China Negotiation Tactic: Pelosi as Bad Cop?

For years – maybe centuries – Chinese negotiators have turned weakness into strength by confounding outsiders with their inscrutable, Byzantine bureaucracy and terrifying brutal rulers.   Well, now that there is a change of administration after 8 long years, US negotiators can finally turn the tables a bit.  ‘Those Democrats – scary bunch.  Trade restrictions.  New quality inspections.  Human rights certifications.  Lots of new regulations, new restrictions, new penalties.  We had better do this deal NOW, or I can’t tell you what the new terms will be…’ 

In addition to the ticking bomb tactic, you and also play this as Good Cop – Bad Cop.  The only thing you have to remember is that you can’t use Obama as Bad Cop – everyone loves him.  No, in China the most terrifying specter you can summon is definitely  Pelosi.  She’s got it all.

  • Terrifying.  Oh, yeah.    
  • Powerful.   She controls the Democratic Congress – with a Democrat in the White House.
  • Mysterious.   Chinese people barely know who she is or what her job is …yet.
  • Capricious.  Unpredictable.  Never know what will set her off or what she’ll care about.
  • Vindictive.  She is not a China fan.  Do a Google search on Pelosi, China.

Chinese men are not afraid of tough men.  The worse that can happen is death.  Chinese men are terrified of tough women.  They can make you wish for death – for a very long time.  (This is more true of Shanghai than anywhere else.)

HINT:  If you do try this, play the ‘capricious’ and ‘mysterious’ cards heavily.  Chinese negotiators tend to see the US negotiating landscape as more stable and transparent then their own.  Any uncertainty you can introduce will weaken their position.

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