Diplomatic Negotiation Perspective
The diplomatic services of some countries have a working definition of diplomacy that excludes the word negotiation because they don’t like the connotations of that term. They feel that, at worst, the role of a negotiator is to bamboozle the enemy at their front door while your military forces kick down their back door! They see the purpose of practical diplomacy as being to clean up the mess that nations all too often get themselves into by trying to deceive one another and impose a “win-lose” result in so-called negotiations. This resonates with the ethos we have discussed throughout this book, where the objective of principled negotiation is a “win-win” that aims to ensure that all parties to the negotiation realize they have achieved the best possible results. This approach seeks to create additional value above and beyond the value that either of the parties involved in the negotiation could find in isolation. In comparing the functions of diplomatic and commercial negotiation, it is interesting to note that individual businesses could not effectively conduct commercial negotiations without the global infrastructure that is constantly updated and maintained by diplomatic negotiations. At one end of the scale, that infrastructure seeks to avoid war, while at the other end of the scale it paves the way for international law, contracts, finance, transport, and profit. But there is also a negative dimension. Countries can decide to ban trade of certain types such as military and strategic technology. They can choose to impose sanctions on other states, perhaps restricting credit, transport, and other infrastructure facilities. They can set prohibitive trade tariffs and quotas on certain classes of goods. So, in many ways, commercial negotiations can be successful only under the facilitating umbrella of diplomatic negotiation.