The peacemaking section focuses primarily on the negotiation process, as it forms the basis for mediation, conciliation, and arbitration.
Peacemaking is the diplomatic effort intended to move a violent conflict into nonviolent dialogue, where differences are normally settled through representative political institutions. The objective of peacemaking is to end the violence between the contending parties. A peace agreement is the desired end result of negotiations; such an agreement can be comprehensive or limited. To be sustainable, peace agreements have to include all key players of the conflict, end destructive violence, which is often established through a ceasefire agreement, and address the root causes of the conflict. The peace agreement should outline the means to strengthen a non-violent process of conflict de-escalation that ultimately leads to the transformation or resolution of the root causes of the violence. Peacemaking can be done through negotiation, mediation, conciliation, and arbitration. International law provides another channel through international courts.


Studying the root causes and recent developments of violent conflict enables third parties to estimate if the combatants are ready to commit to a negotiation process, or if the parties would rather continue the conflict through violent means. For a conflict to be ripe for resolution, several factors should be present. Fear and fatigue, escalation of violence, power shifts, mutually hurting stalemates or mutually enticing opportunities, changes in perceptions of power balance, or reappraisals of end goals, can all lead towards a window of opportunity for resolution. Such ripe moments allow a transformation from violence to peaceful means of conflict management.

Understanding the nature of escalation gives us insight into the dynamics of violent conflict. Identifying the nature of escalation and breaking this tendency can help to bring violence to an end.

Escalation occurs as opposing parties raise the stakes of the conflict, and can be attributed to:

  • Overreaction: A security dilemma occurs as one party's defensive measures are perceived as offensive to the other party, resulting in a repeated, tit-for-tat build-up of arms and agressions.
  • Overcommitment: Leaders negotiating the interests of their party are faced with the difficult task of making the compromises necessary to advance the peace process, while having to answer to their home constituencies. Conflicts can escalate after agreements have been made without the support of hard-line constituents, who return to violence.
  • Entrapment: Leaders sometimes pursue a hard line in order to maintain credibility at home.
  • Bargaining chip: Leaders can introduce new elements to the conflict in order to improve their bargaining position.
  • Lock in: Too deeply entrenched in their positions, leaders can become blind to potential alternatives to managing the conflict.

Ripeness Theory
The term ripe for resolution is a conceptual term used to describe the phase when a conflict is more likely to be resolved through methods of conflict management. Coined by I. William Zartman, this term captures the idea that conflicts are an ongoing process, and that timing is of crucial importance. If parties have not yet reached a mutually hurting stalemate, then attempts at conflict management are almost certain to fail. Worse, becoming involved in conflict management when the conflict is not yet ripe can further exacerbate tensions and escalate the situation. It is only when parties are ready, due to any number or combination of security, political, social or economic developments, that peacemaking can be successful.

Mutually Hurting Stalemate
Either by their own conviction or through the influence of others, leaders can perceive themselves to have reached a hurting stalemate, where violence takes too great a levy without bringing sufficient gain. If both parties consider the continuation or escalation of violence to be more costly than peaceful alternatives, a mutually hurting stalemate has been reached. This mutually hurting stalemate creates a window of opportunity-- a ripe moment-- for negotiations.

Mutually Enticing Opportunity
Sometimes an event or opportunity occurs that can benefit both parties, thus encouraging them to come to the negotiation table. Because such an opportunity is unlikely to emerge spontaneously, it is the role of a third party mediator to create such an opportunity. Incentives or guarantees assured by the third party, or support that increases the perceived legitimacy of either or both sides, allows leaders who were previously entrenched in their positions to find a way out without losing the support of their relative constituencies.

With the support and assistance of a mediator, negotiating parties can reach an understanding of the nature and causes of conflict. By redefining the terms of the conflict to address its root causes, parties can more easily define the terms of an acceptable solution. If the terms of trade created are considered equitable, and if parties are able to find a common sense of justice, the likelihood of sustaining the negotiated peace settlement increases.

The Toughness Dilemma
The Toughness (or Negotiator’s) Dilemma is one which faces all negotiators, at all stages of negotiation. Should a negotiator be “tough”, increasing the chances that he or she will get what he or she wants, but lessening the chances for an agreement (increasing the possibility for deadlock or stalemate)? Or, should a negotiator be “soft”, increasing the chances for an agreement, but decreasing the odds that he or she will get what he or she wants?

This is a true dilemma, to date no one has yet solved the problem as it is formulated above (Zartman 2005: 45). Authors from various analytical schools of thought have attempted to solve the dilemma by introducing an independent variable, which they postulate should determine the outcome. While this section does not propose the definitive answer to the problem, it does discuss what has been proposed in the past, present some empirical evidence, try to take apart the dilemma, and synthesize these diverse points of view in conclusion.
I. Structural Analysis
The school of structural analysis looks at the disposition of key elements, namely number of parties and power, as the causal factor of a negotiated outcome. The number of parties alone is insufficient, it is their power or how they use or borrow power which determines the outcome. There are considerable methodological difficulties in using this type of analysis, most seriously, that power is a slippery concept, which makes any analysis using power as an independent variable slippery as well.

The popular tautological definition of power, “the strongest side wins”, is insufficient. If side A wins, then it was necessarily stronger than side B. In terms of the Toughness Dilemma, the realist definition of power as force is does not instruct us in any way. If the strong (forceful) always open tough, and they always get what they want, and they always get an agreement, then there is no dilemma. The view of the neo-realist school is mildly more helpful, they see power as possession of some quantifiable resource. However, just because side A possesses a great amount of, say gold, this will not necessarily move side B to agree to sell them, say guns, at a favorable price. The neo-realists’ view of power dissociates possession, with skillful use of these possessions (Zartman 2000: 6 – 10). If the strong (rich) always open tough, and they always get what they want, and they always get an agreement, then again, there is no dilemma.

The more nuanced definitions of power, such as those suggested by Schelling, Zartman, Nye, Singer and Doran, give us a better understanding of the concept, but are unfortunately difficult to operationalize as causal variables. The idea of power as “the perceived capacity of one side to produce an intended effect on another through a move that may involve the use of resources”  (Zartman 2000: 13 – 14) provides us with a several advantages. We see power through the eyes of the negotiators, registering the element that governs behavior – perception. The definition of power is no longer tautological, the causal element is now motivating perceptions. However, as outside observers, we face the problem of behavioral psychologists: the difficulty of knowing and analyzing perceptions in the moment of decision making. Nonetheless, with this definition of power, we may better understand the Structuralist school’s predictions and prescriptions of negotiated outcomes.

“In an asymmetrical negotiation, a party should and will act tough if it is strong and soft if it is weak” (Zartman 2005).  This version of the toughness dilemma has played out in numerous social psychology experiments and cases of international negotiations. Commentators from Thucydides onwards have noted that the strong act tough because they can, the weak act soft because they must. Though, again, we must be careful about how we define power. Are the weak powerless? If so, then how is it that the weak may ever prevail? Yet there are notable cases where the weak do prevail over the strong.

However intuitive this proposition may be, it must be tempered with a dose of “it depends.” Zartman and Rubin suggest a caveat to this proposition: “Under conditions of perceived power inequality among negotiators, the party with high power tends to behave exploitatively, whereas the less powerful party tends to behave submissively – unless certain conditions prevail” (Zartman 2005: 16). These certain conditions refer to ideologies or organizations, the “weapons of the weak”, low power negotiators will seek to redress grievances if they can join forces with others, operate under the protective course of a third side, or borrow power from accepted norms or principles (Zartman 2000: 16 – 17). In the field of international relations we have also seen examples of parties who were perceived as weak, who acted tough, and in the end achieved a favorable agreement. One of the most obvious examples is that of the South African negotiations to end apartheid. By all measures of power, either as force, possession, or perception, the Afrikaaners were arguably stronger. Yet the anti-apartheid forces were able to successfully negotiate from a position of weakness, by effectively borrowing power from both internal and external sources, norms, and principles.

We can see then that this proposition from the Structuralist point of view is unable to stand alone, it must be qualified. Indeed, a counter-proposition has emerged: “In an asymmetrical negotiation, a party should and will act soft if it is strong and tough if it is weak” (Zartman 2005).  While counter-intuitive, the rationale behind this idea is appealing: the strong can act soft and concessionary because it is strong, and the weak can act tough because it is weak and thus must be wilier in order to get what it wants. Although there seem to be less examples of cases in which this behavior is observed, they do exist nonetheless. When Malta bargained with Great Britain in the 1970s over the renewal of Britain’s naval base lease, the Maltese were able to secure favorable terms which were not in Britain’s original proposal. W. Howard Wriggens’ analysis of the negotiations show that the elements of power at the disposal of the two parties helped determine the outer limits of the agreement, but it was the ingenuity and skill with which these elements were used which shaped the outcome (Wriggens 1976: 208).  Although Malta was able to make remarkable gains from this negotiation, it is doubtful that Britain perceived Malta as being stronger than itself. Indeed, Malta’s gains were large for the island, but Britain losses were relatively small. On the other hand, if Britain had not been able to secure a lease at all, in the geopolitical context, it would have been a great loss. Thus, this is an example where the strong effectively acted concessionary, and the weak acted tough.

As we can see, structural analysis is unable to resolve the Toughness Dilemma. Indeed, using the slippery concept of power as the key variable opens up a number of considerations, making the analysis of a negotiation just as slippery.

II. Process Analysis
In opposition to Structural analysis, Process analysis takes the focus away from the negotiators (the agents) and concentrates on the actual negotiation (the process). This approach is intuitively attractive because it reflects much of actual day-to-day negotiations, such as market bargaining, wage negotiations, or territorial concessions. Negotiation, in this point of view, is a process wherein parties learn from their opponent’s behavior, whether the negotiation is repeated once or several times (Zartman 1977: 73). Process analysis stems mainly from the study of concession and convergence, assuming that each party to the negotiation has a defined security point.
The position of a negotiator’s security point is thus the independent variable which should help us solve the Toughness Dilemma. “A party will and should act tough if its security point is higher than a given reference point (far less than what it can obtain by negotiation) and soft if it is lower than the reference point” (Zartman 2005).  Meaning, if it costs more for a negotiator to give up or to concede, then he or she will be tough; whereas if it costs less for a negotiator to give up or concede, then he or she will be soft. This proposition is best illustrated by rug-buying examples, if you really want a rug, and the two or three dollars that the vendor is asking for is not worth that much to you, then you will concede and buy the rug for his asking price. Inversely, if the two or three dollars that the vendor is asking for is the difference between eating dinner tonight or having a nice rug, then you will be tough and demand a lower price or give up. A similar but more complex version of this proposition, depending on the other’s unilateral concessions, complicates the situation. “A party will and should act tough if its security point, measured as a critical risk factor, is higher than the others’ and softer if it is lower” (Zartman 2005).  The critical risk factor here serves as a measure of power, bringing in structural considerations. This proposition begins to look strangely analogous to Structural analysis propositions, as the party with the lower relative critical risk factor (the weaker) will act softer.
The problem with the concession/convergence approach is that it depends on the quantifiable measures which are present in many bargaining situations, or negotiations involving the division of tangible goods (such as land), but are difficult to find in many multi-issue international negotiations. Other types of process analysis look at negotiating independent of structural considerations, and are more applicable in multi-issue negotiations or disputes over intangible goods. These types of process analysis shift the focus onto the different stages of negotiation: diagnosis of the problem, the discovery of an acceptable formula, and the hammering out of details. According to this view, “Parties will and should act tough when they are in the diagnosis or detailing phase of negotiation, and soft when they are in the formulation phase” (Zartman 2005). Parties should thus make their demands and needs strongly and clearly in the first phase, be more conciliatory when it comes to the general formula, but be firm when negotiating details.
The idea behind this approach is that in the general formula phase the parties should allow a margin of “fuzziness” in order to allow for the maximum needs to be met on both sides, but not allow “anything to be put over them” in the final details. The general formula is thus the heart of a negotiation, it must not only identify a shared perception, referent structure, and idea of justice, but it must also be comprehensive and relevant to the needs of all parties. According to this proposition, problem-solving behavior should be reserved for the critical formula phase, while opening with “non-cooperative behavior shows that the negotiator is nobody’s fool” (Zartman and Berman: 1982: 168).  This kind of negotiating behavior has been seen in many international negotiations, such as in the SALT negotiations, or in nuclear negotiations with North Korea led by Chester Crocker in the 1990s (Zartman and Berman: 1982: 168; Crocker 2006).

On the opposing side, other analysts have suggested an inverse proposition: that “Parties will and should act soft in order to establish a bargaining zone, tough in order to frame an agreement within that zone, and soft to reach a final agreement” (Zartman and Berman: 1982: 168).  The idea behind this is that parties should attract each other into a bargaining zone by their softness, and once they are within the bargaining zone they must be tough in order to ensure that their needs and interests are met, but soft to close in order to attract the other to an agreement.

This approach is realistic in that many negotiations are in fact, in rational choice terminology, repeated games: they happen over and over again. Thus, as in international negotiations where parties generally have to interact with each other on a regular basis, negotiators should be conciliatory in order to establish a relationship of trust and mutual gains, but firmly defend their interests in the formula phase. The negotiations over the autonomy of Tatarstan may have followed this route, as the negotiators who had known each other professionally and personally before the negotiations were able to establish an independence formula, but obscured the independence in the details to make the agreement acceptable to all (Hopmann: 2001: 153).

This however, does not resolve the contradictions between these two Process analysis propositions, which remain at odds with each other. Worse yet, what happens when two parties both follow the same proposition? If both parties open excessively tough, they may never get past the detail phase. If both parties become suddenly rigid when the time comes to creatively come up with a formula, then the negotiations may end there. By introducing a second independent variable, that of structure, we may bridge these two propositions: “In an asymmetrical negotiation, a party will and should act tough if it is strong and soft if it is weak while setting up the initial structure for agreement, and will act soft if it is strong and tough if it is weak while working out the details” (Zartman 2005).  Underlying this proposition is the idea that strong parties, once they have attained their major objectives in the formula phase, will be softer in the details phase as they are distracted by other competing concerns. Whereas the weaker party will try to win back in the details, what they have lost in the formula phase. This seems logically consistent with the “perception of strength” definition of power. The strong will see that the perception of their strength has been preserved in the formula, so they can afford to be more magnanimous in the details. The weak, inversely, will say “well they are stronger, so they have won the overall framework, but we’ll salvage what we can in the details.”

Although intuitively very interesting, this proposal again comes up against the problem of the slippery nature of the underlying concept of power. We may say, well, if the weak won what they really wanted in the details, they must have skillfully applied what power they had, thus, are they really the weaker power? What happens then, if both negotiating parties consider themselves strong? Although in reality, equality of strength rarely truly exists, much of the Cold War could be considered an interesting example of deadlock (arms race). Above all, we can see that we have not solved the Toughness Dilemma. In the next section, we will explore some of the empirical evidence.

III. Reciprocity and Bullying in International Relations
The empirical work of Joshua S. Goldstein on reciprocity and bullying may help us better understand the dynamics of the Toughness Dilemma. While the events that he analyzes include violent actions taken or not taken against another, and not strictly negotiations, the evidence he presents may instruct us on the behavioral aspects of the Toughness Dilemma. In this paper we look at three studies conducted by Goldstein, in cooperation with Jon C Pevehouse and other researchers: relations between the two superpowers during the Cold War, relations in the Middle East between 1979 – 1997 and the Bosnia conflict of the early 1990s.

Reciprocity, in Goldstein’s studies, is equivalent to cooperative or “soft” behavior. However, it may also indicate hostile behavior in response to hostile behavior (the arms race, for example). Inverse reciprocity is taking advantage of cooperative actions but cooperating only in response to hostile or “hard-line” actions, in game-theory terminology this is called the “bully strategy” (Goldstein and Pevehouse 1997: 515 – 516).  While it is unfortunate that this method of analysis really measures only responses while the Toughness Dilemma concerns both initiating actions and responses, we can still use his measurements of reality to inform our debate.

Goldstein uses an interesting combination of quantitative and qualitative methodology, using computers to read and evaluate relevant event data from a specific time period. Using Reuters newswire sources, the computers are programmed to code the first line of an article, the one which leads with “A did X to B”. For example, “Bosnian Serb forces began heavily bombarding the centre of a Moslem stronghold.” The dictionaries of the computers were adjusted until they reached 85 – 90% coding accuracy, which is the equivalent to human coders (Goldstein and Pevehouse 1997: 518 – 519).   Most sources of error in this type of data would tend to “wash out” – reduce the statistical significance of - response patterns such as reciprocity. Few errors inherent in this procedure would create the appearance of reciprocity if none existed. Thus, Goldstein’s test for reciprocity is very conservative by design. This data is then run through a time-series analysis, overlaying a number of “break points” at which significant events occurred.

In the case of superpowers, across all quasi-experiments the responses are reciprocal rather than inverse. With very few exceptions, the signs of all significant response coefficients in all-quasi experiments are positive. No inverse response was found, so at no time did a cooperative response engender a hostile response. Beyond these overall results, we also see that both countries’ use of reciprocity has changed over time. At the beginning of the forty-year period over which this analysis runs, the US reciprocated consistently in the beginning and less consistently towards the end. The inverse is true of the Soviet Union, which reciprocated inconsistently at first and then more consistently later on (Goldstein 1991: 206 – 207).  In this “symmetrical” game, neither is induced to react tough in response to softness, and thus this would seem to underline the fallacy of “hard-line” approaches.

In the case of the multiple actors of the seemingly intractable conflict of the Middle East, Goldstein’s analysis became more complex as he took in account the possibility of triangularity, or how the actions of a third party will affect the behavior of a first towards a second party. Although we have not yet explicitly discussed triangularity in the context of the Toughness Dilemma, we have alluded to it in the section on structural analysis. When a weaker party appeals to a third party audience or observer in order to borrow power, a triangular interaction is formed. The idea behind a third-party intervention is generally that the outside power may help regional actors to overcome distrust, solve social dilemmas, and achieve Pareto-optimal, “win-win” outcomes that might never have developed from the self-help system alone (Goldstein et al. 2001: 598).  In the case of the conflict of the Middle East, the outside third party in Goldstein’s analysis is the United States.

While reciprocity seems to be a widespread behavioral pattern in social relationships, some observers question whether or not reciprocity operates in the Arab-Isreali conflict. Certain authors remark that unilateral moves of cooperation, such as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 visit to Jerusalem, are rarely reciprocated. Others argue that both symbolic and substantive acts of cooperation generate equivalent responses (Goldstein 2001: 595 – 596).  Social psychologists and sociologists have generally found that reciprocity develops more readily in relationships of approximate power balance than in imbalanced ones, and thus power symmetry is more conducive to agreement. Zartman broke with this conventional wisdom, noting that power asymmetry was more likely to produce agreements, while power balanced conflicts or negotiations encouraged deadlock or stalemate. Goldstein et al’s analysis tested whether power asymmetry, which characterizes most pairs of conflicting states within the Middle East, as well as their relationship with the United States, impedes or encourages the development of reciprocity (Goldstein et al. 2001: 596).

The results from Goldstein’s experiments show that bilateral reciprocity is quite widespread, furthermore most variables with positive or mildly negative net cooperation also showed significant reciprocity. It is also interesting to note that bilateral reciprocity occurred in both relatively power-balanced and power-imbalanced pairings, and both within region and between the US and individual states of the Middle East. Goldstein notes that bilateral reciprocity appears to be almost necessary, but not sufficient, for in increase in long term cooperation. Although nearly all the pairs of conflicting countries in sustained conflict developed predominantly reciprocal relationships, only half of them showed any sign of an increase in long-term cooperation. On the other hand, triangular responses were much rarer. Only in a few occasions among the US-Palestine-Isreal triangle did the actions of the external power affect the behavior of one towards the other (Goldstein et al. 2001: 207 – 208).

In the case of the Bosnia conflict, Goldstein again studied both bilateral responses involving the Bosnians and the Serbs, as well as triangular responses involving UN/European and NATO/US forces. Although it is evident that the US is part of the UN, as all the Western European countries are members of NATO, the UN peacekeeping initiative UNPROFOR troops came mainly from European countries, whereas actions by NATO typically involved US political initiatives and airplanes (Goldstein and Pevehouse 1997: 526). Although the statistical significance is generally weak, the results of Goldstein’s experiments again demonstrate that bilateral reciprocity exists, though generally towards the end of the period tested (1992-1995) when violent conflict was at its worst. The most statistically significant result was Serbian triangular bullying, meaning that actions by the international community caused a reaction of the Serbians against Bosnians. Interestingly, when the authors of the study disaggregated the international actors, they found that Serb forces were far more responsive to American/NATO actions using military force. The results from this study reinforce the idea that robust NATO air strikes finally caused the Serb forces to cooperate with the Bosnian government (Goldstein and Pevehouse 1997: 527).

The authors underline three results which may instruct our discussion of the Toughness Dilemma.  First, bilateral reciprocity (tit-for-tat) becomes stronger as the conflict drags on. One interpretation for this is that the parties learned to reciprocate from repeated interaction (Goldstein and Pevehouse 1997: 528) (supported by Process analysis). Another interpretation is that relative equality of power, which had developed in Bosnia by 1995, led to the emergence of bilateral reciprocity (supported by Structural analysis). Secondly, according to Goldstein, Axelrod’s “tit-for-tat or such ‘nice’ strategies” (Goldstein and Pevehouse 1997: 528)1 clearly do not work against bullies, or those who in receiving cooperative approaches choose to benefit from them while not reciprocating or responding non-cooperatively. In this point of view, “relatively cheap options of accommodation... such as mediation or peacekeeping” are ineffectual in trying to elicit cooperation from a bully (Goldstein and Pevehouse 1997: 528).  Lastly, the role of a “strong” third party, who was “tough” towards one side seems to have made the difference in bringing the two parties to a cessation of hostilities.

In this last experiment toughness led to softness, but only in a specific context. In the other experiments toughness begat toughness, and softness induced softness.  There is evidence that reciprocity facilitated, but did not necessarily lead to, learning and cooperation. Although these results are interesting because they demonstrate behaviors in real conflicts, there is evidence that is consistent with all interpretations of the Toughness Dilemma. In the last section, this paper will attempt to take apart the notions which underlie the Toughness Dilemma.
IV. What underlies the Toughness Dilemma?

The Toughness Dilemma stems from the difficulties of negotiation, namely facing off against an opponent with goals which are opposite, and possibly contradictory, to yours. In bargaining situations, for example where there is one piece of pie to be shared between two children, the dilemma is obvious. The more pie one wins, the more pie the other loses: a zero-sum competition. If they both declare that they want the whole piece (are tough), then it’s likely that they will fight each other for it, their mother will come and take the pie away, and neither will get any at all.

However, imagine that one of the children only wants a quarter of the pie, whereas the other child wants only half. If the children do not care who gets the bigger piece, but only want their bit, then the solution is obvious. The pie will be divided up, and a quarter of the piece will be left over for whoever wants it. In this situation, the Toughness Dilemma does not apply because the children’s interests do not contradict each other, and importantly, they tell each other honestly what they want. Lastly, the children in this situation are interested in relative, not absolute, gains.

Obviously this kind of outcome is not available in all situations. The children did not have conflicting interests, and there was a happy medium to be reached where although the pie did not get bigger, there was enough for everyone and even some left over. We can see this kind of outcome in some bargaining situations, even when there isn’t pie left over, like in buying rugs at the market: an agreement can be found because there is a bargaining zone where the price the seller asks is within the range of what the buyer is willing to pay. However, there are situations in which there simply isn’t a bargaining zone, or interests do not seem to overlap at all (for example, both children want the entire piece of pie).

The formulation of the Toughness Dilemma (should one be tough or soft?) implies that there are only two ways of approaching a situation: forceful or accommodating. However, when faced with an opponent with opposite or perhaps contradictory goals, an individual has more than two choices, he or she may also choose to compromise (some may see this as being “soft”) or to collaborate. Approaching a situation in a collaborative way is to look at it in a problem-solving way, to hold firmly to the issue in dispute, as well as to the relationship with the other side.

Indeed, the Toughness Dilemma as we have explored it thus far, is framed in a specific paradigm in which the outcome is expressed as winning (gaining a favorable agreement), or losing (gaining a relatively less favorable agreement). Although negotiating, as Zartman emphasizes, is a positive-sum exercise (why would one sign an agreement in which one is worse off afterwards?), the Dilemma only poses three possible outcomes. But if negotiation were a positive-sum exercise, then there should be four outcomes: one side wins- the other loses but is better off than without an agreement, one side loses but is better off than without the agreement-the other wins, both sides lose and are worse off without the agreement, both sides win and are better off than without the agreement.  This is questionably a matter of degree or of semantics, someone might argue that the side that loses but is better off than without the agreement has actually won. However, in terms of perception, it is hard to deny that any layperson or journalist who read the Toughness Dilemma would immediately assume that “not getting what one wants” translates to “losing.”

It is important to recognize that how one approaches the Dilemma depends intimately on the paradigm through which one understands and interprets the negotiation process. Within the realist paradigm, acting soft is associated with flexibility and “converging” behavior. Flexibility in this sense includes initiating new proposals, making concessions, and refraining from rigid commitments or threats. Rigidity, in this paradigm, is associated with tough “diverging” behaviors. Examples of rigidity include retractions of previous offers and concessions, commitments to fixed positions, utilization of threats (Hopmann 1995: 40).  This kind of negotiating makes sense when, as noted above, there is a tangible good to be divided up or bargained for.

In contrast, within the liberal or problem-solving paradigm, the most important goal is not so much to divide up a good, but to realize the needs and interests of the negotiating parties (Hopmann 1995: 41).  Thus, negotiations are neither a contest between the weak and the powerful (structuralist), nor a series of moves toward or away from one another (process), but a “collective effort to solve a common problem in a way that all parties perceive as beneficial” (Hopmann 1995: 41).  Flexibility, in this approach, is typically seen as a “search and discovery process rather than movement back and forth along an issue dimension – concessions and retractions – within the bargaining paradigm” (Hopmann 1995: 41).

Of the approaches we have discussed above, only one version of the process school would allow for the creative process. Zartman and Berman have observed that negotiations occur in phases, beginning with a joint diagnosis of a common problem, followed by an attempt to identify a problem-solving formula, and ending with the details that will close the agreement (Hopmann 1995: 41). Likewise, authors such as Roger Fisher and William Ury, suggest that instead of playing a zero-sum game, the actors should try to change the game altogether. In situations where the disputed object is not an object at all but, for example an idea or an ideal such as identity, one way to solve the Toughness Dilemma is to reformulate it.

One way Ury suggests changing the game is by bringing in a “third side,” to play one of a number of roles including mediator, adjudicator, peacekeeper, and/or observer. The role of mediator may be particularly useful, as Zartman has noted, in acting as a catalyst to produce effects which the parties are unable or unwilling to do on their own. The mediator may carry messages from one party to another, breaking a communications barrier. He or she may formulate a new solution, or even manipulate the situation generally by providing attractive inducements to one or both of the parties. This third party, as we have seen in Goldstein’s triangularity experiments, can make a significant difference in breaking a deadlock or tipping the balance towards an agreement.

While the problem-solving approach may be an attractive prescriptive advice, it does not solve the Toughness Dilemma, it simply reformulates it. In addition to skirting the question as opposed to answering it, there are obviously moments at which the problem-solving or collaborating approach would be inappropriate. In the empirical evidence we have seen of the Bosnian conflict, Serbian forces exhibited bullying behavior whereby they acted exploitatively when presented by cooperative behavior, and were only induced to cooperate through force.

By taking apart the Toughness Dilemma, we have not solved it, merely presented different lenses through which to approach the difficulties of facing someone with either opposing or contradictory goals. If the goal of this section is to solve the Toughness Dilemma, we may try by taking the different forms of analysis and reconciling them in one proposition:

(Assuming both parties are better off with a negotiated agreement, then without)   

In the diagnosis phase, if a party is perceived as strong, then it will open tough, but not so tough as to repel the other party and not so tough as to raise a sense of injustice on the other side. The other party, perceived as weak, will also open soft to attract the other into an agreement, but not so soft as to give the impression that they can be “walked over”, just firm enough to demonstrate its needs and interests. In the formula phase, the stronger party will be more conciliatory because it opened tough and realizes that it should enter into a more creative problem-solving phase. The weaker party will be a little tougher, because it opened soft and now wants to really demonstrate its mettle, but not too tough because it realizes that it needs to remain flexible and creative. During the details phase, the strong party will get tougher again, but not too tough because it is distracted by other concerns and wants to reach an agreement. The weaker party also toughens up, in order to get the most out of the agreement, but not too much because it too wants to reach an agreement.

We can see that this proposition has lost most if not all of its operational and predictive power because the concept of tough and soft has become completely relative and all independent variables have been combined.  However, by reconciling all propositions, we have covered most of the reasons why decisions concerning tough or soft behavior would be taken. By this proposition, we would like to suggest that, indeed, there is no solution to the Toughness Dilemma. Whether or not a negotiator opens tough or soft depends, not only on perceptions, power, and personal belief, but also situation, relative histories of the parties, and most likely, other reasons which are not listed here. Because human beings are not rational actors, they will not all, at all times, follow the equation “if X, then Y” (if I am weaker, then I will act softer). They oftentimes do not have enough of a view of the bigger picture to see what step of the process they are in. It is for this reason, that any attempt to solve the Toughness Dilemma will remain either descriptive, or prescriptive. However, we may suppose that this uncertainty in the inability to predict an opponent’s actions is all the fun of negotiating.


When the parties to a conflict are unable to come to a resolution by themselves, the intervention of a third party is a possible means of breaking the deadlock and producing and acceptable solution. Mediators can play different roles. They can serve as hosts, observers, facilitators, formulators, educators, manipulators, or advocates. Mediators might be chosen for their reputation, skills, knowledge or resources. Mediators have their own motivations for participating in the negotiation process and sometimes come with their own agenda. Despite their biases, it is generally believed that mediators should be neutral to any of the conflicting parties. Their participation as intermediaries is based on the trust of all the conflicting parties. A mediator's participation can be terminated at any point during the negotiation process.

Conciliation is a form of negotiation that aims to settle disputes before they become conflicts. When a government or organization anticipates that a decision or a proposed course of action may cause harm, discussions with the affected party can provide a way of avoiding a dispute by creating opportunities for adjustment and accommodation. Conciliation therefore requires the willingness of the parties to compromise in order to avoid violence.

Arbitration functions in similar ways to a court system, yet it is less formal and more flexible than court proceedings. This form of adjudication is more conciliatory, at the same time its decisions are also final and binding. The proceedings and its outcome can be kept confidential. An arbitration panel is made up of an uneven number of judges. Each party chooses an equal number of judges and the last is expected to be impartial. The arbitrators selected by the parties have specialized knowledge of the issues involved. Before parties submit themselves to arbitration they have to agree on what procedures to adopt. This can lead to disputes about the laws applied, the choices between ad hoc and institutional arbitration, and the location of the proceedings. Arbitration lacks the power to conduct third-party inquiry and to subpoena witnesses. Arbitration can also be relatively expensive because the disputing parties will have to carry the entire cost of the litigation. Enforcement mechanisms are usually weak or ineffective, increasing the probability that the losing party will choose continued conflict over undesirable terms of compliance.

International Courts
International judiciary and quasi-judiciary bodies apply international law between signatory states subject to the court's jurisdiction. Their decisions are final and legally binding. Enforcement is still problematic, as the concept of state sovereignty prevails over international law. The most important international courts are:

Threat or Use of Force
The threat or use of force can be a compelling method for advancing ones interests. International actors can also use force as a tool to pressure parties to the negotiating table. The importance of force is often overlooked as a tool for conflict management. Parties must use this technique cautiously as it can easily lead to the escalation of further violence.

The ultimate objective of formal negotiations is to create a mutually accepted outcome for the conflicting parties, thus ending the violence. Negotiation involves several integrated processes that can take place on different levels, between local institutions and international actors. Conflicting parties come to the table only when they perceive it to be in their own interests. Usually this is when the contending parties have reached a mutually hurting stalemate, where the costs of continued fighting are too high. A stalemate comes about because of the absence of change and negotiation becomes attractive as a way to pursue their aims through more peaceful, means. This window of opportunity, or ripe moment for resolution, must be recognized and acted upon. During negotiations, trust must develop between the conflicting parties through a functional working relationship that establishes good faith. Furthermore, negotiation is a creative process, adaptable to changing circumstances, and flexible to new alternatives.

Negotiations usually occur between first track diplomats. Track II diplomacy can be pursued by NGOs or intellectuals, for example, and often plays a vital role in preparing the negotiation. Getting the parties together, identifying key issues, distinguishing rational from emotional objectives, preparing the agenda and negotiating the peace agreement, are all key functions of peacemaking. Third parties are often necessary to facilitate and mediate the process. This third party can conduct direct to indirect negotiations, or can document and draft working plans and proposals. Mediators can also conduct shuttle diplomacy between two conflicting parties who will not or cannot negotiate face to face in order to advance the negotiation process.

Special focus: Intra team negotiation

During the early moments of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara vehemently argued against the Joint Chiefs’ of Staff plan to launch a surprise attack on Cuba.  In 1978, in the Camp David negotiations, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt consistently disregarded his most trusted counsel, often acting alone on major decisions.  In the midst of high profile nuclear negotiations with North Korea in 1994, the US lead negotiator Robert Gallucci engaged in “pizza diplomacy” with members of his negotiating team.

In each of these instances, the structure and dynamics of intra-team negotiations substantially affected the outcome of the inter-state negotiations.  During the Cuban Missile Crisis, McNamara’s argument for a quarantine of Cuba carried the day and ultimately led to a peaceful resolution of the Cold War’s most dangerous moment.  At Camp David, unlike his Israeli counterpart Prime Minister Menachem Begin, President Sadat acted alone and made a series of vital concessions on the future of the Palestinians in the West Bank.  As will be described later in this paper, Gallucci’s efforts to cultivate team solidarity made it possible for the 1994 Agreed Framework to pass domestic muster within the US.

Despite the importance of intra-team negotiation in explaining outcomes of negotiations, only a few scholars have sought to understand what happens within a negotiating team.  For the most part, theoretical analysis has focused more on why negotiating teams are formed and less on their internal dynamics.  Can negotiating theories and concepts like the integrative approach, toughness dilemma, or the multilateral approach be applied to intra-team negotiations?  Similarly, can we borrow from economic models like the principal-agent approach, organizational theory on boundary roles, or cognitive bias theories to explain intra-team negotiations?  Or perhaps we need develop new analytical tools.

This paper begins by examining why negotiating teams are formed and finds that team based negotiating allows a party to deal with issues that have significant complexity, require specialized expertise, affect multiple internal constituencies, or are time dependent.  Drawing on a number of case studies, this paper also finds that sending a negotiating team accrues processual benefits in terms of improved understanding of the opposing party and monitoring of communication flows.  After determining the benefits of team-based negotiation, I explore how size of party’s negotiating team impact the team’s ability to accomplish its objectives efficiently and effectively.  These dual demands of efficiency and effectiveness set up a problem similar to the one posed by the toughness dilemma.  That is, if increasing the size of a negotiating team improves its effectiveness but decreases its efficiency, how many team members should a negotiating team have?  Recognizing that size of a team is only one factor in determining efficiency and effectiveness, I take a closer look at how institutions’ and leaders’ preferences shape their negotiating teams’ organization structure, be it vertical or horizontal.  I then analyze how vertically and horizontally organized negotiating teams deal with internal conflicts of interest.  Lastly, from these insights into intra-team negotiation and their impact on inter-team negotiation, I conclude that additional research into intra-team negotiation could produce theoretical advancements in the study of international negotiation.

Why are negotiating teams formed?
Governments, businesses, community groups, or almost any conceivable party will enter a negotiation when they would like to resolve a conflict or issue in which another party could exercise a veto on the final decision.  Often, a group will send a negotiating team if the issue has sufficient complexity, requires specialized expertise, affects multiple internal constituencies, or is time dependent.  In turn, these characteristics influence intra-team dynamics and, more often than not, lead to intra-team negotiations over strategy, tactics, process, substance, or organizational structure.  Furthermore, the size of a team can also noticeably impact its efficiency and effectiveness.

When a given issue (or issues) between two parties is sufficiently complex, the two parties will each likely form a negotiating team instead of sending single negotiators.  There are many benefits to sending one negotiator to represent a party instead of sending of sending a team.  These benefits include, but are not limited to, speaking with a single voice, making cross-issue tradeoffs easily, and speeding up the time necessary for negotiating.  However, these benefits are relatively minor when faced with an issue, or issues, of great complexity.  Even if highly competent, a single negotiator cannot understand, much less assign values to, more than a dozen nuanced issues at a given time.  Overburdened with detail, a single negotiator will sacrifice granularity for simplicity.  This may lead to bundling of issues or tabling of side issues (Zartman and Maureen 1982: 174).  In many instances, expanding a negotiation team allows the party in question to avoid oversimplifying or tabling issues and, instead, reach a more Pareto optimal outcome.  Furthermore, as will be addressed later, if the team is well-organized, the party will sacrifice little in terms of effectiveness.

Examples of complex negotiations that require a party to send a negotiating team include trade and multilateral negotiations.  A bilateral trade negotiation team could consist of a dozen negotiators to address a range of relevant issues including, but not limited to, tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers (regulations, standards, subsidies), labor rights, investment, competition, and intellectual property.  Multilateral negotiations focused on trade, the environment, or nuclear weapons may deal with just a many issues but also must contend with an even increasing number of negotiating dyads:

Table 1: Multilateral Negotiation’s Impact on Negotiating Complexity

Number of Negotiating Parties (N) Number of Potential Negotiating Dyads
2 (N-1) = 1
3 (N-1)+(N-2) = 2+1 = 3
4 (N-1)+(N-2)+(N-3) = 3+2+1 = 6
5 4+3+2+1 = 10
6 5+4+3+2+1 = 15
... ...
100 99+98+…+1 = 4950

While multilateral negotiations often lead to coalition building as way to deal with complexity, consensus based decision making often means that a party seeking to further its interests must be aware of and negotiate with a huge number of parties (Zartman 2002).   By sending a team of negotiators, a party can better track shifts in position and changes in discourse between the many negotiating dyads.   

On many issues, a negotiating party will perceive the need for specialized expertise and, as a result, expand the size of the negotiating team.  Whether it is a lawyer, interpreter, or scientist, some members of a negotiation team fulfill a narrow but vital role for their party.  Their services are a necessary but not sufficient condition for a deal.  For example, in the lead up to the Oslo Accords in 1993, a few representatives from the Palestinian and the Israeli sides had met secretly about once a month for half a year.  As it became clear that progress was being made, the Israelis brought in Joel Singer, a Washington based lawyer, to serve as chief negotiator because of his intimate understanding of international law.  Knowing that any deal would have reverberating international legal consequences, the Israeli brought in Singer to supplement the political and cultural understanding of the academics that had, until that round, been representing Israel (Putnam and Carcasson 1997: 260). 

Another type of specialized expertise that often forces a party to expand their international negotiating team is linguistic expertise.  In the iterative, dynamic set of communications that make up most negotiations, nuance and mutually understood meanings are incredibly important.  The language interpreter or interpreters must understand and communicate clearly in a multilayered dialogue that can shift unexpected through different cultural, political, and historical contexts (Kaufman 2006: 540).   Direct translation could do incredible harm so the interpreter must be active and not passive in their engagement.  Of course, it is a difficult tightrope the interpreter walks.  Too active and the interpreter is accused of intervening unnecessarily.  This delicate balance will be further addressed in the section entitled “What happens during intra-team negotiations?”

A party might also bring in scientific expertise for negotiations in technical areas in which the generalist could make costly mistakes.  For example, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) works for an average of five years to provide in-depth assessments of the human impact on climate change and our options for mitigation.  The complicated models scientists used to track and predict climate change simply could not be developed by diplomats.  At the same time, the political oriented members of a negotiating team on the environment can bridge the gap between the scientist’s suggestions and the domestic political processes.  Without the political expertise to communicate budgetary needs, it is unlikely that scientists could turn their suggestions into concrete policy.

Similarly, a party interested in negotiation will send representatives from multiple internal constituencies to ensure that any potential deal has enough domestic political support.  Richard Solomon, who represented the US in negotiations on ending the conflict in Cambodia in the 1990s, found that including Congressman Stephen Solarz in one of his delegations dramatically improved domestic traction for his efforts.  By getting Congressman Solarz involved early, Solomon found that there was a greater understanding of the US strategic approach to the negotiations and a greater willingness to support that approach (Solomon 2006).  Obviously, as in this case, the boundaries of a negotiation team are not necessarily consistent over time.  Stakeholders may become negotiation team members.  Negotiation team members may be pushed out as their role becomes unnecessary.  However, a consistent point of a negotiating party’s strategy should to include members of constituencies that have a significant stake in the outcome of a given negotiation.  Accordingly, on almost all negotiations involving national security matters, the Defense Department will send representation with the State Department’s chief negotiator.  When working to solve criminal issues in a bilateral forum, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will send their representation with the State Department’s negotiator.  With the presence of relevant stakeholders, a negotiating team is less like to concede on issues that may affect one internal constituency more than the constituency of the primary negotiator.

A party may also send a negotiating team in order to deal with time pressures or to employ a time based negotiating strategy.  In the first instant, a party seeks to address a multifaceted issue in a relatively short period of time.  Sending a team could allow the party to divide the issue into sub-issues and reach an agreement through simultaneous negotiations with members of the opposing party.  In the second instant, a party seeking to drag out a negotiation may send a team of negotiators to create complexity where there is none.  The team presents contradictory positions, disagrees with itself, and reneges on promises to push back a potential deal.  This may be done when the party does not know what its true interests are or when it believes that the structural environment in which the negotiation is taking place is shifting in its favor.  While it may seem counterintuitive that parties could deal with the time factor in such opposite ways, history proves this out.  After September 11th, 2001, the US State Department sent a team led by Marisa Lino to negotiate with Turkey on basing and over flight rights to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.  In an interview, she recalled that the need for a quick decision on numerous issues by the Turks played a role in increasing the size of her team Lino 2006).  On the other hand, Joyce Neu led a Carter Center sponsored mediation between Uganda and Sudan in which Uganda employed a time based strategy.  In reflecting on the experience, she suspects that Uganda sent a significantly larger team than necessary in part in order to complicate negotiations and stall a potential deal.  This sent the intended message to Sudan that Uganda did not have much at stake in the negotiations (Neu 2006). 

In addition to addressing complexity, furnishing needed expertise, representing internal constituencies, and dealing with time pressures, creating a negotiation team can bring additional processual benefits.  Two processual benefits include helping the lead negotiator both understand the opposing party and monitor communication flows.  In Olso in 1993, the presence of a negotiating team helped each party understand and interpret the actions of the other party.  Entering the Oslo negotiations, the Palestinians and Israelis, although fairly knowledgeable about one another, maintained a set of hardened, negative stereotypes about the opposing party and its goals.  Although the relative secrecy of the Oslo channel allowed the participants to speak freely, listen thoughtfully, and break down some of these stereotypes, having a negotiating team was particularly valuable in this respect.  For instance, the Palestinians almost broke off negotiations because they believed that the Israeli academics with whom they were negotiating had little or no clout with the Israeli government.  Having multiple negotiators allowed the Palestinians to debate and then eventually deduce that the Israelis were in fact taking negotiations seriously and slowly introducing more high profile negotiators.  On the Israeli side, Joel Singer’s introduction as relatively hard-line, direct Israeli negotiator in the seventh round initially threatened the atmosphere that Hirschfeld and Pundak had carefully constructed.  Fortunately, Hirschfeld and Pundak’s continued involvement as members of the Israeli delegation helped ease the switch to a more high profile, yet hard-line, negotiator (Putnam and Carcasson 1997: 260). 

Another processual benefit of team negotiation is the improved ability to monitor communication flows more effectively.  A single negotiator acting without assistance must convey ideas, track receptivity to those ideas, and probe for gaps in understanding.  Organized well, a negotiating team can split these roles and more effectively communicate with the other party.  For example, in North Korea in 1994, Robert Gallucci found that having one or two additional translators on hand improved communication flows and improved mutual understanding between North Korea and the US.  Alternating translators ensured that the “working” interpreter could work in short, concentrated bursts.  Given the intensive nature of simultaneous or near-simultaneous interpretation, this structure likely improved effectiveness.  Furthermore, the “resting” interpreter could track and gauge the North Koreans’ specific understanding of the American communications.  A daily debrief with Robert Gallucci, the two translators, and any other Korean speaking official in the delegation gave them a better understanding of how their messages were being conveyed to the North Koreans (Galucci 2006).

How Does a Negotiating Team’s Size Impact Efficiency and Effectiveness?
Of course, the above descriptions of the numerous benefits of team based negotiation should not be read as an unqualified endorsement that parties should always send a team.  Having a negotiating team or increasing the size of a team can complicate negotiations and impact the negotiated outcome in both good and bad ways.  Two metrics which can be used to assess a given negotiation are efficiency and effectiveness.  “Efficiency” in negotiation means working in manner that makes the best use of a party’s limited time and resources.  A business or a government accrues substantial opportunity costs whenever it engages in a negotiation.  Furthermore, if a party devotes too many representatives to a single issue, it risks a situation in which issues are over diagnosed and debated.  On the other hand, in this paper, “effectiveness” in negotiation should be taken as a stand in for what is elsewhere know as Pareto optimality: a situation in which gains are maximized and no one party can be made better off without the other party becoming worse off (Underdal 2006: 113 – 114).  While this distinction may be initially a bit confusing to the reader, defining “efficiency” and “effectiveness” in this manner is closely aligned with Peter Drucker’s succinct quip that “efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things” (Drucker).

This linguistic clarification aside, the size of a negotiation team is a major factor in its ability to be efficient and effective and is depicted graphically in Table 2 below: 

The left side of the y-axis tracks a hypothetical negotiating team’s declining efficiency with a solid black line.  Generally, as a party adds members to its negotiating team, it becomes less and less efficient in using its time and resources.  With additional team members, while there is some opportunity for gains from role specialization, more time is spent agreeing on the team’s strategy, organizing distinct roles for each member, and ensuring that the team speaks with a consistent voice.   However, the right side of the y-axis tracks the hypothetical negotiating team’s effectiveness with a dashed black curve.  For this metric, as a party adds members to its negotiating team, it becomes more and more effective at accomplishing its objectives.  Up to point C, an increase in the number of members of the negotiating team will lead to a corresponding increase in the team’s ability to address all of the relevant issues in a sophisticated manner.  Here, the basic idea is that two heads are better than one and that the team will be more creative and better at problem solving.  However, after point C, increasing the number of members of a negotiating team will minimize these benefits because of the difficulty of establishing an internal consensus.  Each team member, as an individual, approaches the negotiation with a different set of assumptions and goals.  Consequently, after reaching point C, the team increasingly seeks a lowest common denominator instead of the more Pareto optimal, more effective negotiated outcome. 

Assuming that it will be relatively obvious when a team has reached point C and each additional team member decreases both efficiency and effectiveness, let us analyze the space between point A and point C.   Here, the hypothetical party faces a problem equivalent to the toughness dilemma (Zartman and Maureen 1982: 14).  Moving from point A toward point C, adding team members decreased efficiency but increases effectiveness.  In other words, it may take longer, but the team is more likely to reach a Pareto optimal deal that reflects each of the stakeholder’s primary concerns.  For relatively minor negotiations in which the party has a decent Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) (Fischer and Ury 1991) and faces significant time pressures, the hypothesized party will likely add negotiation team members only until it reaches point A.  The negotiated outcome derived from point A is not likely be Pareto optimal but it will make efficient use of the party’s resources.  An example would be the Bush administration approach to the Danish cartoon controversy in 2006.  This crisis was time dependent but the perceived impact on American national interest was relatively low.  Any American delegation on this issue was probably relatively small and designed to make efficient use diplomatic resources stretched by the war in Iraq.  On the other hand, for particularly important negotiations that do not take place under significant time pressures and are relatively resource inelastic, the party in question will try to reach point C.  An example would be the Doha round of trade negotiations.  Any deal would have a significant, long-term impact on the concerned party but the gains from striking a deal from one month to the next would be relatively minor.  Consequently, each team consists of many members and is probably close to point C.  In between each of these extremes is point B, where the party seeks to balance its competing needs for efficiency and effectiveness.  An example would include the United Nations negotiations to resolve the Israeli-Lebanon crisis in the summer of 2006.  Needing an effective solution that addressed significant national security issues yet an efficient one that stopped the bleeding, the Lebanese government likely made the implicit choice of sending a negotiating team that was at point B.

Of course, size of a team is only one factor among many in determining efficiency and effectiveness.  The above model is simplified and assumes that all other factors, such as team organization, chief negotiator’s leadership ability, and personality conflicts, are held constant.  For example, a chief negotiator who is a particularly incompetent manager might experience a more rapid decrease in efficiency and minimal gains in effectiveness by adding additional team members.  On the other hand, a well organized negotiating team, perhaps supported institutionally, might find that they can handle a larger number of team members before they experience significant decreases in efficiency or before they reach point C.  Because we assume in Table 2 that all other factors are held constant, it behooves us to now relax the model and analyze some of the other determinants of efficiency and effectiveness.

How are negotiating teams organized?  How does organization influence intra and inter-team negotiation?
Negotiating teams exhibit many different organizational structures depending on the institutional preferences of the institutions and leaders involved.  Some, like Marisa Lino’s delegation to Turkey, are quite hierarchical, where junior negotiators are expected to tow the line and fill specific roles.  Others, like the two student groups in the Negotiation Simulation in Professor Zartman’s Negotiation Practicum, are quite flat with relatively undefined roles that evolve over time.  Where a negotiation team falls on the spectrum from vertical to horizontal organized often influences the process of both intra and inter team negotiation.

In a vertically organized negotiation team, power, empowerment, and mandate are delegated from the lead negotiator.  This can be institutionally determined by the party forming the negotiating team or by the lead negotiator herself.  In the case of Marisa Lino, the US lead negotiator to Turkey on basing, status of forces, and over flight rights, the vertical nature of her negotiation team seemed to be a function of both institutional pressure from Washington and her own personal preference.  In an interview with Professor I. William Zartman’s Negotiation Practicum class, she spoke of the “get it done yesterday” (Lino 2006) attitude that came from Washington immediately after September 11, 2001 in preparation for Operation Enduring Freedom.  This, in part, drove her efforts to run a tight ship.  Asked if she had full authority of her multi-agency negotiating team, Lino cited an instance in which a Department of Defense representative began muttering under his breath during a negotiation as a way convey displeasure with the proceeding.  Not opting to go with the less confrontational “pizza diplomacy” of Robert Gallucci, Lino immediately kicked the transgressor off of her negotiation team.

For these vertically organized negotiation teams, an appropriate model for analyzing incentives, processes, and eventual outcomes is the principal-agent model.  In this model, the lead negotiator is the principal who delegates various responsibilities to his agent(s).  The agent, who could be a junior negotiator, analyst, interpreter, scientist, or interagency representative, works to fulfill his role (Rubin 2002: 101).  However, the difficulties arise when there is a misalignment between the goals of the negotiator and the incentives or beliefs of the agent.  These problems can be particularly acute when the lead negotiator and the agent represent different agencies.  For instance, in the case of negotiations on nuclear nonproliferation, the Secretary of Defense may be more skeptical of the opposing party’s willingness to follow through on its commitments and, as a result, empower his representative to express these beliefs within the negotiating team.  In this instance, the lead negotiator has a difficult problem.  Her agent may not act according to her instructions but she also has few options for removing an agent that is doing their job, as defined by the Secretary of Defense.  Short of appealing directly to the Secretary of Defense to change his policy, the lead negotiator must adapt her approach to the given constraints.  When negotiating with the North Koreans in the lead up the Agreed Framework in 1994, Robert Gallucci chose to deal with this very principal-agent problem through what he called “pizza diplomacy.”  In this “pizza diplomacy,” Gallucci tried to check in with all of his team members regularly and informally over a cup of coffee or pizza.  This gave his team members, in a low-profile setting, to air their disagreements with the process or substance of the negotiation.  It also gave Gallucci a change to persuade them that a specific course of action or concession would achieve the their mutually held goals.  This iterative and dynamic process improved intra-team and interagency buy-in and increased the chances of reaching a negotiated outcome that would be accepted domestically (Galucci 2006).

Unlike the vertically organized negotiation team, the process in a horizontally organized negotiation team is more likely to be ad-hoc, informally determined, and take on some of the characteristics of a multilateral negotiation.  A prime example of a vertically organized negotiation team was the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (Ex Comm) set up by President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Engaged in a high stakes negotiation with the Soviet Union, Kennedy’s team of a dozen advisors debated and formed US policy.  Some members of the team like Secretary of Justice Robert Kennedy served as key negotiators by conducting inter-team negotiating with Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin.  The Ex Comm team also experienced ferocious intra-team negotiation in the attempt to come to a consensus and present President Kennedy with good policy ideas.  Robert Kennedy remembered the horizontal nature of the negotiating team writing: “during all these deliberations, we all spoke as equals.  There was not rank, and, in fact, we did not even have a chairman” (Kennedy 46).  Not unlike multilateral negotiations, the Ex Comm began to form loose coalitions as a way to aggregate positions and sway President Kennedy.  In Thirteen Days, Robert Kennedy argues that this informal structuring of the Ex Comm “proved conclusively how important it is that the President have the recommendations and opinions of more than one individual, of more than one department, and of more than one point of view.” (Kennedy 1971: 46)  Although he did not say it in so many words, Robert Kennedy implicitly argued that the horizontal structure of the team allowed the group to design a more effective, more Pareto optimal, foreign policy.

Of course, there are also drawbacks to the horizontally organized negotiating team.  In the Negotiation Practicum class, Professor Zartman gave the members a good lesson in this by setting up a negotiation over the division of at least $500 between and within two teams of 8 people.  As an added complication, each team member had paid a different amount of money as a lab fee.  Formal decision making rules did not exist and had to be formed.  On my team, consisting of Andy Kamons, Holger Wilms, and five others, the intra-team negotiating proved as challenging as the inter-team negotiating.  In the beginning of the negotiation, as time was limited, the team quickly agreed to a simple division of “spoils” within the team.  Each player would receive their original lab fee plus an even division of whatever additional money was left over.  After negotiating with the opposing party and reaching what we thought was an agreement, the intra-team agreement feel apart.  Andy Kamons, who had had a relatively low lab fee, argued for a switch to a different formula that would improve the amount of money he and two other negotiation partners received.  This quickly pushed our intra-team negotiation into two coalitions with Andy and the two negotiation partners in one coalition and Holger Wilms and I, who had paid higher lab fees, into the other coalition.  Eventually, we reached an agreement.  However, the consensus based rules and horizontally structured negotiating team reduced the efficiency of our party in a way that a more vertical structured team would not have.

At the extreme of a horizontally organized negotiating team was Lazzaroni family in their negotiation to secure the release of kidnapping victim Paolo Lazzaroni.  In this intra-team negotiation, Paolo, Luigi, Aurelio, and Giuseppe had little or ability to communication with one another while interacting with the kidnappers.  In this sense, each had full decision making rights and a mandate to act however they saw fit.  What made the negotiation successful was each team members’ trust of the other Lazzaronis and their ability to anticipate actions and demands that would further their negotiation without threatening Paolo’s life.

Reflecting on his experience as a negotiator, Richard Solomon calculated that 90% of his time working towards a deal was spent at home getting a mandate for his negotiation (Solomon 2006).  This work preparing for inter-team negotiation consists of both getting buy-in from various stakeholders, structuring a negotiation team, and conducting intra-negotiations.  Paradoxically, the vast majority of research and analysis of international negotiation focuses on the bilateral or multilateral interactions with scant attention paid to the influence of intra-team dynamics. 

This essay attempted to rectify this paradox by analyzing in which situations a party appoints a negotiation, how the size of a negotiating team impact efficiency and effectiveness, and how the internal structure of a negotiating team influences inter-team relations.  Through the application of theoretical approaches to negotiation and a brief review of case studies as varied as the Cuban Missile Crisis’ Ex Comm negotiations and Robert Gallucci’s “Pizza Diplomacy,” this essay found sufficient evidence for the proposition that intra-team negotiations do impact inter-team negotiations. 


There are several different theories analyzing the process and outcome of peacemaking. The study of peacemaking involves an analysis of the actors, the stakes and the factors involved. All theories feed into each other, and combining these theories allows for a more complete understanding of the issues involved in peacemaking.
The following theories are discussed in this section:

  1. Integrative Approach
  2. Game Theory
  3. Behavioral Theory
  4. Power Theory
  5. Optimal Agent Independence

1. Integrative Approach
The integrative approach divides the negotiating process into three phases:

  • Diagnostic
  • Formulation
  • Details

In the practice of negotiation, these phases are not necessarily linear. Rather, they can be repeated and addressed many times throughout the negotiation process.  The toughness dilemma in the integrative approach calls for tough diagnosis in order to clearly elucidate the true interests of each party. In the formulation phase, negotiators should be more soft, in order to find a common, mutually acceptable solution. In the detail phase, the negotiators should again take a tough stance to assure their party receives as much benefit from the peacemaking process as possible.

Diagnostic Phase
The Integrative Approach focuses heavily on the diagnosis of the underlying issues which have created the conflict, including

  • Understanding the nature of the conflict, meaning the context, root causes, relationships between the conflicting parties, and influences of external powers.
  • Discerning what the real issues are at stake, and not necessarily those claimed by the parties.
  • Highlighting the similarities in each party's positions, which show that the parties do have common objectives that cooperation is possible.

The great value gained in the diagnosis phase of the Integrative Approach was seen in the Israeli-Egyptian dispute over the Sinai desert. Both sides were warring over the Sinai desert, but both sides wanted the land for different reasons: Israel wanted the security afforded by such a buffer zone, while Egypt wanted to maintain it's territorial claims. Through negotiations led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the parties eventually realized that sovereignty and security were not incompatible goals. Thus, an agreement was reached in which Israeli troops were withdrawn in exchange for Egyptian commitment not to militarize the Sinai desert. Analysis of the conflict from the Integrative Approach allowed the negotiations to reach a win-win consensus in which the interests and concerns of both parties were addressed and a viable solution was found.

Formulation Phase
In the formulation phase:

  • A structure for the negotiations and a common definition of the problem are agreed upon.
  • Terms of trade are decided.
  • Notions of justice are determined.

Implementation Phase
This final phase requires the agreement be put into practice, often proving to be a great challenge. Here lower level negotiations play an important role in swaying potential spoilers to abide by the new rules. In this phase peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and peace building efforts help prevent a re-escalation of violence and support peace.

2. Game Theory
Strategic approaches to conflict management are most often expressed in terms of game theory. Such structure-based approaches form their analysis based on determined end points. The prisoner's dilemma and the chicken dilemma are both variations of game theory. These strategic approaches are outcome-oriented and see the choices one party makes in negotiation as the result of a strategy based on the values of the available outcomes. These approaches were especially popular during the Cold War when American and Soviet nuclear weapons build-up was characterized as a "game of chicken." Game theory assumes that:

  • all actors are rational,
  • the pay-offs are known,
  • the "game" can be played numerous times.

Prisoner's Dilemma
This approach is based on the set-up of two partners in a crime who are separately being questioned by the police. Each is given the option of confessing to the crime or remaining silent. The pay-off of each criminal's action is dependent upon what the other does: If criminal A confesses and B does not, A doesn't serve any time and B has to serve 4 years. If both and A and B confess, they each get 2 years. If neither A nor B confesses, they each serve 1 year. The difficulty lies in that the two cannot communicate with each other so they have to choose their actions on what each thinks the other will do.

  Remain Silent Confess
Remain Silent Prisoner A: 1
Prisoner B: 1
A: 4
B: 0
Confess A: 0
B: 4
A: 2
B: 2

From the matrix above, it is evident that the prisoners would both be better off if they both remained silent. However, both sides are rational, and both will try to unilaterally improve their own situation. As both parties move to their Nash solution (in which a move unilaterally improves their situation) by confessing (in the hope of not having to serve any time), both parties worsen their own situation. Both parties confess, and so both parties are forced to serve two years in prison. This end point is not ideal for either party, but it is the most rational solution: if the other happens to confess, then the one who remains silent faces four years in prison.

In the game theoretic analysis, it is the role of the peacemaker to move the parties from the Nash solution, where both parties confess, to the Nash point, where both parties remain silent and each serve only one year. It is here where the free flow of information, trust and relationships are especially useful in changing the endpoints of the game.

  • Toughness Dilemma: In the Prisoners Dilemma game, parties should be soft to open. In repeated games, this will increase likelihood that the other party will open softly in the next iteration (tit for tat). If this soft opening is not reciprocated, the negotiator can be punished with a tough stance.

Chicken Dilemma
This dilemma is based on the game of chicken in which the chicken represents a lack of courage or a 'loss of face.' The 'chicken game' is known to be played between two rivals driving two cars towards each other on one road. The rivals speed towards each other in their cars. The first rival who veers the car in order to prevent a collision 'loses face' and is 'chicken.' The rival who did not veer is considered the courageous winner. If both rivals veer, there is no damage, but both sides lose face. If neither side veers, the worst possible outcome- both sides destroyed- occurs.
The role of the peacemaker in the chicken dilemma is to elucidate the consequences of actions. The parties are often compelled to the worst-case scenario in response to political pressure or their own unwillingness to be perceived as cowardly. A third party peacemaker can change the game by introducing incentives for both parties to "veer," or by threatening incentives, for example through the loss of international legitimacy, who parties who fail to "veer."

  • Toughness Dilemma: In the chicken dilemma, parties should be tough to open, in order to the other party to make a concession- to veer. Once the other side makes concessions, the parties should be soft in their rewards.

Processual Analysis
The processual approach divides negotiations into separate stages. This approach isolates distinctive elements and chronological events in order to better understand the complexity of the negotiating process. While this division is a useful analytical tool, in practice, these phases can overlap and interact. According to the processual approach, negotiation is comprised of a series of concessions which signal intent while attempting to attract the other party towards one's position. These actions represent steps in the negotiation process, at which the parties have the option to agree, disagree or offer a counter argument.

Concepts key to the processual approach include:

  • Bargaining Range: Upon entering into negotiations, each party has a bargaining range of possible options and acceptable outcomes. An overlap of the parties' bargaining ranges is needed to successfully initiate negotiations. If there is no overlap in the bargaining ranges then the ranges must be moved, if the range is too large, then alternatives must be limited.
  • Critical Risk: The party with the greatest risk is the most likely to make the greatest concession.
  • Security Point: This is based on strike costs, or that which the parties would receive if the negotiations broke down. There are several views on the function of security points:
    o The party with the most to lose if the negotiations break down is the one to make the greatest concession.
    o The party with the lower cost of concession is most likely to concede.
    o The party with the higher cost of holding out is most likely to concede.
    o The party with the higher time costs is more likely to concede. This is also known as the rotting rate. If the negotiation has a time limit, the party dependent on that limit is more likely to make larger concessions as the limit is reached.
  • Toughness Dilemma: Processual anaylsis of the toughness dilemma shows that softness breeds softness, while toughness breeds toughness. In the negotiating process where both sides choose to be tough, there will be little chance to converge on a mutually accepted point.

3. Behavioral Theory
The behavorial approach analyzes negotiations through the behavior of personalities or groups of parties. The behavioral school focuses on the importance of individuals: how personalities influence cooperation and conflict. Expectations, perceptions and trust are all fundamental to this analysis. Rationality is key, as rational bargainers are able to interpret new information and to change expectations and perceptions in way which facilitate successful negotiations.

  • Power: Behavioral analysis accounts for the personal possession of power. If power is the ability of one actor to move another through a desired range of outcomes, then power can bet he ability of a negotiating party to bring another to the negotiating table on terms which are mutually acceptable. Power is also held in the negotiators ability to moderate the extreme peripheries of their constituencies, maintaining their loyalty while also making the necessary concessions to continue the negotiation process.
  • Trust: If both parties are to make the compromises necessary to reach a negotiated agreement, trust is a necessary factor. The history of conflict between the parties means that trust is a rare commodity. It is therefore the role of the third party mediator to provide incentives and assurances that agreements will be honored. This mediation will facilitate the development of a relationship between the parties, where trust can be learned and peace sustained.
  • Relationships: Repeated interactions between parties in a negotiating process will lead to the development of relationships. Without a third party mediator, this relationship is likely to be negative and lacking in trust. It is thus the responsibility of the mediator to facilitate the development of a positive and constructive relationship. This can be done with incentives and support of legitimacy of the parties. It is hoped that the parties will learn how to interact with each other in the future, developing a relationship where the norms of conflict management to support a sustainable peace have been learned.
  • Personal orientation: Negotiators are either competitive or cooperative. In order to get the most out of a negotiation, parties should match the orientation of the other. Two cooperative or two competitive parties will be much more likely to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
  • Toughness dilemma: The toughness dilemma manifests in the behavioral approach taken by the negotiating parties. Hard-liners, often described as "warriors" are especially sensitive to the dynamics of power. Conflicts and negotiation are perceived as having only zero-sum outcomes, thus asserting and achieving one's interests take precedence over reaching a negotiated outcome. Soft-liners, or "shopkeepers," on the other hand, approach conflict management with the desire for mutual accommodation, flexibility and compromise. Soft-liners view negotiations in positive-sum terms and are more willing to transform their positions to reach a negotiated outcome. For both positions, it is evident that attitudes and personality interact with and impact decision-making processes. To deal with the toughness dilemma, soft behavior calls for soft reactions, while tough behavior should be matched with behavior that is also tough.

Social Psychology
Negotiation can be a potent and effective tool for conflict de-escalation and peace-making, especially when undertaken in the social-psychological approach. In negotiations, the importance of perceptions in terms of power distribution or relative positioning are key. Three factors contribute to the commencement of negotiations; with each factor, perception is key.

  1. The occurrence of a recent or incipient national crisis, or the perception of a mutually hurting stalemate. This situation is usually caused by a change in the military situation, or with the perception of a real and immediate threat of new or heightened violent conflict.
  2. The perception that continued violence is more costly than the negotiations themselves.
  3. The asymmetry that previously facilitated ends attained through conflict may have altered, leading to a symmetry which motivates movement to protect interests. If parties perceive that power is distributed more equitably, they are more likely to come to the negotiating table.

Parties naturally fear the compromises involved in attaining negotiated settlements. Fears of concessions threaten the sense of security for both sides, making parties less likely to enter into negotiations in the first place. The social psychological approach can assist in bringing contending parties to the peacemaking process. If each side is able to recognize the fears and perceptions of the other, thus accepting mutual legitimacy, negotiations can create positive change. Third party peacemakers can also support the process by providing reassurance in the form of acknowledgements and confidence building measures. Outside of negotiations, conflict resolution workshops are useful for changing negative perceptions, acknowledging history, and addressing destructive divisions in identity. By addressing the fears and perceptions of threats, these peacemaking initiatives can support the transition from conflict to sustainable peace.
For negotiations to be truly successful, a fundamental transformation needs to occur for both parties. Druckman (1980) maintains that mutual cognitive change- and not just mutual compromise- is necessary if negotiated agreements are to be sustained. Such changes become possible when history is acknowledged and empathy for the other party is allowed.
4. Power Theory
Power can be generally defined as the ability of one party to successfully impose its will on another. The realist school of international relations theory is based heavily on the conceptions and distributions of power. Nations hold power militarily, politically, geographically or economically. While power can be conceived in material terms, such as in the size of a military budget or in national economic indicators, power is also a function of perception. In the realist school, for example, perceptions of relative power positions are key to the relations between states and the outcomes of conflicts.

Violent conflict occurs when there is disharmony of power among either states or groups. This may occur when one group attempts to impose its will upon another and the other party resists; for example, when a government attempts to bring a minority group under unwanted control. In another instance, a weak or collapsed state may lose its power to constrain opposition or rebel movements, thus leading to violence as the opposition asserts their interests and the state attempts to contain them.

Tools for asserting power or to change the progression of the negotiation:

  • Side payments or promises of financial rewards
  • Military or political security guarantees
  • Legitimizing parties through diplomatic recognition
  • Diplomacy including the use of incentives and pressures
  • Economic sanctions
  • Military Force

Key concepts of the Power Theory approach include:

  • Use of Power: Conflict management can utilize power and the perceptions of power as a tool for mitigating violence. While asymmetries of power usually facilitate success on the part of the more powerful party, there are tools in conflict management which can redistribute power, thus equalizing power between parties. "Borrowing power," as this redistribution is termed, can be especially useful in negotiations, where the use of timing by either stalling or pushing a deadline, politics in responding to one's constituency, or notions of justice by lauding equity and fairness as opposed to inequality or oppression, can all be skillfully manipulated to advance one's own best interests.
  • BATNA: The Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement or BATNA, is an important tool when entering into negotiations. If a party knows their BATNA, it has the power to not compromise more than it desires. If the other party knows that there is a BATNA, it may be more willing to make concessions than when it believes the opposing party has no other alternatives.
  • Toughness Dilemma: Power also plays into the toughness dilemma. While the stronger party may be more prone to enter into negotiations fully asserting its relative power, there may be more value in soft positioning, thus increasing the probability of reaching mutually satisfactory negotiated outcome.

5. Optimal Agent Independence
The simplest models of negotiation treat it as the contest between two monolithic and unmediated parties.  While these idealized conditions facilitate analysis and yield important insights, they also ignore factors critical to negotiation in the international arena. International negotiation is generally brokered through agents, and these agents typically represent multiple principals. Certain agencies or parties will have principal ownership over the process, but others may also be involved, supporting or opposing the strategies and objectives laid out for the negotiators. A negotiation team will often contain agents who speak on behalf of these disparate principals, and these agents will serve not only to aid in the process, but also to represent the views of their sponsors and to monitor the proceedings. Subordinates on the team may attempt to steer the negotiation by opening up back channels of communication, exerting influence over the agenda, and even attempting to wrest control of the process away from the lead negotiator.

To capture the complexity of these internal dynamics, a more nuanced negotiation model is required, one that takes into consideration the effect of a lead agent’s independence of action with respect to the principals, the other agents, and the opposition.  The purpose of this paper is to identify the parameters that characterize this margin of maneuverability and to present a negotiation model that explores how shifts to these parameters will alter the outcome of the process. Existing models of negotiation that focus on agent independence fail to address adequately the evolution of the process over time. Making use of empirical examples to guide inductive reasoning, this paper will arrive at a set of generalizable hypotheses about agent independence as it pertains to phases in the negotiation in order to refine these models.
An agent’s margin of maneuverability, or independence, can be defined as the aggregate of three individual components: flexibility in the authorizing stage, autonomy in the representation stage, and authority in the ratification stage (Nicolaïdis 1999, pp. 94–98).  In the authorizing stage, principals provide the agent with an initial mandate governing their objectives, priorities, and principles.  They may also present information about the aspiration and reservation points as well as what side payments may potentially be available.  Flexibility entails strategic control over these conditions. The more flexible the mandate, the more freedom an agent has to define these points independently, either in advance or over the course of the negotiation (Nicolaïdis 1999, pp. 95–96).

Where flexibility determines how binding the initial instructions will be, autonomy determines the extent to which the negotiator will be able to deviate unilaterally from these instructions over the course of the negotiation. The representation stage begins when agents reach the point of open discussions and continues through the formal negotiations that follow. Autonomy measures the degree of freedom during this stage over such issues as the concession rate or the divulgence of information regarding red lines or other private matters. Autonomy can be restricted through monitoring by other agents at the negotiating table or by requiring reports to the home office during the process (Nicolaïdis 1999, pp. 96–97).

Finally, authority refers to the power an agent has to give approval to the terms of an agreement.  The ratification stage encompasses all specific details of a negotiated settlement, beginning with the framework for resolution and including agreements in principal, even though that may not ultimately dictate the terms of the process. Authority entails the power to make commitments, offer concessions, and approve a final deal (Nicolaïdis 1999, pp. 97–98).

External Determinants of the Margin of Maneuverability
While there are means by which the principals or the agents can manipulate the amount of independence an agent has in the negotiation process, such choices are also subject to the constraints of external factors. To understand where and to what extent the actors are in control of agent independence, one must examine these constraints in more detail.  These factors include the nature of the bureaucratic and political system charged with the negotiation, the specifics of the issue under discussion, the background of the agents chosen to negotiate, and the technology used by the participants.

Though negotiations often occur at a remove from events on the ground, the home environment still strongly affects the principal/agent dynamic.  The context of a negotiation includes broad characteristics such as the political and legal system of the government as well as more narrow ones such as the culture of the agency or department in charge of the process.  For example, during the Cold War, marked differences were observed in the negotiating styles of the Americans and the Soviets. The Americans would typically make the opening offers, while their communist counterparts rarely made proposals of their own, instead chipping away at what was presented it until it was made acceptable. Communist agents had little authority in the process and were rarely willing to exceed their instructions. Such styles may have resulted from ideological differences, from the specifics of national culture, or from differences in the bureaucratic systems in place (Hopmann 1996, pp. 153–160).

Negotiating culture is influenced by institutional history and the legal system. There may be regulations governing the staffing of the negotiating team, laws binding available concessions, and standards over who has the ultimate authority to make agreements. Within a nation, different government agencies, and even the departments within them may take a different approach to the negotiation process (Solomon interview).  With as many parameters as the actions they describe, these constraints cannot predict the outcome of a particular negotiation.  Nevertheless, these structural constraints do provide some guidance as to how agents will behave.  One group may be more likely to over-promise in the beginning stages, another to resort to theatrics, still another to stretch out the process by re-treading old ground at each session (Solomon interview).

The characteristics of the issue under discussion also have a significant effect on the degree of independence that can be granted to an agent. Issues of national security face more scrutiny than those of trade or politics, and the negotiator must pay particular attention to the reentry problem (Gallucci interview). For any one government, some matters will be more sensitive than others and subject to more scrutiny from the public. Examples include coastal fishing rights for Iceland, drilling rights for the Caspian countries, or ownership of historical and cultural artifacts for Egypt.  The more non-negotiable planks comprise a dispute, the less independence the negotiator will have to make decisions about concessions.  Similarly, for an issue that overlaps many jurisdictions or touches on many related topics, there will be more parties jockeying to shape the outcome, which will place restrictions on the independence of the agent. Public opinion is also galvanized more by certain issues than by others, apart from the relative importance of the discussions. Opinion varies not only from issue to issue and country-to-country but also with the timing of external events such as an election cycle, an international summit, or a trade conference. These external events may shift the internal distribution of power and affect the agent’s margin of maneuverability (Putnam 1988, pp. 444–446). The Palestinian/Israeli talks at Camp David and Taba in 1999 illustrate this point, with negotiators scrambling to reach an agreement before Ehud Barak’s mandate expired and he was replaced by the hardliner Ariel Sharon.  Barak’s plummeting polling numbers eroded the legitimacy of the process, and it was ultimately abandoned in the days leading up to the election (Matz 2006, pp. 555–556).

Who the individual negotiator is and what his experience has been will also play a large part in shaping the constraints that he will face as a negotiator.  Seniority and status will determine the institutional resources available for the process, affect the level of respect accorded by the opponent, and help shape the form of the interagency debate that may arise during the process. An agent’s relationship to the principal party making the appointment will have important implications as well.  An independent negotiator will be less inclined to maintain bridges within the agency or to worry about the effect of the negotiation on future promotion, while a negotiator pulled from the ranks will have more lateral connections and informal ties upon which to draw in order to navigate at home. Markers of institutional loyalty such as length of tenure or political affiliation will affect perceptions of trustworthiness. Professional expertise on the part of the negotiator will also determine what his role will be, especially in a highly detailed negotiation that relies on an understanding of the technical issues at hand (Solomon interview).

Finally, technology plays a part in the structural constraints on the negotiator.  As communication has become more facile, the barriers between the principals and the agent have been lowered, placing new restrictions on autonomy and authority. Improved lines of communication reduce the cost for a principal of monitoring the agents and controlling the process.  Better communication frees principals from the information filters of the field officers.  In the past, a foreign service officer involved in a negotiation could make the case for a position in part through the selective emphasis or de-emphasis of bits of information evident in their analysis of the situation. Now this analysis may as easily come from third-party sources. With less ability to manipulate the opinions held by the principals, the agent loses independence over the process (Laipson interview).

Modeling Principal/Agent Dynamics in International Negotiation
The exogenous factors outlined in the previous section define ex ante the independence of the lead negotiator, and these constraints will interact with any deliberate calibration of independence by the principals. But not all parameters are beyond the control of the interested parties. Among their various options, the principals can specify the degree of freedom in the initial mandate, control which members make up the negotiating team, require proposals be pre-screened and authorized, and maintain veto authority over the final resolution. Understanding how these constraints affect the likelihood of reaching a negotiated settlement requires a more sophisticated model of the process than that afforded by the two-person, cooperative game concept. 

We begin with the model of the two-level game developed by Robert Putnam to explore the domestic-international linkages that characterize international negotiation. In Putnam’s model, bargaining occurs at the international level (Level I) and the negotiated package is either approved or rejected at the domestic level (Level II).  Putnam labels the range of Level I agreements that would be acceptable to Level II actors the “win-set,” which he constructs from the intersection of the ZOPA’s of the Level II players.  These win-sets provide the constraints on the bargaining behavior of the Level I negotiators. Putnam’s characterization of win-sets roughly follows the logic of the toughness dilemma—a small win-set will limit the available concessions and be less likely to overlap with that of the adversary. As a win-set shrinks, a negotiated settlement becomes less likely, but an agreement that is reached should come with fewer concessions on the part of the Level I negotiator (Putnam 1988, p. 440).

Putnam’s analysis captures a portion of the dynamic represented by the margin of maneuverability, but it is limited by its static interpretation of the negotiation process. At the Level II negotiation, agreements are accepted or rejected but they cannot be altered. Bottom lines at the domestic level are firm and fully determine the range of options available at the international level.  Putnam’s analysis also does not explore the dynamics of concessions within the Level I negotiations beyond that determined by the size of the win-sets. This stance is reinforced by his observation that, “Level I negotiators are often badly misinformed about Level II politics” (Putnam 1988, p. 452). This myopia has the advantage of curtailing feedback within the model, but it is unrealistic in its constraint over the influence of the chief negotiator, who is powerless to alter the bottom lines of domestic actors except insofar as he is able to directly intervene in the domestic arena. Such a model does not allow for a thorough analysis of the influence of agent independence on the negotiation process.

This uncertainty on the part of the Level I actors about the true bounds of the win-set also prevents understanding of the interplay between the interests of the agents and the principals.  In principle, the win-set simply demarcates the bargaining space, within which the agent is free to negotiate an outcome according to his own interpretation of the problem.  In practice, the agent has only a probabilistic grasp of the win-set bounds and must navigate the boundary regions according to his best interpretation of what will be acceptable to the Level II actors.  This is further complicated by the fact that institutional regulations at Level II are rarely well defined. For example, in the United States, negotiations often fall within the purview of the executive branch and must navigate the foggy interagency process before reaching the desk of the President. Putnam lays out several principles that the agent can follow to address this problem (Putnam 1988, pp. 456–459), but he does not provide a systematic approach to resolving this uncertainty.

By disaggregating the role of independence into flexibility, autonomy, and authority, Kalypso Nicolaïdis begins to explore this dynamic element of the two-level model. Her typology of independence enables a more nuanced exploration of the negotiation process with respect to the role of the lead agent. Flexibility acts as an ex ante filter over the size of the win-set, cutting off a portion that lies within the Pareto optimal frontiers.  Autonomy controls the rate of concession and level of information disclosure, governing movement within the bargaining space.  Authority affects the level of certainty an agent has over the behavior of Level II actors, giving their objections more or less power over the outcome of the process (Nicolaïdis 1999, pp. 95–98). 

From her model, Nicolaïdis deduces three hypotheses about the relative amount of flexibility, autonomy, and authority that should be granted in a particular negotiation situation: 1) If the principals have highly aligned interests, then the flexibility of the agent should be low; 2) If the principals and the agent have loosely aligned interests, then the authority of the agent should be low; 3) restrictions on autonomy achieve the same effect as those on the other two parameters, and can be used to strike the best balance among the three (Nicolaïdis 1999, pp. 116–119).

The first hypothesis is based on the contention that flexibility has both an informational and a strategic effect. With respect to the former, reducing flexibility will clarify the structural constraints on the margin of maneuverability. With respect to the latter, reducing flexibility will alter the size of the bargaining space.  The second hypothesis is based on an intuitive understanding of the interaction between veto power and agent behavior, a position supported by the testimony of negotiators in the field (See for example Neu interview).  While Nicolaïdis does not explore what constitutes a difference of interests or when these differences might affect the negotiated outcome, implicit in both of these first two hypotheses is the assumption that there is an ideal range of interest alignment that best satisfies the toughness dilemma and the reentry problem. Modifications to an agent’s flexibility or authority can artificially provide these same benefits in situations when interests do not fit into that range (Nicolaïdis 1999, pp. 116–118).

The third hypothesis attempts to characterize the interactions among the three parameters.  Nicolaïdis asserts that autonomy can substitute for flexibility as well as for authority.  Increased oversight during the representation stage reduces the need to reformulate the initial mandate when an agent’s position must change. Limiting autonomy throughout the process will allow the principals to be more certain that a given settlement will lie within the ZOPA. Nicolaïdis argues that it is less costly to increase or decrease autonomy during a negotiation than it is to reformulate the mandate or to add to the uncertainty of commitment and thus recommends using it as a proxy for the other two (Nicolaïdis 1999, pp. 118–119).

Gaps and Limitations of the Model
Despite the insights that Nicolaïdis’ model provides, it does not fully capture the phased dynamics of negotiation, which progresses through a diagnosis, formula, and details stage followed by an implementation process (Zartman and Berman 1982, p. 9).  Within this framework, the toughness dilemma can best be satisfied by toughness in the diagnosis and details phase, when specificity and candor will determine an acceptable outcome, and softness in the formula phase, when there is a need for creativity, openness, and the construction of a common concept of justice to frame the issue. Only by recalibrating the mandate and the degree of oversight will the principals directly affect an agent’s approach to these phases of the negotiation process. Perhaps it is Nicolaïdis’ view that the solution to the toughness dilemma must be an independent assessment made by the agent, but principals do in fact have a great deal of control over this aspect of bargaining behavior (Gallucci interview).

Fisher and Davis provide a more detailed analysis of the role of agent independence during these negotiation phases, although without the benefit of Nicolaïdis’ typology. Rather than employ a more formal model, the authors rely on their intuitive grasp of the negotiation process to reach their conclusions. They argue that a principal should recalibrate an agent’s authority during the process based on the level of learning that both agent and principal are able to achieve. They also recommend that instructions to the agents inform them of the principals’ interests, priorities, and alternatives without specifying settlement points in advance. The authors conclude that commitment authority should begin weak, with the agent primarily sounding out the adversary for common ground, and gradually increase in proportion to the learning that takes place (Fisher and Davis 1999, pp. 68–69).

The prescriptive value of Nicolaïdis’ three hypotheses is also limited by the difficulty of measuring alignment between agent and principals. Absent an internal negotiation process between the agent and the principals, questions of agent/principal alignment cannot be easily answered. Internal beliefs may very well run counter to the official position, but a professional must adopt these opinions as his own. The specific interests of the agent as distinct from the party he represents are of questionable import.  The process of being a negotiator entails role-playing and the ability to keep personal opinions from dictating professional behavior (Gallucci interview). Another way to view this issue is to ask whether the negotiator has legitimacy. For example, were the principals empowered to appoint the agent or is has he been appointed by an external source (Docherty and Campbell 2006, p. 501)? Even if legitimacy is at least high among some parties, the question remains how to determine the measure of alignment.  Is their higher principal/agent alignment when an agent is moderately aligned with all principals or when he is strongly aligned with some and weakly aligned with others? In practice, it may be impossible to measure trust apart from observing the authority vested in an agent, which would make the issue circular.

In general, flexibility, autonomy, and authority as Nicolaïdis describes them are blunt tools for tinkering with the negotiation process. As Fisher and Davis note, instructions that guide are different from instructions that define and can have opposite effects on the process, but both are included in Nicolaïdis’ definition of flexibility. Similarly, autonomy refers to both oversight and control, but the two are also very different concepts. Sharing information is quite distinct from ceding authority. These gaps in the explanatory power of the model make it useful to conduct a closer examination of the effect of these parameters during each of the negotiation phases in order to refine Nicolaïdis’ hypotheses.

Assessing Agent Independence Through Negotiation Phases

Diagnosis Phase
In the diagnosis phase, information sharing and idea formulation are of critical importance. Negotiation post-mortems consistently highlight the importance of preparation to this the process (Gallucci, Laipson, Neu, Solomon, and Zartman interviews, inter alia).  A patient exploration of interests and priorities will maximize the probability of reaching a satisfactory resolution and of leaving little on the table.  A negotiator empowered by information will be better able to move the bottom line of his adversary, to issue credible threats and promises, and to make use of Homan’s maxim to achieve gains at low cost.  It is the negotiation team, with its singular focus on the process, which is best suited for conducting this type of preparation. The principals may themselves not be fully aware of what their true bottom lines are until confronted by a fuller understanding of opposing views. Where multiple principals are involved, it is often the agent who must clarify competing positions in the preparation phase, interpreting the bargaining space based on their own analysis. In the end, bottom lines are elevators, not floors. The true reservation point may only become obvious when faced with the strength of the adversary’s opposition (Zartman interview).

This preparation will be insufficient unless the agent is properly informed about the priorities of the principals.  This requires a clear articulation of their interests through specific instructions as to what may or may not be negotiated. But there is a difference between specificity and intractability. Agents must be made aware of what is on the table and what is not without being pressed to accept fixed positions that tie their hands in the negotiation process.  Given that caveat, the less flexible a mandate is, the better an agent will be able grasp the positions of the principals and the more likely it will be that the negotiation process reaches an acceptable outcome.  The more autonomy an agent has to interact with the adversary, the easier it will be to establish trust and gain information.  Autonomy provides cover for a candid exchange concerning principles and values.  Increased authority also makes trust easier to gain.  An adversary that recognizes the decision making power of the agent will pay closer attention to promises or threats and will be easier to convince of the viability of the process.

Formula Phase
The need for autonomy is especially apparent in the formula phase, where the first attempts are made to form a joint framework for a settlement.  As the diagnosis achieves sufficient information to move forward, it is incumbent upon the two parties to find creative solutions to bridge the gap in demands and to expand the pie to be divided. Parties must be able to cast out a variety of options to see which will appeal to the interests of the opponent. Often this will entail using tentative offers to feel each other out, making use of backchannels or private discussions, or in other ways creating the latitude necessary to reach compromise. The lead negotiator must have the independence to reach out in this stage of the process (Zartman and Berman 1982, pp. 70–74). 

One illustrative account of the power of such autonomy to create breakthroughs is Paul Nitze’s private discussions with his counterpart Yuli Kvitsinsky during the SALT II talks.  As a result of more than a dozen such exchanges, the two reached an agreement in principal for a joint reduction in intermediate range ballistic missiles that appeared to satisfy all of the remaining sticking points in what had been a long and fruitless process (Talbot 1985, pp. 116–151).  There are many reasons why agents are more likely to achieve resolving formulas through creative construction than are the principals they represent. Formality and protocol serve as natural barriers to departure from prepared positions to compromise solutions. Face-to-face conversation helps to break down these barriers, as do some of the other techniques for trust-building that negotiators employ such as caucusing and informal meetings in bars and restaurants.  An individual agent can also establish a track record of reliability and honesty apart from that of his government whose past policies may be the source of the present conflict (Zartman and Berman 1982, p. 29). By building trust, the agent will lower barriers to information exchange which creates opportunities to parse an issue, probe for implied utilities, and make use of Homan’s maxim to move toward an agreement.

It is less clear whether authority will contribute or detract from the likelihood of reaching a resolving formula. An agent with weak authority can use the threat of a veto from his principals in order to bargain tough while appearing soft.  The veto prospect helps turn agents into constructive negotiators, figuratively seated on the same side of the table and fighting against implacable resistance from domestic forces immune to persuasion (Nicolaïdis 1999, p. 108).  However, a party that makes concessions will expect something in return, and the less authority an agent has, the more difficult it will be to convince an adversary that an offer is legitimate. To reach an agreement there must be room for mutual concessions, and the agent must have the power to authorize them (Zartman and Berman 1982, pp. 221–224). Without authority, it is difficult to establish trust, and without trust, it is difficult to view the adversary as a collaborator instead of a competitor in the process. Such a perception makes relative gains appear more important than absolute gains and will preclude a coherent effort to expand the pie.  This reduces the chances that any agreement will be reached and makes the achievement of a resolving formula unlikely. The less trust a party has in a negotiation, the less utility they will perceive in compromising and the more tolerable the status quo will become. 

Apart from the conclusions suggested by the principal/agent dynamic, because an agent will most often have greater experience as a negotiator than the principals he represents, he should be given the benefit of increased flexibility, autonomy, and authority in the formula stage.  An agent will typically be selected based on prior experience with the issue and a technical understanding of the bargaining process.  This background will aid in determining points of agreement and in finding a potential way forward in the negotiation.  The same experience provides agents with the professional detachment to make difficult compromises on behalf of the principals. As such, they should be empowered to contribute to the framing of a settlement.

Details Phase
When it comes to actually specifying compromise positions, the negotiator must be able to fit the information gleaned in the diagnosis phase within the framework of the formula.  To do so, he must have a clear understanding of the relative utilities that both sides attach to the issues under discussion. In this phase, cognitive and judgment errors, though a potential hazard throughout the process, have the greatest influence.  With increased independence, particularly increased autonomy, comes a heightened risk that these errors will occur, as more power is vested in a single person who for issues of pride, desire for professional advancement, or inability to ignore sunk costs, has excessive interest in reaching a negotiated outcome. Individuals acting alone are more prone to lapses in attention, retention, and recall—failings that create misunderstanding and lead to missed opportunities.  Individuals are more likely to cling to information that supports their beliefs and to discard that which conflicts with them. These deficiencies tend to be an artifact of individual thinking, and they are best overcome through group engagement and behavior.  Thus, limitations on an individual negotiator’s autonomy, particularly through the presence of dissenting voices at the table able to draw on the same first-hand information, can help to overcome cognitive biases and enable a more positive assessment of the process (Hopmann 1996, pp. 121–129).

Empowered agents are also more prone to errors of judgment.  Individual negotiators tend to place undue confidence in their acumen and persuasiveness, which can lead to an excessive opening bid, an aversion to making concessions, and an unwillingness to refine their theory of justice.  Such tendencies contribute to, and are exacerbated by, a propensity to hoard information and strategic plans from teammates and principals, something that undermines processes that are ongoing and precludes institutional learning.  An empowered negotiator is more likely to escalate commitment to previous positions in order to avoid admitting mistakes. Problems of framing and loss aversion identified by prospect theory are likely to have a stronger influence on the outcome of a negotiation when an individual lacks the oversight of outside observers (Hopmann 1996, pp. 129–132).

As in the formula phase, authority in the details phase is of ambiguous benefit in the process.  More authority weakens the negotiator’s power to effect concessions but strengthens his ability to close an agreement.

Reentry Process
Agent latitude tends to yield advantages at Level I of the negotiation, but it creates an added likelihood of an agreement being rejected by the Level II negotiators. Agents who engage in trust building and information exchange with the adversary are vulnerable to accusations of disloyalty. Exposure to the views of the opponent increases risk of role conflicts, and agents may even be labeled as traitors if they attempt to lobby for unpopular positions put forward by the other side (Babbitt 1999, p. 145). Such was the case with Nitze during the SALT II talks, whose secret agreement raised accusations of having “gone off the reservation.”  Ultimately both the Soviets and the Americans rejected the proposal for being too generous to their opponents (Talbot 1985, pp. 116–151). 

Even if a negotiated settlement is endorsed by the government, it may be unacceptable to a population that has not been prepared for it in advance. The 1993 Oslo accords, presented as a fait accompli, were rejected by influential political groups in both camps and ultimately rendered ineffective as a result (Cutcher-Gershenfeld and Watkins 1999, pp. 44–46).  Similarly, agent latitude allows the principals to distance themselves from the negotiation process, maintaining the political cover to later reject an agreement. Such negotiations are not just less likely to succeed in the long run, they are also less likely to generate meaningful compromises, as one side will be wary about making firm commitments if the other lacks enforcement capability.

In general, then, higher levels of either autonomy or flexibility will tend to increase uncertainty about whether a negotiated agreement will be palatable to the principals when it is finally brought home. A broadly defined mandate may give an agent more room to construct a suitable agreement, but it makes him more likely to exceed the bounds of what a principal is willing to tolerate.

Ownership over the process also has a significant role to play in determining the support of a Level II player.  A public or government agency not primed or engaged in the process will be less supportive of the outcome that has been reached.  It is far simpler to sell an outcome to a constituency that feels it has been adequately represented during the proceedings, especially in matters of civil or international conflict (Zartman and Berman 1982, pp. 215–219).  To achieve this level of inclusiveness, it may be beneficial to restrain an agent’s autonomy in the negotiation process even when he is trusted to act competently on his own.  A steady give and take of information will prepare the parties for reentry and remove the excuse that their views were not adequately represented. 

These observations lead to several conclusions that refine our understanding of agent independence in international negotiation.  A negotiator is most likely to succeed when given a mandate that clearly articulates the priorities, interests, and alternatives of the principals without placing undo constraints on the agent by defining acceptable and unacceptable solutions.  This is particularly true in the diagnosis phase, when such information will facilitate signaling and probing, and in the details phase, when an agreement must be brokered such that it will survive reentry.  Autonomy over the process is crucial in all stages, but especially in the formula stage, when the way forward must be constructed between the two parties.  However, autonomy in the formula and the details phases threatens the likelihood of successful reentry by reducing ownership on the part of the principals and obscuring the continuity between initial positions and final outcomes.  Finally, authority at each phase increases the likelihood of a settlement.  It helps build trust in the diagnosis phase, encourages innovation in the formula stage, resolves sticking points in the details phase, and silences competing voices in the reentry phase. It expands the bargaining space and encourages concessions.  This same authority will reduce an agent’s ability to extract favorable concessions.  Such authority also presupposes that the agent has a full understanding of the positions of the principals throughout the negotiation process and that there is a high level of trust established between the principals and the agent. 

Returning to Nicolaïdis’ model, these observations give insight as to the viability of her three hypotheses.  With respect to the first, flexibility must be more sharply defined in terms of interests, priorities and alternatives on the one hand and settlement points on the other.  In any situation, an agent is best off having a great deal of flexibility over the latter, subject to the details of the former. But the agent’s mandate not only defines the dimensions of the bargaining space, it also determines how clearly this information will be conveyed to the agent.  As such, it may be necessary to reduce flexibility below the level recommended by the size of the bargaining space alone to ensure that the boundaries are clear enough to discern.

In the case of the second hypothesis, this discussion has demonstrated that in the in international negotiations, it is difficult to determine the alignment of principals and agents or to distinguish this from the alignment of principals to one another.  In either case, the propensity of certain principals to reject a negotiated agreement decreases with their ownership over the process. Thus, as Nicolaïdis suggests, with loosely aligned interests, autonomy and/or authority should be lowered. 

Finally, regarding the third hypothesis, while Nicolaïdis suggests that changes to autonomy be used as a catchall to substitute for changes in flexibility or authority, the merits of such a recommendation become less obvious after examining it during the different negotiation phases.  Of the three parameters, autonomy has the most wide-reaching effect on the negotiation process, aiding trust building in the diagnosis stage and creativity in the formula stage while contributing to judgment errors in the details stage and reentry problems after a resolution has been reached.  As such, it is preferable to adjust agent autonomy to contend with direct implications on the process rather than to use it as a proxy for changes to other actions.


Diplomacy - the practice of conducting relations between actors with the intent to influence, transmit a position or negotiate on a given issue or situation for a mutually acceptable outcome.

Diplomacy is crucial to the Peacemaking process. It is a method undertaken by actors engaged in Peacemaking efforts. Track I diplomacy involves the participation and interaction of state and/or official actors in areas of conflict. These diplomats are acting with the authority and on behalf of one's state or multinational organization. It is a process which utilizes the skills, resources and intentions of those official and/or state actors. Track II diplomacy is more subtle and personal, involving actors representing non-governmental organizations engaged in activity at the grassroots level and back channel measures. Track II diplomacy is important in maintaining support at the local level for negotiated agreements and terms to a peace settlement.

There is continued debate of the particular roles played by Track I and Track II actors in conflict management. The division of the actors involved in conflict management into two tracks is only one method of distinguishing the different participants in conflict management. However there are definite classifications between official and unofficial actors in areas of conflict. While it is generally recognized that both actors fill useful functions, boundary issues and other role-related issues continue to create tensions between the two tracks.

With increased internationalism and globalization the sphere of participants in inter-communal conflicts is expanding. Participants include not only state actors but the opposition parties and adversaries within the conflict itself, not to mention regional, multinational and non-governmental organizations. Third parties in Track I and Track II diplomacy can also provide several different roles in conflicts and in their de-escalation. They can fill the role of supporter or mediator during the Peacemaking process. A third party supporter or mediator can provide space for and initiate negotiations or discussions, gather information, help penetrate emotional barriers, help expand the negotiable pie, represent absent persons or views, provide resources, create pressure to reach an agreement, and generate support for an agreement. They do this with the intent to de-escalate conflicts, reach and sustain agreements and prevent future conflicts from occurring.

Track I and Track II diplomacy are two mutually reinforcing processes in conflict management: two overlapping circles, sharing common characteristics and responsibilities within conflicts. Each track possesses its own effectiveness and despite similar methods used by both tracks, the role of Track I and Track II diplomacy cannot be filled by the other.

  Track I Track II
Actors Official Representatives, Governments, Multi-national Organizations, Elites, Adversarial Leaders Unofficial Representatives, Nongovernmental Organizations, Regional and Local Leaders, Grassroots Groups
Methods Positive or Negative Incentives, Mediation, Political or Economic Support Back-channel Discussions,
Education Programs Workshops, Grassroots Reconciliation
Stages of Conflict Present in all stages but of particular importance during Peacemaking and Peacekeeping when official actors determine cease-fires, peace accords and terms to negotiated agreements. Present in all stages but of particular importance during Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding when local and regional actors can detect early warning signs of violence and can help foster personal reconciliation Techniques between adversarial parties.

Track I Diplomacy
The role of the Track I diplomat can be one of participant, supporter or mediator. This can be demonstrated through first, second or third party participation in the conflict. Track I mediators are crucial during Peacemaking because they can have a strong effect on the outcome of the peace process. Track I supporters can help provide incentives during the Peacemaking and help provide and/or generate political and financial clout for a party to the conflict. Track I diplomacy is also important for the parties to the conflict themselves. Committing First Track diplomats to communicate for each side is a sign of commitment in the negotiation process. Despite the historical depth of Track I diplomacy, it is an ever-changing process, evolving in order to meet the demands particular to the parties, the conflict, and the international environment.

Parties to the Conflict
In internal conflicts the parties do not always recognize each other's legitimacy. In such cases where parties are in fact denied official representation, Track I diplomacy becomes difficult. Often an internal conflict is comprised of one "legitimate" side and one "rebel" side. Governments have been known to demonstrate this distinction by sending lower level officers to the beginning stages of negotiation. The "rebel" side and its leaders do not warrant the same legitimacy and respect as higher level officials. Using a high versus low-level officer in negotiation is also a method of indicating the level of commitment in resolving the conflict. This can be either a useful or detrimental tool. By first using a low-level official and then changing to a higher-level official, the party indicates its growing trust and faith in the negotiation process. Many negotiations fail because the low-level official does not have authority to accept options in the Peacemaking process.

The role of the diplomat changes depending on the particular situation and context of conflict. The diplomat can try to gain support for his/her party's side with the international community, the mediator and/or the opposing party. This can be done through various lobbying efforts during the Peacemaking process when the diplomat views his/her role as gathering the necessary support to "win." The Track I diplomat can advance one's interests while seemingly being committed to a negotiation. This can be done by attending negotiation processes and even adhering to cease-fires, while secretly attempting to prolong the process in order for one's side to gain further political, economic and military means to win the conflict.

Third Parties in Track I Diplomacy
States and organizations will become involved in a conflict on behalf of one of the parties involved. Each offers influence and prestige and in doing so can help shift the power structure of the conflict in the negotiation process. This can be done by providing additional support to one of the two equally powerful sides, thereby creating asymmetry between the parties in the negotiations. Conversely, a third party can also provide power to an otherwise weaker party thereby creating symmetry in the negotiations. States will unite or unilaterally act to provide international support for a group or party in the conflict in the form of political, military or financial support. During the Peacemaking process this additional support provides power to the opposing sides through:

  • Offering additional military support to a party in the conflict thereby providing further inducements to the opposing sides and the mediator to reach a resolution.
  • Providing political support to a party in the conflict thereby demonstrating an international backing of one of the warring parties.
  • Offering financial support through positive or negative incentives thereby intending to sway one party in the negotiation process.

Additionally, supporters act as the go-between for the conflicting sides. Track I diplomats offer legitimacy to the contending parties without the parties themselves losing face or becoming involved in the negotiation process before each party is ready to commit to an agreement.

Third Party Support in Rhodesia-Zimbabwe
During the Rhodesia-Zimbabwe conflict over independence (1965-1979), the internal factions were supported by various regional actors. The white minority government was supported by South Africa while the black majority (the Patriotic Front) party was supported by a coalition of neighboring states, the Front Line States. The support of outside actors enabled not only for the war to continue and for the participants to "walk away" from the negotiation table, but allowed for the participants themselves to be taken seriously during the Peacemaking process. Track I diplomacy is important because it gave a voice to an otherwise powerless party in the conflict and it enabled the conflict to continue on until all sides faced a mutually hurting stalemate.

Third Party Advocacy for Victims
Third party Track I diplomats have an incredible amount of influence and power in the international community. Track I diplomats provide a loud voice for victims in an internal conflict, especially during the Peacemaking process. During negotiations not only are cease-fires to be established, but accountability must be maintained. In the cases of violent inter-communal conflict, victims extend beyond the fighting forces as violence permeates all areas of civil life. This can result in human rights abuses, genocide, rape, and other forms of violations. First Track diplomacy can bring issues to light during negotiations and ensure they are considered and addressed during the Peacemaking process. This can be done in several ways such as through commissions or communals which work in concert with the negotiation process. The First Track diplomat has methods and more direct channels for bringing issues, such as human rights abuses to a forum where responsibility can be placed and justice can be served.

Third Party Mediator
The Track I diplomat's role is to aid in the resolution of a stalemate and the attainment of a peace settlement. One can do so in the capacity of mediator or arbitrator in the Peacemaking process. Third party involvement in the form of mediation is generally welcomed by all parties involved and is seen as an alternative to the parties negotiating their own solutions. Their presence helps diffuse tensions and creates a common language through which the parties can negotiate and settle differences.
Third party Track I diplomats intervene when they:

  • Possess a clear mandate to intervene
  • Have interests and stakes in the conflict, such as political or military stability.
  • Are invited by both parties to intervene
  • Want to preserve a structure to which they belong.
  • Seek to extend their own or their party's influence and believe that participation in the mediation process will do so.

When a First Track diplomat acts as a mediator or arbitrator during Peacemaking, he/she can either be a strong controller or a weak controller in the negotiation process itself. Terrance Hopmann writes that the third party Track I mediators are "individuals of high regard in the international community [...] Usually these individuals are selected because both the actor they represent has some relevant power, authority or legitimacy in the eyes of the parties to the dispute and because of their own personal skills as go-betweens". As noted above, other times a third party is involved because of interests in the region, conflict and/or its outcome.

Strong Controller
A strong controller generally has some vested interest in the conflict and in its resolution. While this interest is usually related to some tangible good, be it land, resource or people, it can also be intangible such as a kinship tie to the parties involved. In conjunction with the vested interest, a strong controller is only effective if he/she has some power to wield within the negotiation settlement. This power can be a result of a past, present or future political relationship, a present economic tie, or some form of power which allows the mediator to offer conditions on his/her own during the negotiation process.

Example of a Strong Controller
During the Rhodesia-Zimbabwe independence negotiation Lord Carrington used Britain's colonial control over Rhodesia as a strong negotiating tool during the Lancaster talks in 1979. Due to its colonial relationship with Rhodesia-Zimbabwe, Britain had a vested interest in insuring that a peaceful and secure settlement was achieved. Furthermore, by withholding the granting of independence until a thorough settlement was reached Britain demonstrated its power in the negotiation process. These conditions, as well as Carrington's strict mediation style, allowed for his strong control over the negotiation. Here the First Track diplomacy was not only the presence of the British foreign minister in the negotiations but his manipulation and direction of the negotiation process itself.

Weak Controller
A weak controller has little more than his/her own state's influence and prestige to offer in mediation. In this case the presence of the Track I diplomat is to demonstrate their own state's faith and support in the resolution of the conflict. Given that the state (or organization) does not have a vested interest in the conflict, the involvement of Track I diplomacy, high profile participants or diplomats indicate the amount of support and faith the state has in the resolution. When President Bill Clinton invited the Israelis and the Palestinians to peace talks, the value of the talks rested on the United States, a strong and forceful state that had faith that the two parties would reach an agreement and find common ground. The high profile of the U.S. President itself created pressure on the negotiation and was in itself a method of third party Track I diplomacy by the international community on the internal conflict.

Methods of the First Track Mediator
A Track I mediator has particular resources at his/her disposal to aid the negotiation process. Even a weak mediator can and will use incentives to promote Peacemaking. Positive incentives are promises by either a state or international organization to provide the sides with goods or services in exchange for the negotiated settlement. This is particular to Track I diplomacy because Track I has more power and resources at its disposal than Track II diplomacy. Governments can promise humanitarian aid, weapons sales, trade relations or other incentives as a reward for a negotiated settlement. Likewise international organizations can offer membership, loans, or similar incentives. These are more likely if a representative from the state or organization is involved in the negotiation process. It facilitates not only the incentive program but also the negotiation process itself. Additionally, a Track I diplomat has strong negative incentives to offer with their involvement in Peacemaking. Negative incentives might be in the form of sanctions, military action, expulsion from international/regional organizations or other types of actions which would negatively effect one or both parties. These negative incentives not only are meant to encourage the continuance of the negotiation but also of the state's or organization's commitment to the conflict's resolution.

Criticisms of Track I Diplomacy
First Track diplomats are criticized due to their lack of influence on the ground of the conflict. This means that even after a negotiated settlement has been reached, the fighters continue to wage war. This could be because the fighters do not view the "diplomat" as a true representative of their cause, or because they do not agree with the settlement. Therefore steps must be taken to ensure that the fighters and the signatories are in communication and agreement during the Peacemaking process. Lederach composed a leadership triangle which illustrates the importance of coordination throughout all levels of actors in order to ensure a sustainable peace. He divides the actors into three different types: elites, community leaders and grassroots. Each group possesses its own responsibility in Peacebuilding, from the elites' focus on high-level negotiations, to the community leaders' workshops to the grassroots' psychosocial work. The leaders in Track I are dependent on the community leaders, who are dependent on the grassroots actors for successful conflict resolution. This is another example of the intertwining interaction between Track I and Track II. Without it, peace is jeopardized.

Track II Diplomacy
While Track II diplomacy is pervasive through all stages of the conflict, it is growing in importance in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding when Track II diplomats can use their contacts to monitor the situation "on the ground." It is crucial in laying the foundation for higher level negotiations, ensuring the communities are stable and enabling former adversaries to live together in peace. Citizen initiatives and actions outside official government roles demonstrate different ways in which Track II diplomacy has benefited conflict resolution.
Track II diplomacy has increased in importance in resolving international conflicts in the past fifty years due to the increased ability of organizations and individuals to visit and participate in other cultures as well as the increased interaction between states.

Track II is less public and therefore open to a larger degree of movement. As stated by J. Lewis Rasmussen:
"[They] are largely unencumbered by the political baggage their official counterparts carry and thus can be more effective at times in providing networking capabilities among parts of societies that are 'off limits' to most government personnel. In addition, unofficial actors, serving as neutral parties can help provide a bridge within divided societies; unofficial activities are often the only means through which members of opposing parties or factions can safely meet."

New Developments in the Field
Some academics further distinguish between Track II and Track III diplomacy, stating that Track II is comprised of regional and local leaders, such as religious leaders, local politicians and other esteemed members of the community. Track III is then defined as further grassroots actions targeting the individuals affected by the conflict. This distinction is noteworthy due to the growing delineation between regional/local leaders and the participants in a conflict. Here Track II is defined as all non-elite actors in a conflict.

Parties to the Conflict
During the Peacemaking stage Track II diplomacy can help the official actors prepare for negotiated settlements by initiating discussions and finding common ground on which negotiations can be based. The efforts of the Track II actor help diagnose the real problems and issues underlying the conflict. When negotiations are not prepared to begin at the official level, Track II diplomacy can be used to act on behalf of the parties themselves. Using representatives from the opposing sides who are in direct connection to the leaders is one way to initiate a peace process. Track II aids Peacemaking through lower-level agents:

  • Convening and expressing the sentiments of the respective parties
  • Deciding on the framework of the negotiations
  • Preventing the official actors from losing face by sending lower level representatives on a request of a third party.
  • Maintaining contact between adversarial parties until Track I negotiations can resume during a breakdown in negotiations.

Circles Intertwined
During the initial Palestinian-Israeli talks, only back-channel meetings were allowed. With arrangements by a Norwegian sociologist, Terje Rod Larsen, discussions began between Yair Hirschfeld, an Israeli Jewish academic and Abu Alaa, a PLO official (and former director of finances for Arafat). They began to meet secretly and due to continued commitment by both sides, the Norwegian government began to sponsor further meetings between the two men, and eventually their respective parties. As a result of these meetings, a Declaration of Principles was "initialed" between the officials of the two parties. Initial groundwork by Track II diplomats on all sides was used until the parties were comfortable enough to sponsor and publicly support the discussions and their content.

Workshops and Social Psychology in Track II Diplomacy
Workshops, re-education and cooperative programs targeting unofficial and local level participants are strong attributes of Track II diplomacy. Track II supports and participates in efforts between conflicting parties, allowing for lower level participants to come together in order to discuss issues and solutions to the conflict as well as issues and solutions to concerns outside the conflict. This helps foster mutual understanding and cooperation in the reconciliation process. Getting to know the other side and their views reduces the chances of misunderstandings which may threaten the Peacemaking process. And as Krisburg has noted, this helps the use of different channels in order to provide alternative paths when conflicts do occur which may threaten a breakdown of the Peacemaking process.

Track II During Peacebuilding
Once peace treaties have been signed and the pictures have been taken, the role of the Track II diplomats becomes increasingly important. As Miall, Ramsbotham and Woodhouse have stated, the goal of peace-building is to prevent a relapse of violence and create a self-sustainable. Peacebuilding, the process by which communities disarm, reconcile and rebuild, is a slow, long and personal process. Even the infrastructure designed through the peace treaties or cease-fires does not address nor allow for the problems of rebuilding communities and social, political and economic ties. For long-term peace improvements in the cultural, economic and social lives of the conflicted in societies, as well as the need to create new common identities and vested interests, Kriesburg notes that the involvement of Track II actors is vital.

The process of reconciliation after an inter-communal war is not easy. Not only do militarists have to be reintroduced into society but society needs to once-again return to a normal civil life in the same areas where only weeks/months earlier fighting had ensued. This becomes further complicated when communities torn apart are divided or "negotiated" to live side-by-side. The success of the reconciliation is in tandem to the success of the peace agreements. Different Second Track organizations are designed and targeted for different areas of the reconciliation process. Some seek to re-distribute food and supplies to broken communities. Some seek to re-educate militarists in local and civil employment. Some foster communication between community members or even such as Habitat for Humanity, seek to literally rebuild communities. The more advantageous combine the physical restructuring of communities with the emotional reconciliation of broken communities, bringing previously warring groups together to rebuild bombed out schools, hospitals, and other communal institutions.

Finally, Second Track diplomacy during the peace-building stage is one of the front linesmen for detecting early warning signs of re-occurring violence and of threats to the peace process at the local level.

Third Parties in Track I Diplomacy

Third Party Support
When a Track II diplomat acts as a third party supporter or advocate, it generally does so with the intent to bring an issue to the attention of a Track I diplomat. This may mean being a supporting advocate in order to prevent a conflict and its re-escalation or help to bring issues and concerns to justice during the Peacemaking or Peacebuilding stages in a conflict.

Third Party Track II diplomacy aids in numerous areas. An important area is that of truth and reconciliation commissions. This includes aiding justice commissions to uncover and gather facts on genocide, rape, robbery or torture. This task is a combined effort by both Track I and Track II organizations. Track II organizations are needed to help interview both the victims and the possible criminals (or soldiers, as the case may be), while Track I is needed to bring the issues (and criminals) to court. Not only do Track II organizations usually have a better relationship with the local populations but most often civilians are more willing to talk to them than to official representatives from governments or multinational organizations. Thus the information gathered through Track II methods is critical for building cases against war criminals.

Due to constraints on official organizations arising from political pressures, grassroots organizations and local level contacts are vital for detecting the beginnings of political unrest in a region. In many cases the reports by NGOs or other grassroots organizations have been the main reasons for identifying the beginnings of inter-communal conflict. Unfortunately, sometimes they are "so grassroots" that their opinions are not heeded. In Rwanda, NGOs were the first to signal to the international community that something was occurring due to the influx of refugees and local reports of wide-spread violence. When heeded, Second Track diplomats can be very useful in aiding policy responses to initial instances of violence or conflict. Their information not only proves helpful in creating the policy, but their presence is vital for the implementation of that policy. In Macedonia the UN not only patrolled the borders but sponsored dialogues with community leaders and NGOs organized confidence-building measures such as trash pick-ups with Albanians and Macedonians aimed at prevention of erupting or spill-over of violence in the region.

Kriesberg has also stated that third Party Track II diplomacy also aids in preventing violence amongst the conflicting parties by aiding the dissemination of information, countering false rumors, preventing the sale of weapons, and containing the spread of a neighboring conflict through military and humanitarian means. In Macedonia, the surrounding conflict in the neighboring states of the former Yugoslavia threatened its internal stability. It was only through the combined work of the UN, OSCE and NGOs that violence did not break out in the early 1990s.

Third Party Mediation
Second Track diplomacy has been known to bring parties together and ensure they are on similar playing fields before starting the negotiation process. During the de-escalation process in negotiation, leaders "are reluctant to appear to have made a mistake by changing the course they have begun," states Kriesberg. Second Track diplomacy ensures this does not happen by creating a solid and mutual foundation upon which the official negotiations can begin. Through initiation by a Track II mediator, high level participants do not lose face by committing to official interactions and meetings.
During Peacemaking, Second Track diplomats can also ensure that participants at the grassroots levels are involved and notified of the advancements in the negotiation process. This creates dual-level checks and balances throughout the process. The main actors have to be sensitive to the desires and feelings of the ground-level participants in the process. This is especially important in internal conflicts where the guerilla forces might not adhere to one set leader for their cause. By keeping in touch with information of the advancements in the negotiation process, they not only feel a part of the developments but also provide their assurance that no further violence will occur. This is the role of the Track II diplomat because the violent factions of the different parties, if not under direct control of the political leaders, are easily able to violate any agreement, and will if they feel it does not address their concerns. The official actors, however, might not feel the violent factions are legitimate enough to warrant a voice. It is therefore up to the Track II diplomats to create a channel between the official actors of the negotiation, and the unofficial fighters of the conflict. As Kriesburg further states, the "sentiments of the rank-and-file members of the opposing sides" is critical to the success of a protracted and sustainable peace. So is the Track II diplomat.

New Developments in the Field
Some academics further distinguish between Track II and Track III diplomacy, stating that Track II is comprised of regional and local leaders, such as religious leaders, local politicians and other esteemed members of the community. Track III is then defined as further grassroots actions targeting the individuals affected by the conflict. This distinction is noteworthy due to the growing delineation between regional/local leaders and the participants in a conflict. Here Track II is defined as all non-elite actors in a conflict.

Critiques of Track II Diplomacy
The Track II diplomat has a large task in any situation. The problems are numerous and issues of legitimacy frequently arise. Since Track II diplomacy is usually driven by inter-personal relations, these can swing for or against any effort. NGOs, for example, survive by becoming personal and intimate with the local community. Andrew Natsios writes that this can distort perceptions and hinder the effectiveness of NGOs in a situation of conflict. At times the Track II actor is given too much influence; other times not enough attention is given to the reports generated through Track II efforts. In some cases the agenda of the Track II actor is in conflict with the efforts of the Track I actors. For example, a Track II agenda of seeking "justice" (such as uncovering human rights abuses), can threaten the negotiation process if the participants feel they are going to be charged with violations once the cease-fires have been arranged. Additionally, NGOs and other organizations dependent on conflict and suffering for their survival have the awkward position of needing the conflict, its atrocities and controversies for their continued existence. This claim has been both defended and refuted, for it places these Track II diplomats in an unfavoring light, as being dependent on the conflict for recognition.

One must also look at the qualifications of the Second Track diplomat. Is this an organization newly implanted in the region, how much knowledge and/or experience does this group have? And more importantly, how much experience do the individuals working for/within the group have? These issues are something to keep in mind when analyzing the efforts of Second Track diplomacy, its role and its effectiveness in conflicts. For further information regarding the roles of organizations in conflict management, please refer to the section on conflict management organizations.

Peace Agreements

Spoiler Management
Potential spoilers are defined by Stedman as “leaders and parties who believe that peace emerging from negotiations threatens their power, worldview, and interests, and use violence to undermine attempts to achieve it” (Stedman 1997: 5).  When spoilers are party to negotiations they can strongly affect the negotiation dynamic and severely complicate the situation.  Thus, not only is special care required when spoilers are at the table, but distinct strategies for negotiation are needed as well.

In a seminal 1997 article, “Spoiler Problems in Peace Processes,” Stedman analyzed how spoilers can derail peace processes after a ceasefire agreement is reached, often throwing the country back into conflict.  But before that stage is reached, spoilers need to be confronted in pre-negotiation (in order to convince them to come to the table) and at the bargaining table, brought into the peace process and made to sign an agreement.  Spoilers in the post-negotiation peace process are a moot point if spoilers cannot be convinced to come to the bargaining table and sign.

This analysis assesses strategies for “spoiler management” prior to and during negotiations.  It begins with two case studies: the first of what was ultimately effective spoiler management – the handling of Chief Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi during negotiations over the shape of the new South Africa; and the second of what is, to date, failed spoiler management – efforts to reach a settlement on the reunification of Cyprus.  It then considers “what the experts say” on dealing with spoilers, based on advice from dozens of experienced negotiations.  Finally, it offers a concise, original set of recommendations for convincing spoilers to come to the bargaining table and sign.

Case Study One: Dealing with Buthelezi and the IFP in South Africa

Buthelezi is the archetypical spoiler.  A man of “strident personality” (M. Ottaway 1993: 64), according to Ottaway he “was probably the most unpleasant politician on the African continent – suspicious, unpredictable, touchy, and so easily offended that normal journalistic questions often provoked blasts of fury” (D. Ottaway 1993: 115). “His deep paranoia made him explode at slights where none were intended, and generally rendered him incapable of rational debate,” Waldmeir writes.  “No one found it easy to talk to Buthelezi” (Waldemeir 1997: 243).  Such behavior, according to Leon Wessels, the National Party’s chief negotiator in the early 1990s, comes about because Buthelezi: "is accustomed to being treated like a chief minister, like a boss, like a chief of his tribe.  If he doesn’t get his way, he throws his toys out of the playpen.  Buthelezi is not used to exchanging punches with people in the arena, and then making friend with them again…if Buthelezi doesn’t get his way he takes it as a personal affront and nurtures a grievance” (Sparks 1995: 185) .

His behavior is perceived by some to be borderline irrational, as “ambiguity seemed to be the hallmark of his thinking, one that he had honed to a fine art” (D. Ottaway 1993: 116).  Making matters worse, because of his distant relation to the revered Zulu King Shaka, Buthelezi feels that he has a divine right to speak for all Zulus.  “I have the right and duty to speak for the Zulu people which no power on earth will ever take away from me,” he once said.  “I was born to lead, and I was also elected to lead” (Sparks 1995: 222).

Despite his unappealing features, in the immediate post-apartheid period Buthelezi had to be dealt with.  He was the dominant black political figure of the 1970s and a major anti-apartheid activist (though, in a hint of the strange behavior to come, he opposed armed struggle and international sanctions on South Africa).  More important, in the early 1990s he was the principal political representative of both Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini (an uneducated man who was essentially subsidiary to Buthelezi) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), which, according to Buthelezi, included more than two million Zulus.
In negotiations with the African National Congress (ANC) and National Party (NP) over the shape of the new South Africa, specifically over the details of the new constitution and the workings of the 1994 elections, Buthelezi’s demands were extreme.  He “challenged the idea of a unitary state of South Africa” (Mandela 1994: 575) and demanded that Zulus have the right to self-determination and be allowed to draft their own constitution, which meant that KwaZulu-Natal (the region inhabited primarily by Zulus) would have its own president, constitutional court, central bank and army Sparks 1995: 221). Buthelezi was essentially demanding an extreme version of a federal South Africa, which was an unworkable proposal in the eyes of the ANC and NP.  But Buthelezi seemed completely unwilling to compromise.

Buthelezi’s most powerful bargaining chip was violence, and he was more than willing to use it.  He “spent years coaxing the embers of Zulu nationalism into full flame,” Waldmeir 1997: 173) leaving many Zulus amenable to violent confrontations with their fellow South Africans.  A low-level civil war raged in KwaZulu-Natal in the early 1990s, leaving thousands dead.  Buthelezi didn’t hesitate to export violence to other regions of South Africa as well, once marching hundreds of spear-wielding Zulus through the streets of Johannesburg.

Nelson Mandela and F.W. De Klerk, leaders of the ANC and NP, respectively, knew that an agreement on the constitution and elections would only be viewed as legitimate if Buthelezi and the IFP were party to it.  Thus Mandela, and to a lesser extent De Klerk, went out of their way to bring Buthelezi into the process, to make him feel welcome.  Mandela took the lead, his initial strategy being one of friendly appeasement.  “On a personal level, my relations with Chief Buthelezi were close and respectful,” Mandela wrote in his autobiography,  “My goal was to forge an independent relationship with the king, separate from my relationship with Chief Buthelezi.  The king was the true hereditary leader of the Zulus, who loved and respected him.  Fidelity to the kind was far more widespread in KwaZulu than allegiance to Inkatha” (Mandela 1994: 576). Buthelezi had consistently campaigned for Mandela’s release from prison, and for that he had earned Mandela’s respect.  According to Waldmeir: "Mandela seems to have based his early approach to Buthelezi on this pop psychoanalysis of his character.  He always understood that the way around the Zulu leader was to ‘stroke’ him, to give him the love and approval he craved from the world – and especially from Mandela himself.  Mandela kept in touch with him from prison, writing respectful letters to the ANC’s worst enemy.  When he left jail, Buthelezi was one of the first people he phoned, to thank the Zulu leader for his long campaign to secure his release" (Waldmeir 1997: 174).

Mandela was uniquely positioned to deal with Buthelezi, because “with his tribal background, Mandela respected Buthelezi in a way his colleagues did not; and as a brilliant student of human nature, he also had a better intuitive understanding of how to deal with him” (Waldmeir 1997: 174). “Mandela wanted to deal with Buthelezi directly, chief to chief, and thereby bring an end to the fighting,” according to Ottaway.  “Whether he was dealing with De Klerk or Buthelezi, he clearly preferred ‘personal diplomacy’" (D. Ottaway 1993: 96)
But even Mandela, the brilliant negotiator, struggled mightily to crack Buthelezi.  For months he tried and failed to convince Buthelezi to sit down with him to discuss their differences.  Mandela’s affinity for Buthelezi and willingness to negotiate with him wasn’t shared by many of his ANC colleagues, who urged Mandela to take a harder line with Buthelezi.  “ANC leaders chose frontal confrontation when dealing with Chief Buthelezi,” according to Waldmeir.  “It was a strategy designed to fail, and it never disappointed” (Waldmeir 1997: 243).  Meanwhile, the violence in KwaZulu Natal and elsewhere escalated, and the chances of coming to an agreement with Buthelezi seemed to diminish by the day.  As the process dragged on and elections neared, “Buthelezi became increasingly intractable and belligerent, to the point where he loomed over the peace process as a calculated spoiler” (D. Ottaway 1993: 114).
The primary issue became Buthelezi’s participation in the country’s first democratic elections, scheduled to start on April 26, 1994.  No progress was made in the first two months of 1994, but:
Then, on March 1 – a scant eight weeks before the election – came the first tentative sign that disaster might be averted.  Mandela promised to ‘go down on my knees to beg those who want to drag our country into bloodshed and persuade them not to do so,’ and that was what he did.  He went to Durban and did what other ANC leaders could not bring themselves to try – he ‘stroked’ chief Buthelezi.  ‘Buthelezi is very strange, he is like a child in front of Mandela,’ one participant in the meeting recalls.  ‘And he was just overwhelmed’” (Waldmeir 1997: 245).

This was the first sign of positive progress, but it didn’t secure Buthelezi’s participation. At this stage, as Mandela recalls, "Chief Buthelezi agreed to provisionally register for the elections in exchange for a promise to subject our differences over constitutional issues to international mediation.  To this I gladly assented…But when Inkatha was informed that the election date was not subject to mediation, they refused to see the mediators, who left without talking to anyone.  Now Chief Buthelezi knew the election would take place no matter what" (Mandela 1994: 615-616)
Buthelezi wanted the election date moved back so that if he participated he would have more time to campaign.  But it was made clear to him that the date was non-negotiable, and that the proverbial “train was leaving the station” (a negotiating strategy discussed in detail below).  This proved to be a turning point, as “Buthelezi had now run out of options.  The election was going ahead with or without him” (Sparks 1995: 225). Buthelezi sought the counsel of an old friend, a Kenyan lawyer named Washington Okumu, who advised him to “participate and fight his case from within the new system” (Sparks 1995: 225).  One week before the start of elections, Buthelezi agreed to participate.  Accounting for his decision is difficult, as “no one, even in Buthelezi’s inner circle, claims to understand the workings of his mind well enough to know what really happened.  It seems likely that Buthelezi simply calculate his options and chose the least costly one” (Waldmeir 1997: 250).  The elections, proceeded relatively smoothly, and South Africa entered a new era of democracy and equality.  The IFP earned 6.7% of the vote and Buthelezi was named Minister of Home Affairs in the new government.

In Stedman’s typology of spoilers, Buthelezi fits the description of the greedy spoiler, who “holds goals that expand or contract based on calculations of cost and risk” (Stedman 1997: 11).  Early in the process Buthelezi’s goals were extraordinary and unworkable, but as elections neared those goals contracted to the point where he could be brought into the process.  Spoiler management was only effective at the last minute, when it appeared destined to fail.  In the months and weeks leading up the elections, it seemed increasingly apparent that the polls would have to go on without Buthelezi and the IFP, which would have considerably detracted from their credibility.  But this is a testament to the utility of time in spoiler management, as the fact that time was running out clearly forced Buthelezi’s hand.  Stedman argues that “mediation efforts should not be like buses that come along every fifteen minutes.  Instead, they should be like the Lake Victoria ferry – one never knows if and when it is likely to pass by again” (Stedman 1996: 363).  The same principle applies to spoiler management: spoilers shouldn’t have the luxury of knowing that they will have another chance to moderate their behavior and join the process – they should think that every chance may be the last.  One of the reasons Buthelezi was forced to act was that he didn’t know if or when another opportunity to jump aboard the nation-shaping process would come, so he decided to take this opportunity.

This is a fine example of the “departing train” strategy of spoiler management, which “combines a judgment that the spoiler’s demands and behavior are illegitimate with the assertion that the peace process will go irrevocably forward, regardless of whether the spoiler joins or not” (Stedman 1997: 14).  Mandela made clear that elections and constitution-making would proceed with or without Buthelezi, who realized that if he missed this opportunity to participate he would likely be shut out of the process for some time to come, and may recede to only marginal political importance.   Mandela’s behavior also fits Rubin’s observation that “effective negotiators tend to be flexible on means and firm on goals” (Rubin 2001: 104).  His goal was elections and a new constitution and he was not willing to deviate from it, but Mandela was willing to get creative in strategies for reaching that goal, evidenced by his willingness to “go down on my knees” for Buthelezi. 

When dealing with greedy spoilers, Stedman recommends “a long term strategy of socialization” (Stedman 1997: 15).  Socialization, he says, “requires custodians to establish a set of norms for acceptable behavior by internal parties who commit to peace or external parties who seek to join a peace process” (Stedman 1997: 13).  This was tried, to some extent, with Buthelezi, but the short term results were disappointing.  He did not react well to the imposition of norms of behavior.  Every time efforts were made to moderate his behavior, it seemed, he would lash out in response, which often meant an escalation in violence.  This is why the long-term aspect is critical: in he short term socialization is likely to offend and upset the spoiler, as it did Buthelezi, but in the long term it can be effective in making clear to the spoiler what type of behavior will be acceptable.  This was the end result with Buthelezi, as his behavior, in the end, did comply with the norms established by the custodians, Mandela and De Klerk.

Case Study Two: Dealing with Denktash in Cyprus
In contrast to Buthelezi, Rauf Denktash has not always fit the spoiler mold.  A 79 year-old lawyer, Denktash has been leader of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” unrecognized internationally except by Turkey, for more than a quarter-century.  Cyprus, located 40 miles from Turkey and 600 miles from Greece, won independence from Great Britain in 1960.  Approximately 18% of Cypriots are Turkish (roughly 200,000 in all) and 80% Greek, yet Turkish-Cypriots have controlled 37% of the land since Turkey invaded in 1974 to “restore constitutional order” (Hadjipavlou-Trigeorgis and Trigeorgis 1993: 344) after a Greek-initiated coup attempt against President Archbishop Makarios.   Since then the island has essentially been partitioned in two, and efforts to find a lasting reunification agreement between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots have dragged on for decades to no avail.  Negotiations have been interspersed with violence and terrorism – casualty estimates are difficult to find, but it is generally agreed that thousands have died in the conflict.

Denktash seems to have a visceral, thinly-veiled dislike for Greek-Cypriots.  “If his conversation, casual or polite, is anything to go by, he loathes the Greeks,” according to The Economist.  “Every fibre of his being is committed to fending off what he sees as the genetic impulse of greedy, unscrupulous Greeks to humiliate Turkish-Cypriots, turn them back into Cyprus’s underclass (as, he would say with some justice, they once were), and hound them off the island altogether if they could…the whole purpose of Mr. Denktash is to keep Greeks and Turks apart." (Economist 1998) His convictions are partially based on his reading of history; in 1999 Denktash wrote in a Turkish magazine: Turkey saved the Turkish Cypriot people together with the Turkish Cypriots’ land and share of the independence and sovereignty of Cyprus.  Greek Cypriots succeeded in destroying the 1960 partnership, but they failed to destroy the Turkish Cypriot partner who safeguarded its rights and status at great loss of life and property. (Denktash 1999)

Denktash’s principal demand is for a loose federal arrangement in which the two states, Turkish Cyprus and Greek Cyprus, are nominally linked, but each has clear territorial boundaries in order to preserve homogeneity and security.  He seems willing to cede some territory to Greek Cyprus, but has “held out for the ‘29%-plus’ that would leave the Turks the town of Morphou and its rich citrus-growing area” (Economist 1992).  He has various other concerns that have hampered past negotiations, among them the return of refugees, the right of secession, and the role of Turkish troops, to name a few.  Greek-Cypriot leaders, meanwhile, have through the years demanded a “’unitary’ federal state with a strong central government and no internal borders.” (Hadjipavlou-Trigeorgis and Trigeorgis 1993: 345).  Given the massive demographic advantage of Greek-Cypriots on the island, this would imply a government dominated by Greek-Cypriots. 

Prior to his recent spate of stubborn behavior, there were past indications of Denktash’s obstinacy.  For example, at UN-sponsored talks in 1992 Denktash “refused to show at his scheduled meetings with the Secretary-General and Mr. Vassiliou [the Greek-Cypriot leader at the time] in protest for not being addressed as ‘President’ (as Mr. Vassiliou  had been) in an internal U.N. appointment schedule” (Hadjipavlou-Trigeorgis and Trigeorgis 1993: 345).  Another example is a journalist’s account of how: "In 1997, in response to the Greek Cypriots’ application to join the EU, Rauf Denktash, the septuagenarian president of the breakaway north, started to enforce a severe crackdown on all bicommunal events.  ‘What’s the point of such contacts?’ Dengtash retorted when I put the question to him in his colonial-era sandstone office.  ‘I’ve heard the only thing people do at these meeting is have sex'" (Smith 2001).

But it is only recently that Denktash has wholeheartedly assumed the role of spoiler.  His recent actions and “truculent” (Economist 2003) behavior suggest that he is actively trying to stand in the way of a negotiated settlement to the Cyprus question. 

Kofi Annan is the latest in a long line of prominent people who have tried to broker a lasting settlement in Cyprus; others include Henry Kissinger, Dean Acheson and Clark Clifford.  Annan has devoted considerable time and energy to Cyprus, and has, to some degree, staked his credibility on the outcome.  But his efforts have yielded few tangible results and produced little real progress.  Last November, Annan unveiled a blueprint for cohabitation in Cyprus, under which a central government would administer the entire island except for the Karpas peninsula, which would remain under Turkish control (some areas would be transferred between Greek and Turkish control as well).  He said the parties had until February 28 to sign on to his plan, which did not occur.  In March, he called Denktash and Greek-Cypriot president Tassos Papadopoulos to The Hague in an apparent last-ditch effort to secure their signatures.  The talks were an utter failure.  “The Annan plan is not acceptable,” (The Guardian 2003).  Denktash said.  “We have reached the end of the road,” Annan lamented.  According to The Guardian, “the talks stumbled over Turkish insistence that their breakaway Cypriot state win full recognition, and demands by the Greeks for the right of refugees to return to homes in northern Cyprus that they left 29 years ago.”

Then in April 2003, adding insult to injury, Denktash announced that his party would not be represented at reunification talks called by the Greek prime minister (Tezgor 2003).

The new twist to the latest round of negotiations is that there is growing disapproval of Denktash’s tactics and behavior within his own constituency, which is becoming increasingly vocal.  In December, thousands of Turkish-Cypriots took to the streets to demand that Denktash sign a peace deal.  Some called for his resignation.  Then in January, about 70,000 Turkish Cypriots – roughly one-third of the total Turkish-Cypriot population – took to the streets to protest Denktash.  They chanted “we can’t wait another 40 years,” waved olive branches and EU flags (in reference to the Cyprus’ EU candidacy), and carried banners reading “we no longer want to be prisoners” and “if you don’t have a pen, we have one” (Smith 2003). According to The New York Times, “an overwhelming majority of the island’s residents favor unification now” (Simons 2003).

Furthermore, according to The Guardian, polls show that “as many as two in three Turkish Cypriots vehemently disagreed with the negative posture Mr. Denktash has maintained since UN-sponsored reunification talks began” (Smith 2002).  The leader of the Turkish Republican Party, the main opposition to Denktash, claims that “Denktash has alienated himself from his people,” (Tezgor 2003) and Jim Hoagland reported that “there are hints that the Turkish Cypriot leader…is finding his own people increasingly hard to control.”  Denktash is also under increasing pressure from the new government in Turkey to reach an agreement – while he was in Ankara for medical tests last December, Turkish ruling party members publicly snubbed Denktash by not visiting him in the hospital (Smith 2002).

Further complicating the situation is Cyprus’ entry into the EU.  For the past several years Cyprus was being considered for admission to the EU, but the pressing question concerned which Cyprus would enter – a unified Cyprus or only Greek Cyprus?  The answer seemed to hinge largely on Denktash, as did the candidacies of other potential EU members; in 2001 Smith argued that
Denktash is now widely seen as the man who could hold up the entire EU enlargement process.  If he continues to resist unification talks and a divided Cyprus is rejected by the EU, Athens has promised to veto the access of the other candidates: Poland, Malta, Hungary and Estonia (Smith 2001).

Turkish Cypriots, perhaps based on their history and familiarity with Denktash, seemed to know what was coming: "Few places are as frequently disconsolate and despairing as the internationally isolated Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.  Few places are as angry.  And no place is as gripped by a sense of impending doom at the prospect of missing out on membership to the EU "(Smith 2001).

Their fear was justified.  After Denktash’s refusal to accept the UN plan, Greek Cyprus was granted admission into the EU in 2004 while Turkish Cyprus was shut out.   

Consequently, Denktash has been severely criticized in the international media since the most recent failure to reach an agreement.   “This time it is overwhelmingly Mr. Denktash’s fault that a settlement has been blocked,” The Economist opined (2003).  “The defiance of one grumpy old man derailed peace plans put forward by diplomats from the United Nations and the European Union this week,” Hoagland wrote.  “The stubborn, self-defeating unilateralist I have in mind is Rauf Denktash…[who] preferred to cling to personal power rather than accept the dislocation of change” (2003).  Similar critiques appeared in other prominent publications.

Recent attempts by mediators to find a solution to the Cyprus question have failed largely because of two rather basic mistakes: lack of a credible “departing train” threat and an inability to take advantage of Denktash’s splintered constituency.

Annan appears intent on using a “departing train” strategy, but has faltered in its execution.  First he identified February 28 as the final deadline for signing on to his plan, but he failed to adhere to that commitment.  Then in March, during the emergency meeting in The Hague, it was reported that “if stalemate prevails, as seems likely, Mr. Annan says he will abandon all further efforts to settle Cyprus during his time as UN boss.” (Economist 2003).  But he failed to stick to this commitment as well: in April, after the March effort fizzled, Annan said “that he will stick by his reunification plan for Cyprus even if it has been rejected by Turkish-Cypriots.” Guardian 20  These repeated turnarounds make the threat that the train is leaving, never to return, not credible.  They send the message to Denktash and others that there will always be another opportunity to come to the table, and that there is no urgency to reaching an agreement.

Part of the problem is the wide recognition that the stakes for Annan and the UN are high, particularly given the UN’s failure to play a meaningful role in Iraq and lingering questions concerning its relevance.  Both Annan and the UN need a victory to boost morale and credibility, a fact recognized by Denktash and others.  Denktash understands, therefore, that though Annan may threaten to abandon his efforts in Cyprus, given Annan’s need for good news and the amount of time and effort he has already invested in Cyprus, he is unlikely to give up on the project. 

Also detracting from the credibility of the “departing train” strategy is the fact that negotiations have been ongoing for 27 years, so Denktash has every reason to believe that they will continue indefinitely.  No doubt there have been threats in the past of a “departing train,” but they have never rung true.  In part this is because there are only two critical parties involved, and both are needed for an agreement.  In the South African case, Mandela and De Klerk could have, conceivably, proceeded without Buthelezi and the IFP, though it would have made their lives difficult and diluted the impact of the elections and new constitution.  But in Cyprus, Turkish Cyprus must be party to any meaningful agreement.  This places the Turkish-Cypriot leader in a strong position.  Denktash knows that whenever solutions to the current stalemate are discussed, he has to be involved.

The second mistake on the part of mediators concerns their inability to use discontent among Turkish-Cypriots to pressure Denktash.  Annan has made some effort at this, at one point in January warning Denktash, after the pro-unification rally, that “the people are speaking, and it is very difficult not to listen to the people when they come out in those numbers" (Smith 2003).  But Denktash was able to brush off the criticism, and Annan hasn’t followed up.  Mediators need to make much more out of Denktash’s waning support and the increasing Turkish-Cypriot hostility towards him.  One strategy would be to threaten to negotiate with somebody other than Denktash if he continues to ignore the wishes of his constituents, though this would depend on whether a credible alternative negotiator could be found.

According to Stedman’s typology, Denktash is close to being a total spoiler, defined as those who “pursue total power and exclusive recognition of authority and hold immutable preferences: that is their goals are not subject to change.” (Stedman 1997: 10).  Stedman suggests that “total spoilers cannot be accommodated in a peace settlement; they must be defeated or so marginalized that they can do little damage.” (Stedman 1997: 14). It is unlikely that Denktash can be defeated but he probably can be marginalized, and the eroding support among his constituents may provide a means for marginalizing him.  So far mediators have failed to use this asset to their advantage, but they would be wise to try to do so in the future.
What the Experts Say
Through both the SAIS Negotiation Practicum course and the Insights into Negotiating conference of 2002, dozens of experienced negotiators and mediators have been through SAIS.  Each has offered a short, concise list of negotiating guidelines, spanning a variety of types of negotiations.  Some of their tips relate directly to spoiler management, others more tangentially, and still others not at all.  Presented below is a compilation of tips relevant to negotiations with spoilers, grouped into five categories: Who to bring to the table, Relations with spoilers, From the spoiler’s perspective, General strategies and Spoiler-specific strategies:

1. Who to bring to the table

“Those who are doing the fighting must be at the table to produce meaningful agreements.” (Wolpe)

“What has been achieved, or not achieved on the battlefield is relevant and cannot be ignored.” (Cohen)

“The third party intervener must make sure that the negotiators who come to the table are truly representative of the parties in conflict.” (Cohen)

2. Relations with spoilers

“Meet people personally, possibly in their ‘place’ first.” (Bartoli)

“Build personal relations with everyone with whom you are negotiating.” (Goodby)

“Feel free to conduct bilateral consultations with the parties both before, during and after the negotiations.” (Gambari)

“Promote a positive atmosphere for negotiation: Informal meetings on any occasion (birthdays, weddings) should be used to bring the belligerents together.  However, no unnecessary familiarity, and sobriety is required.” (Ould-Abdallah)

3. From the spoiler’s perspective

“Face saving is crucial.  One must avoid saying anything that is humiliating to the other side, and, where possible, it is advisable to show deference, provided that it is not cheap flattery.” (Deng)

“Sense of ownership in the process is the sina qua non of a sustainable agreement.” (Wolpe)
“Always think about how to solve the other party’s problem without compromising your own goals.” (Goodby)

4. General strategies

“Be as tough as you have to be…and only as tough as you have to be.  A good negotiator requires fortitude and nerves of steel, but is never gratuitously harsh.” (Polaski)

“Never forget that there are many others who can affect the final result.” (Bartoli)
“Maintain dialogue, keep lines of communication open at all times, with all parties and with those how influence parties…maintain credibility at all times, also maintain civility, no matter how nasty the interlocutor (except on rare occasions when one may need to feign anger.” (Oakley)

“Try to co-opt the other side’s negotiator into joining with you in a common enterprise, reaching an agreement.” (Dean)

5. Spoiler-specific strategies

“Ice the would-be external spoilers; co-opt the internal ones” (Schear)

“Do not make an alliance with spoilers by using their violence as an excuse for breaking off your negotiations.  When reconciliation is already in process, ceasefires can precede negotiations for a settlement, but in situations of violent conflict, parties have to know that they are going to get in a settlement before they can be expected to stop fighting for it.” (Zartman)

“Negotiation is not magic and is not separated from politics.  Not even the greatest negotiator can succeed if a party is committed to fighting or if the negotiator’s own political leadership is indifferent about, conflicted over, or opposed to the solution the negotiator is using.” (O’Brien)
Several themes emerge from this compilation.  One is that the decision concerning which spoilers a negotiator or mediator deals with is as important as how helvi deals with them.  There can be lucrative benefits to being a spoiler in negotiations (as Buthelezi discovered), so there may be many individuals or groups vying to be considered spoilers.  A good negotiator or mediator shouldn’t take all the bait; he should do his homework and know which parties are legitimate and needed for a meaningful agreement, and which parties are not.  According to Rubin: "One should probably attempt to include in negotiations all parties who are in a position to disrupt whatever settlement is arrived at; it may be more difficult to reach agreement with many parties and many issues floating around, but if an agreement can be reached under these circumstances, it will have a greater chance of surviving" (Rubin 2001: 100)

Zartman present a similar argument: "It is in the interests of both negotiating parties to restrict participation to those susceptible of reaching an agreement, but it is also in the interest of each to bring in as many of their extremes as necessary to strengthen their bargaining positions (Z

In the South African case, Buthelezi and the IFP were critical to the process, were certainly positioned to disrupt any settlement to which they were not party, and were to be ignored only at the peril of the ANC and NP.  But in that process there were potential spoilers who could be ignored, such as some of the white extremist groups with small followings.  The main players did well by not getting bogged down trying to bring them into the process, and, as Zartman suggests, basically restricted participation to those who might reasonably be expected to cooperate.  Then they continued to move forward while leaving the door open for the small fringe groups to join, and as it turned out, some of these groups recognized their weak position and joined the process with very little inducement at all.  Cohen’s second point is also crucial – an effective negotiator or mediator must make sure that a potential spoiler actually represents the people and interest that he says he does, and that there is “solidarity of support”lix within that group.  Based on the recent demonstrations in Turkish Cyprus, there are real questions as to whether such solidarity exists behind Denktash.

According to the experts, personal relations with spoilers are critical to bringing them into the process.  Mandela recognized this and tried, to little avail, to take advantage of his warm relations with Buthelezi.  Nonetheless, it is important to at least try to cultivate good relations with the spoiler, because if the effort is not made the spoiler can claim “you never even tried to talk to me!”  Mandela actually tried to follow Bartoli’s advice and meet Buthelezi in “his place,” but the idea was vetoed by his ANC colleagues and a suitable alternative location could not be found.  Nonetheless, this is a good idea, because a spoiler may feel more comfortable in his home environment and therefore be less likely to act out, and it shows that the negotiator is serious about bringing the spoiler into the process (keep in mind that the recent U.S.-North Korea negotiations were held in Beijing, and that negotiations between the two are rarely held in Pyongyang).  Following Gambari’s advice, Mandela also engaged in bilateral negotiations with Buthelezi before other parties got involved.  Given Buthelezi’s unpredictability, this was a good idea – if he was going to make a scene, better he do so with only one other party present.

Finally, the experts recognize that understanding the spoiler’s needs, and finding a way for him to satisfy his constituents, are important components in successful negotiations.  “Face saving” and “ownership” are critical considerations when dealing with spoilers, thus the need for the negotiator or mediator to “put himself in the spoiler’s shoes.”  Mandela made some effort to consider Buthelezi’s position and try to reach an agreement that could appease Buthelezi’s constituents.  In the end, though, it wasn’t Buthelezi’s constituents but Buthelezi himself who presented the problem, just as Denktash’s constituents are not the problem, either.  Mandela was able to reach an agreement with Buthelezi that satisfied him on a personal level (Buthelezi’s new job as minister of home affairs probably had something to do with this).  The agreement assuaged Buthelezi’s ego, essentially allowing him to “save face” with himself.  Furthermore, Buthelezi’s participation in elections gave him a sense of ownership in the process.  Denktash seems to be a difficult man to satisfy, but it is important to consider how he can “save face” and develop a sense of ownership in any potential solution in Cyprus. 

Conclusion: Guide to Dealing with Spoilers

Drawing from the case studies and experts’ advice, this analysis concludes with an original list of guidelines for negotiating with spoilers.
1.  Err on the side of including too many parties, not too few, in negotiations
It can be difficult to determine who to deal with, but it is better to talk with too many people rather than too few, because it is often easier to kick people out of the process rather than bring them in at a later date.  In order to know the character of a spoiler, and gauge whether he can be dealt with, he needs to be involved in the process towards the beginning.

2.  Get to know the spoiler
According to Rubin, “the personality of the leader is a factor of great importance, as is his or her motivation to make decisions in favor of conflict settlement and negotiation” (Rubin 2001: 102).  Even if the spoiler is an unpleasant individual, efforts should be made to understand the spoiler’s personality and character, which can provide important clues on how best to manage him.  Mandela had prior familiarity with Buthelezi, which proved advantageous for him.  Annan is less personally familiar with Denktash, which has probably hindered his efforts to convince Denktash to sign onto an agreement.

3.  Be willing to move forward without the spoiler (or at least appear willing to)

This is what Mandela did right and Annan did wrong.  Of course, it would have been difficult for Annan to move forward without one of the two essential parties, but by repeatedly promising to close the door but not really doing so, he severely damaged the credibility of his threats.  Meanwhile, it seems likely that Mandela and De Klerk actually would have proceeded with elections and constitution-making without Buthelezi – or at least they made a good show of being willing to do so.

4.  If the train leaves, delay its return

If pursuing a “departing train” strategy, and if negotiations are called off because a deadline passes, do not restart negotiations too quickly.  Annan made this mistake as well: he called off negotiations in February but started again in March, then pronounced negotiations dead later in March but began anew in April.  A more effective approach would have been to make Denktash and others “sweat it out” longer, perhaps leading them to believe that the last opportunity really was the last.  Then, when the train comes back and negotiations resume, there may be more urgency to their efforts and they may be more willing to make concessions.

5.  Appeasing spoilers rarely works and can backfire severely

According to Stedman, “in Angola, Cambodia, and Rwanda, appeasement was an ineffective and morally bankrupt policy.  Appeasement cannot work if the target interprets appeasement as weakness.” (Stedman 1997: 370).  Nor did appeasement worked in either of the two cases analyzed here (though Mandela’s “stroking” of Buthelezi appears to have had some positive effect).  If appeasement is seen as weakness, then the spoiler is likely to push for more, especially if he is a greedy spoiler like Buthelezi.  If he is a total spoiler like Denktash, appeasement won’t work unless the spoiler is offered everything he demands, which is tantamount to complete capitulation. 

6.  Educate yourself about the spoiler’s constituency and its view on the relevant issues

Ultimately, any spoiler has to be at least partially accountable to the constituents he represents; otherwise he would be of little concern in negotiations.  An effective negotiator or mediator should acquaint himself with the spoiler’s constituents and their views – don’t let the spoiler put words in the mouths of his constituents.  It may turn out that their views are a source of leverage in dealing with the spoiler.  If possible, it may be wise to try to bypass the spoiler and communicate with the constituent directly, which can often be done through the media.  To some extent, Annan has tried to do this with the Turkish-Cypriots.  He should continue to do so in later rounds of negotiation.


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