Thursday, May 29, 2008

Diplomacy and Negotiation

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.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy
His First Election

By Jerome Grossman
An interesting sidebar to Ted Kennedy's inspiring political history harks back to his first run for the Senate in 1962. It was, as some labeled it, a "battle of the clans": Opposing Kennedy in the Massachusetts Democratic Primary was Edward McCormack, nephew of House Speaker John McCormack; Kennedy's Republican opponent was Yankee scion George Cabot Lodge; and on the left was Independent peace candidate Harvard Prof. H. Stuart Hughes, chair of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, and grandson of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes.

I was Campaign Manager and Chester Hartman was the organizer of the massive signature drive required to place Hughes on the ballot. Hughes needed 72,000 signatures, a purposely prohibitive number in that era of McCarthyism and nobody in fact had tried to reach it since the law had first been passed.

In this talented field, Hughes polled 50,013 votes, 2.3% of the votes cast. However, we collected a startling 149,000 signatures in ten weeks for a "peace candidate." The Cuban Missile Crisis arrived in October just before the election. With the integrity that was his hallmark, Hughes went against the popular hysteria: he accused President Kennedy of acting over hastily in imposing the blockade of Cuba, of bypassing the United Nations, and unnecessarily stirring up an atmosphere of national emergency. His position cost Hughes thousands of votes.

In the process we built a town-by-town organization all over the state, a structure that remains in place today. A clear result has been the election over recent decades of so many progressive voices to the state's first-rate Congressional delegation, including Michael Harrington, Father Robert Drinan, Gerry Studds, Jim McGovern, Barney Frank, Ed Markey, John Tierney and John Kerry.
The Hughes campaign built the strongest statewide peace movement in the country, a movement that changed the face and reputation of Massachusetts politics.


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