donald J. Trump is a master at winning, understanding all of the components of what is going on, and nudging his opponents in the direction he wants them to go.  He’s a master bluffer, he’s a master at making threats that get results, and each time his prey is 100% positive he will follow throw with his threats if they don’t work with him.

Early on in his presidency I laughed about how the Democrats were absolutely positive that Mr. Trump has an itchy nuclear button finger.  Mr. Trump played on that, and even commented his button was bigger than Kim Jong Un’s.  The thing is, the North Korean leader believed the rhetoric, and that is a large part of what brought him to the negotiation table.  Unfortunately, at this point, we are in a phase of that discussion where Trump has walked away from the used car lot, and Un has proven that dictators will be dictators, and he is not willing to dance with our President on the negotiations dance floor at this moment.  I am thinking that the romance with capitalism Trump has presented to Un will begin to haunt him, and he’ll return to reasonability in the long-run.

The liberal left establishment has freaked out at every turn regarding Trump’s dealings with the Korean communist, not understanding the game being played.  After all, they play checkers, and Trump is playing 3-dimensional chess with the addition of more, relatively complex, game pieces.

It’s like they are stuck in a black and white world, and they can’t understand why Trump is doing the things he’s doing because they simply are incapable of seeing the swirls of color that marches throughout everything Trump does.

Now, President Trump has secured a deal with Mexico, using a chess move he calls “higher tariffs.”  The liberal left screamed, and whined, and screamed bloody murder some more, but in the end, our President has won, once again.

The mainstream media either does not understand the specifics of the new deal with Mexico, or they refuse to report it, because there is not a single article out there I could find that provides those specifics.  The only way to learn anything about the text of the deal, I discovered, is to go to the White House website, or find a few smaller news sources who are trying to give us at least a little bit.

In the end, after threatening high tariffs, and threatening to maintain those high tariffs as long as the illegal alien problem remains as it is without any help from the Mexican government, Mexico has agreed to work with us.  In short, he twisted their arm, and they cried “uncle.”

The reality is that if you are going to illegally cross the southern border into the United States, you have to go through Mexico first.  The majority of the illegal aliens we are seeing crossing into the United States, or are slamming against the border demanding refugee status, are not from Mexico.  They are from Central America, South America, the Middle East, Africa, and even China.  No matter who they are, however, the journey moves through Central America, and ultimately through Mexico.

Trump basically told Mexico that they need to reinforce their southern border, and better police their southern border so that these people don’t get into Mexico in the first place, much less wind up on the door step of the southern U.S.

The problem has been Mexico’s love affair with continuing an authoritarian style of government that is steeped with corruption, the cartels loving illegal immigration for their own nefarious reasons, and a heavy infatuation with socialist-style policies which has left our southern neighbor in economic shambles.  Illegal immigration has actually been good for Mexico economically, partly because when those border-crossers are Mexican, or have someone in Mexico as a contact, a lot of American money ends up being shipped into the country.  The people who cross the southern border of Mexico also brings a lot of money into Mexico.  So, if Trump was going to be able to break that economic incentive, he needed to counter it with an even larger economic disincentive.

Tariffs have historically been used as policy to protect domestic manufacturing, to manipulate who can join the American trade table, and as a means of revenue.  President Trump is not using tariffs as U.S. policy.  He’s using tariffs as a negotiation tool.  He’s been banging the drum, “You will lose more financial blocks in the economic wall if we hit you with high tariffs than any of the financial gain you think you may get by maintaining your current relaxed immigration policy.”

Mexico heard the beating of the drums, and as planned by Trump’s team, came rushing to the negotiations table.

Despite the media and political establishment’s claims that the tariffs were dangerous, would not work, and would destroy the American economy, the tariffs worked, and worked beautifully.  It’s a big win for Trump.  The fact is, we have the largest economy, and despite their attempts to be an obstacle to President Trump and American policies, the reality is that losing ground in its trade agreements with the United States in the terms of tariffs has every country nervous, and ready to work with the President.  The deal with Mexico proves it.

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