Critics of the president are accusing him of flip-flopping on issues such as NATO and China. But is he really flip-flopping, or is he simply employing "The Art of the Deal"?
Trump is a great negotiator. As such, he is all too aware that it is nearly impossible to get a good deal from an opponent who believes he is in a position of strength. If you meet an opponent, and tell him up front that he's really great and a credit to his position, you will be strengthening a belief he already has, and from that point on he will feel superior to you. If you then demand something from him, he has little reason to bow to your demands, and you have lost.
A good negotiator will first try to weaken the oppoenent by berating, belittling or otherwise calling their strength into question. In doing so, you at least make it appear that you are the one coming from a position of strength. In nature, it is the bluff and bluster between two opponents that helps to win the battle. Have you never seen the hackles raise and the baring of teeth on a dog?
So, you first weaken the opponent's resolve by instilling doubt. Only then can you approach them with some praise. This creates something not unlike the Stockholm Syndrome, where a kidnap victim comes to identify with, and even protect their abductor. By helping to replenish their feeling of self-worth, they are more apt to show a little gratitude, and they may even be anxious to do things for you, to get your approval.
And if you doubt any of this, think back to you and your father - did you ever find yourself bending over backward in order to gain Dad's approval? Or that of a strict teacher?
President Trump is already getting NATO to update, and getting NATO countries to carry their weight. And he is getting China to help with North Korea - things that previous presidents were unable to accomplish.
Is Trump flip-flopping? Or is he just putting America on the winning side?