Diplomacy and Negotiation
By Jerome Grossman
At a White House luncheon, June 26, 1954, at the height of the Cold War and McCarthyism, Winston Churchill remarked, "To jaw- jaw is always better than to war-war."
In his inaugural address, January 20, 1961, also during the Cold War, President John F. Kennedy stated, "Let us never to negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate."
Negotiations are the basic tools of diplomacy and statecraft, used to prevent conflict, to conclude wars, to resolve crises, to reconcile with former or current enemies, to build coalitions, to mobilize relief efforts after conflicts or natural disasters, to forge trade agreements, to transform behavior patterns, etc..
Direct talks provide a view into the psychic and political world of other nations and groups, learning about their aims, wants, needs and fears, as well as their readiness and capability to change. Why would we deny ourselves such important tool available for promoting our interests around the globe and preventing military conflict?
The Bush-Cheney policy of saber rattling around the globe is the most self-defeating policy imaginable. It achieves nothing but spurs instability and actually increases popular support of the leaders of rival nations. May the next President be committed to emphasizing diplomacy and negotiation as the primary tools of our country in foreign affairs Military preemption should be at the bottom of the list of possible actions and used only in the rarest of circumstances when the required intelligence has been rechecked and confirmed.
Styles of diplomacy and negotiation vary from nation to nation and leader to leader. The procedure usually involves the following steps:
1. Deciding the objective
2. Preparing the case
3. Assessing the interests of the other side
4. Preparing concessions that do not harm the objective
5. Making contact with the other side at lower functionary level's
6. Negotiating the endgame at the second highest level but under the supervision of the highest level
7. Ceremonial signing of the accords with pomp and circumstance
Almost always the agreements are zero-sum games in which both sides attain their objectives. If there is an imbalance, there is usually a default early or later
Only rarely do the negotiations begin at the top leadership level, but given the history of the Bush-Cheney regime and its unilateral tendencies, the next President may initiate leader to leader talks to dramatize change in U.S. policies sending a signal to the entire world.