Sunday, September 13, 2009


It looks like Israeli-Palestinian negotiations may eventually restart. Perhaps. Likewise, American-Iranian negotiations, perhaps, or not. American-Israeli negotiations about settlements have been dragging on for months; in the meantime, judging by the dramatic rise in trips of Israeli political leaders to Moscow, somebody must be negotiating something on that track, too.

One of the (many) problems with the way the media treats negotiations is that too many of the reporters have never seen a negotiation close up. As a result, many reports focus on what the reporters think would be a good outcome to have. This gets even worse with bloggers. In reality, negotiations are generally unpleasant encounters between very hard-nosed folk who are doing their utmost to get as mush as possible from the other folks while giving as little as possible.

The Atlantic has a fascinating description of a negotiation that happened last year when the Bank of America had second thoughts about acquiring Merill Lynch, and the men of the Federal Government didn't want that to happen. Yes, all the relevant men (there seem to have been no women) were on a first-name basis; and no, they were not being nice.

This is how big boys negotiate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

here is another Big Boy "negotiating"
I will eventually get around to reading it but just looking at the headline "Land First, Then Peace" makes me feel so fed-up and then I skim the text and stumble over this "the outdated 1988 Hamas charter," and know I'll need a nice big beer to accompany it to blunt my fury
(incidentally I read the Atlantic piece as an awakener just this morning - it seems that those billionaires react to the threat of job loss exactly the same way as an assembly line worker would whose whole livelihood depends on it
- and no I do not believe women would be any better at it at most a bit different - we do bitchy differently. maybe mixed combinations could prevent some idiocies with the different strategies of females and males competing - but would they be able to come up with a deal?)