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International Negotiation in a Foreign Policy Context

Michael J. Butler and Mark A. Boyer


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Comment on this article   The most common image of international negotiation is one where two or three negotiators are engaged in talks over an issue of great import. Photographs of Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt at Yalta, Reagan and Gorbachev at Reykjavik, or George W. Bush and Tony Blair discussing the status of Iraq encapsulate the conceptual, as well as the visual, images that most people associate with negotiation and diplomacy. Although these images provide valuable snapshots of events, they do little to capture the host of variables that play a role in getting those individuals to the bargaining table and in shaping the outcomes that result from the negotiation process ( Rubin 2002 ). Rather, in seeking to understand better the independent and interactive effects of dispute intensity and complexity, the relative power of the parties and the parties' previous relations, or the timing and initiation of negotiation (among other variables) on negotiation outcomes, we are advised to search for the patterns and generalizations emerging from systematic examination of negotiation and by the development of taxonomies of activities, behaviors, and events related to it ( Druckman 1997 ; Jackson 2000 ). In many ways, the study of international negotiation provides ample illustration of the agent–structure debate in international relations. Put simply, our view of negotiators is ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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