I'd like to examine a great negotiation scene from the beginning of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that sheds some light on pre-settlement settlements, the principal-agency problem, and the gap between positions and interests.
Whoever agrees that the preferred solution to the conflict are two-states-for-two-peoples needs to realize that this possibility to implement is gradually slipping away while no progress, however small or incremental, is being made.
You don't want to be stupid. Only sell something you love to someone you love. Always think "what is the bigger picture here?" In many cases in the bigger picture, the negotiation is not as important as the "sale."
Last June we met with North Korea's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs. It was perhaps among the last substantial, non-classified contact between Westerners and high-level North Korean officials of the regime of Kim Jong Il. We were surprised by what transpired.
Given the passion and commitment and monumental issues the Founders struggled over and compromised over -- most of them were, after all, willing to die for their beliefs -- it is hard, perhaps impossible, to understand our politicians today.
It appears that it is hard to be persuasive when negotiating. People enter negotiations knowing that the other party is an adversary. Each side wants to get the best deal, and so they treat every piece of information given by the other party with skepticism.
In the midst of the debt ceiling frenzy, nobody seems to have noticed that Obama is negotiating in a markedly different way than what we've seen from him in the past. He is at the absolute center of the showdown.
Considering the sweeping changes across the Middle East and the rising din of the popular voice of nonviolent resistance, the United States may be forced to confront the Israeli government with a stark choice.
The public is right to be concerned about nuclear power, and right to bar new plants. Even setting aside the long-term issue of isolating nuclear wastes, the worldwide nuclear industry just doesn't have its act together.
Conservative republicans may feel more sympathetic towards Netanyahu's leadership style, but it would be foolish to lose liberal Americans by playing up partisan differences by publicly undercutting Obama's call for direct negotiations with Abbas.