Archive for February, 2016

Feb 25 2016

Deterrence & Spiral Model

Deterrence and Spiral Model are compared in Chapter 3 of Perception and Misperception in International Politics by Robert Jervis (1976). For Deterrence, when there is a belief by aggressor ‘status quo power’ are not able to end the conflict, the main problem occurs. (p.58) For Spiral Model, as a critique of deterrence, the essence which causes adversary is the anarchical nature of international politics as the system is based on self-help. (p.62)

In negotiation, generally, we have parties which have issues and tries to reach a resolution of conflict over the issues. However, during a negotiation, we have some problems for example lack of information, trust, miscalculation etc, as well. In this chapter, I could also add that negotiation is something ‘intersubjective’ as deterrence and spiral models are generally based on perceptions of the other parties, rooted in power relations, past experiences, fear and reciprocity. (p. 75- 79) In addition to this, I would assert that although the hypotheses seem very useful considering the role of ‘other’ in Deterrence and Spiral Model, I would also like to read the ideas of the author on self-assessment (calculation of one’s own power), as we know from Fearon(1995) that it is very crucial to calculation and decision to go into a war or not. Moreover, although the author mentions the importance of taking the reaction of 3rd parties into account by the powerful party over the small one (p. 97), he does not give place it in his hypotheses.

To sum up, as the author also recognizes the fundamental differences of Deterrence and Spiral Model Theorists over values, morality and empirical analyses, reading the assessment of turning points in history of international relations from these two opposite points of view is valuable to widen our own perspective.

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Feb 25 2016

Explanation of War & Failure of Negotiations

Fearon, in Rationalist Explanations for War (1995), asserts that people might be irrational as they can ignore the costs of war. In addition, sometimes the leaders benefit from war or, thirdly, although leaders calculate costs and risks of war, they can decide on war. (p. 379- 380)

In this article, he takes the third argument which he calls ‘rational’ (p.379) and stresses on central puzzle, in which ‘states should have incentives to locate negotiated settlements that all would prefer to gamble of war’. (p. 380) While doing this, he also underlines the miscalculation caused by lack of information and also inability to calculate relative power in five points which also includes anarchy, expected benefits and rational preventive war. (p. 381)  I really like his points, especially on wanted/ unwanted wars, preemptive- preventive wars, failure of diplomacy to prevent lack of information but, I really wonder his suggestions to overcome this problem.

Zartman, in the chapter of ‘Ripeness Revisited’ in Negotiation and Conflict Management (2008) emphasizes the reason for the parties’ suspicions to efforts of the other party to reach a resolution. He starts with describing the ripe moment in which the conflict cannot be escalated anymore, the parties feel themselves in a deadlock due to Mutually Hurting Stalemate (MHS) and look for a Way Out. Although MHS is based on cost- benefit analysis, WO is perceptional for him. (p. 232- 233) He also points out the effects of MHS on negotiation by stressing the pressure that can prevent to reach an enduring solution as it cannot lead to meet the interests and needs of the parties better than status-quo. (p. 236) What I like in this chapter was his explanation on why parties use violence especially in an intrastate conflict but I would like to read how states legitimize their tendency for negotiation while the rebels use violence as the public always ask why to negotiate with the ones who destroy the people of the country. In addition, he brings Mutually Enticing Opportunity (MEO) for a comprehensive negotiation for resolution, rather than management, as in MHS, I would like to see his perspectives on audit of the negotiated agreement as he also touches on the situation of rebels in post- conflict.

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Feb 13 2016

Why Can We Consider Kosovo-Serbia Relations as ‘Conflictual’?

Having read Rubin, Pruitt & Kim, (Chapter 1 in Social Conflict, 2003), Tidwell (Chapter 1 in Conflict Resolved, 2004) and Rasmussen, (Peacemaking in the Twenty-First Century: New Rules, New Roles, New Actors, 1997) it is clear that the concept of ‘conflict’ does not mean only physical struggle or dispute among parties, but also it reflects psychological underpinings by physical confrontation. As Rasmussen asserts that especially after the end of the Cold War, we have witnessed that beside the disputes over resources, identities also played important roles in the evolution of the conflicts. Therefore, I would pick the Kosovo- Serbian relations as an example of conflicts in the World as their relations included armed conflicts/war in 90s and now they still have disputes over resources both material and immaterial. By saying material, I mean use of natural resources, electricity and budget etc. For the immaterials I would name conflict in international arena to be or not to make Kosovo recognised. In addition, most people have percieved divergence of interest (Rubin, page 5) and also war memories that make solutions hard to achieve. Therefore, with it’s physical and psychological elements, briefly mentioned above, Kosovo- Serbian relations could be an example of conflict.

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Feb 12 2016

Key Concepts for Negotiation

As a graduate student, I write response for every week on various subjects and I decided to publish them for the ones who are interested. They are very short and aims brief coverage. Therefore, they can just provide a starting point.


And here is the first one on Key Concepts for Negotiation:


By reading Harford, in the Logic of Life (2008), we can assert that people are rational as they calculate the cost, benefit and consequences of their actions, rather consciously or unconsciously, for their future as well as for the present(p. 4). Whereas he opposes ‘Homo Economicus’ in four manners as “people are motivated by all kinds of normal human emotions”(p.11).

Wit, in his article ‘ How ‘Crazy’ Are The North Koreans? ’, says that North Koreans are rational and realist as they are survival oriented. From his words, ‘We simply don’t take them seriously’, I can infer that recognition is central for negotiation, as we have actors and issue(s) to be discussed to solve the conflict, although it is sometimes held just to gain time when other games are played.

In Harvard Law School, Program on Negotiation Report, (no.10, 2012) basic ‘technical’ concepts, such as BATNA(Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement), reservation value, target value are introduced. After that, we read a brief roadmap for a negotiation strategy.

Lastly, in Muthoo’s article named A Non-Technical Introduction to Bargaining Theory (in World Economics, April-June 2000), we read some principles for ‘bargaining’. Such as patience, inside- outside options, bargaining power of the negotiators, breaking down risk, commitment, asymmetric information. Although I liked his points, I would like to come up with some thoughts. First, he does not clearly make a separation between bargaining and negotiation, because we know from Hopmann that ‘bargaining is not negotiation’(1995). Second, as Muthoo uses marital bargaining example, this makes me remember realist approach of ‘Battle of Sexes’ in which a couple try to reach an agreement on their vacation. Therefore, I would like to read integrative and distributive negotiations regarding this situation and also the ‘expanding the pie’ approach. Third, as he puts emphasis on impatience and asymmetric information, I would like to read his thoughts on lack of trust, role of outsiders (their manipulation). Fourth, we can reach some blueprints for power asymmetry in bargaining power coming from outside options, I would like to see power asymmetry situations in negotiation. Lastly, I think that he makes clear the problems and their consequences but does not mention how to overcome them.


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