Archive for the 'International Negotiation' Category

Apr 25 2016

Mediation in IR

When the conflicting parties cannot find a way out, the need might arise for a third party intervention. In international conflicts this intervention can be in forms of facilitation, arbitration, adjudication and mediation. In ‘The Politics of International Arbitration and Adjudication’(2013) by Stephen E. Gent, we see when, why and over which issues the states choose arbitration and adjudication, which is the most binding type of intervention as it is conducted by international law and courts, here of course we put aside the discussion about the international law itself, in an anarchical structure. In his article ‘Using the Right Tool for the Job: Mediator Leverage and Conflict Resolution’(2013), Beardsley discusses the styles for a mediator using leverage as a persuasion method over the conflicting parties with its strengths and weaknesses. Among the all articles, however, I found the Zartman reading ‘International Mediation’ the most comprehensive one as he looks at also the question by which motivations a third party intervenes into a conflict besides the motivations of the conflicting parties to consider mediation as an attempt to resolve the conflict. In addition, he also gives prescription for the timing of the intervention, underlining the ripe moment and the importance of persuasion not only showing the resolution something desirable but also by using power. He also frames the ways which the power changes the form according to ‘triangle’, mediator as communicator, as formulator and manipulator based on the stage of the conflict. However, after all these 3 pieces, I would also like to read the place, tactics, role of spoilers in a mediation as the mediator also have to keep them under control. In addition, as we know from mediation literature, generally the moderate ones in a party mostly take the prior roles in a mediation process. Therefore, I wonder how to keep the balance with those moderate and hard-liners in a party. I would consider the question, what would a mediator should do when there is a power asymmetry among/ between parties, as sometimes mediators choose the way to strengthen the weaker party but Zartman already puts the importance of being more powerful vis-à-vis other party to accept the mediation.

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Apr 25 2016

‘Two Level Games’, by Putnam, 1988

The differences, similarities and linkage between domestic and international systems has always been one of the most popular subjects in IR. Although some argue that there is no relationship between the two or rejects the effects on each other, we can easily observe the relation considering historical and contemporary relations especially on being part of international organizations and/or on international agreements resulting from negotiations. Before giving these examples, we can mention general framework of the article of Putnam, names as ‘Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games’(1988). In this article, Putnam asserts that each of domestic and international relations has an impact on and can determine the other by looking at ratification process, bureaucratic mechanism, reverberation, voluntary and involuntary defection and credibility of the commitment at Level I negotiators’ strategies, bargaining and Level II preferences and coalitions, institutions. I found this article very useful when I remember the most popular example for this assumption: the USA’ s membership to League of Nations. Although the institution was a part of ‘Wilsonian Idealism’ American Senate rejected to be a member of it.

If we consider more contemporary examples, the representatives of the USA and Republic of Turkey has agreed on using military bases for US intervention in Iraq in 2003, Turkish Parliamentary rejected it and it caused deteriation of relations between Turkey and the USA for a while. For this rejection we can consider reverberation which was general negative perception in Turkish society for US intervention in Iraq. I would also question the similarity between reverberation and ‘audience cost’ and say that reverberation can be general attitude but in ‘audience cost’ we witness some kind of ‘punishment’ after unrest of a policy by the government, for example it might not be elected in the next elections.

Currently, Turkish Prime Minister said that ”we call members of Turkish Parliamentary to collaborate for the ratification of the agreement with EU on refugee crisis and legislation of the EU required amendments for accession” on January 26, 2016 after the negotiations with the EU.

Lastly, I would also like to highlight one of the points that the State is not a monolithic organization rather a composition of various branches each of them has their own structure and ‘organizational interest’ which need to be coordinated under the ‘national interest’ like Putnam points out this structural differentiation in addition to the fact that leaders are part of both domestic and international arena being representatives of their party, their position in state structure in domestic politics and their state in the international arena.

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Apr 25 2016

‘Cooperation under Anarchy’ by Oye, 1985

As we previously agreed on, International Relations operate under ‘anarchy’ which implies that there is no central, higher authority. In addition, we also accepted that sometimes negotiations can fail due to uncertainty caused by this anarchical nature of IR. Therefore, we can infer that under anarchy, it is hard for the states to cooperate especially in issues of ‘high politics’ such as security and power. In ‘Explaining Cooperation under Anarchy: Hypotheses and Strategies’(1985), Oye explains under which conditions states can cooperate departing from some models for instance Prisoners’ Dilemma, Stag Hunt, Payoff Structure and Shadow of the Future. By referring the need for realization of mutual benefit, the author also introduces the concepts of harmony, where one can observe ‘the absence of gain from defection’ and deadlock caused by ‘absence of mutual interest’. (p.7)

In the article, Oye also presents unilateral, bilateral and multilateral strategies linking them to the importance of repeating the game, issue of reciprocity, reliability and number of actors which makes the situation more costly and complex to solve as the problems in transactions, recognition, control problems, sanctioning increases.

When we look at the attempts to create global regimes on various issues, this article can explain very well. For example, postal system, regime on whales, train system could have been achieved but climate change which gives responsibility do decrease carbon emissions, nuclear issue, based on NPT which most nuclear countries have not signed yet are the complex issues makes international arena busy. In addition, when we look at ‘Fight against terrorism’ we can also observe the level of hardship in cooperation under anarchical nature in which they have to survive based on their self-interest and self-help.

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Apr 25 2016

‘Hypotheses on Misperception’ by Jervis(1968)

In previous weeks, we discussed that people are not always rational. In Fearon’s article for instance, we also touched upon the problems in miscalculation of capabilities and probabilities of war and also the problem of uncertainty of others’ capabilities and intentions.

We continued with deterrence and spiral models to decide how
to evaluate and respond the other’s actions by referring the risks of misunderstanding and mistreating other actors. In Jervis’ article,
‘Hypothesis on Misperception’ (1968), we read 15 hypotheses about how different an actor perceive the situation and/ or data based on his/her relations, past experiences, historical knowledge and emotions towards the other(s). Therefore, according to
Jervis, it is important for an actor how he/she is ‘wedded to the established view or closed to new info.’(p.459) In addition, according to Jervis, ‘pure empiricism is impossible’
as we have beliefs, theories to understand and explain the reality and also emotions.(pp.457-458) Furthermore, Jervis gives a prescription composed of 5 ‘safeguards’ based on previous
assumptions. These safeguards basically highlight the neces
sity of being aware of unbiased interpretations, of not being tied to theories and images of other actors, of having devil’s advocate(s) around and making as much as observable beliefs, assumptions and predictions.(pp. 462-466)
He also puts emphasis on cognitive threshold as perceptions matter. Thus, in ‘Sources of Concepts’ part in the article, he underlines the existence of a concept in an actor, in IR, it first comes from the actor’s belief in his/her own domestic political system and after that previous experiences and international history. By pointing this out, Jervis also asserts that if the experience or historical event is recent, the states person will know better and will frame the situation according to this event easily. (pp- 466-469)
To conclude, I would say that I really benefited from the
reading as it opens another framework to understand the actors’ positions, regarding emotions and (mis)perception, the
only thing I would ask to what extent and actor should make as
sumptions, beliefs and predictions explicitly because it can make easy to follow the actor from his/her fellows but it
can also make vulnerable the actor.

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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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