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We need to talk about Donald or why Mediation trumps megaphone diplomacy

By: stagedoorscribbler - July 2, 2018

Paul Randolph

President Trump’s unilateral and blinkered thrashing around on the world stage has, not surprisingly, horrified politicians, academics and those wedded to the concepts of old school diplomacy and carefully regulated trade deals. 

What on earth to do? For heaven’s sake Trump’s even suggesting inviting President Vladimir Putin back to the negotiating table, a move supported by the Italian Prime Minister.

Politicians being politicians the instinct to  is to fight. To retaliate against hiked trade tariffs and dig their heels in over any suggestion that Putin - booted out of the then G8 in 2014 over the illegal annexation of Crimea - should be welcomed back to the fold.

Despite Trumps extraordinary behaviour at the G7 in Quebec last month,  some forward thinkers believe that mediation is the way. That we must accept that the world has changed and should at least start listening to what the leader of the world’s most powerful nation as to say. A digest of this radical thinking was contained in a selection of letter’s to The Times with Lord Desai  suggesting that  the old order of liberal trade in a globalised world collapsed back in 2008 and that “Trump views the world not as a concert of western powers orchestrated by the US but as a series of bilateral relationships. It might be an idea for the world to listen to him more carefully than it is doing.” 

Barrister Paul Randolph, mediation course leader at London’s Regent’s University who has worked closely with the Tutu Foundation UK agreed: His letter printed immediately beneath that of Lord Desai’s stated. 

Sir, The Italian prime minister may have a point in trying to bring Russia back into the elite club. From a negotiation/mediation perspective, it is futile to exclude the opposing side from the table.

 If one group wishes to be heard the effective way is to demonstrate that they are willing — indeed eager — to truly listen to the other group. Megaphone diplomacy is counterproductive. Your leading article is right in many ways: the world is in flux, and Trump’s shift from western values to global values may reduce the number of “them and us” confrontations. Opposing visions are most successfully exchanged, explained and clarified in a “conducive and safe” environment. 

Paul Randolph
Mediation course leader, Regent’s University London

It’s an interesting view and one that I am sure Archbishop Desmond Tutu would understand.  No matter how much you hate what Trump is doing it’s counterproductive to close your ears to what he is doing and saying.