Opinion: Trump, Tillerson using coordinated negotiation tactics toward North Korea

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson makes a statement at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Negotiation. It’s a vital skill that not many world leaders truly possess.

It is also what our president has been known for throughout his career and a big reason why he was elected. The president is using well-known negotiating tactics in dealing with North Korea.

Let’s break it down.

Secretary of State Tillerson recently said that the U.S. is in direct conversation with North Korea.

In response, President Trump sent out a series of tweets about North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, or, as we are coming to know him, “Little Rocket Man.”

The president wrote that Secretary Tillerson is “wasting his time” by trying to talk with North Korea.

So, when the president directly contradicted his secretary of state critics, predictably, rang every alarm they could find and alleged that the administration was in disarray on the North Korea issue.

That assessment is wrong. This is negotiation 101. It’s called good cop – bad cop.

The president is sending a message to Kim Jong Un that if you do not back down in diplomatic discussions with Tillerson, you’re going to have to deal directly with Donald Trump - who will be a lot less interested in niceties.

This is a multi-tiered approach to force North Korea and its seemingly unhinged leader to end their reckless behavior.

Here is the bottom line: we hope that diplomatic measures will cause North Korea to come to its senses. Diplomacy is more likely to succeed due to these well designed mixed messages from the president and his secretary of state, and because of the assured destruction North Korea faces if they do not get in line.

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