Trump’s reliance on pressure tactics is showing diminishing returns

Though he lured Kim Jong Un to the negotiating table through a “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions, Trump’s historic summits with the young dictator ended in failure after talks collapsed in February.

Beijing attempted to negotiate over Trump’s push for a trade deal, but President Xi Jinping has met successive rounds of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods with commensurate retaliatory measures, deepening an increasingly zero-sum clash between the world’s two largest economies.

And although Mexico took steps to comply with Trump’s hard-line immigration policies — allowing Central American asylum seekers to the United States a temporary haven — Trump’s vow this week to impose sweeping tariffs unless that nation curbs unauthorized immigration into the United States stirred a public backlash.

For Trump, who campaigned on achieving “peace through strength,” the consistent application of a tool kit of toughness has limited his options and left him in a precarious position as he accelerates his campaign for a second term.

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