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Hussein Ibish

Trump Takes His Nafta Trick to Iran

“Threaten and rebrand” negotiating isn’t pretty. That doesn’t mean it can’t work. 

Carrying a loud stick.

Carrying a loud stick.

Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg

This week Donald Trump hailed the new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada as “a great deal for all three countries.” And maybe it was. But it also was surprisingly similar to the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced — and which Trump has denounced ferociously for years.

The approach appears to be much like the one he’s trying to take with North Korea: start by denouncing and threatening, then work toward achieving modest progress.