American Negotiating Behavior

Wheeler-Dealers, Legal Eagles, Bullies, and Preachers
April 2010
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This landmark study offers a rich and detailed portrait of the negotiating practices of American officials. It assesses the multiple influences—cultural, institutional, historical, and political—that shape how American policymakers and diplomats approach negotiations with foreign counterparts and highlights behavioral patterns that transcend the actions of individual negotiators and administrations.

Informed by discussions and interviews with more than fifty seasoned foreign and American negotiators, Richard H. Solomon and Nigel Quinney argue that four distinctive mind-sets have combined to shape U.S. negotiating practice: a businessperson’s pragmatic quest for concrete results, a lawyer’s attention to detail, a superpower’s inclination to dictate terms, and a moralizer’s sense of mission. The authors examine how Americans employ time, language, enticements, and pressure tactics at the negotiating table, and how they use (or neglect) the media, back channel communications, and hospitality outside the formal negotiating arena. They also explore the intense interagency rivalries and congressional second-guessing that limit U.S. negotiators’ freedom to maneuver.

A chapter by the eminent historian Robert Schulzinger charts the evolving relationship between U.S. presidents and their negotiators, and the volume presents a set of eight remarkably candid foreign perspectives on particular aspects of American negotiating behavior. These chapters are written by a distinguished cast of ambassadors and foreign ministers, some from countries allied to the United States, others from rivals or adversaries and all with illuminating stories to tell.

In the concluding chapter, Solomon and Quinney propose a variety of measures to enhance America’s negotiating capacities to deal with the new and emerging challenges to effective diplomacy in the 21st century.

Contributors: Gilles Andreani • Chan Heng Chee • David Hannay • Faruk Logoglu • Lalit Mansingh • Yuri Nazarkin • Robert Schulzinger • Koji Watanabe • John Wood

“A goldmine of useful information and ideas that can help make American negotiators--and their counterparts--more effective and the process of negotiations better understood."

George P. Shultz, Hoover Institution

American Negotiating Behavior is a truly unique study of the American negotiator because it explores the foreign perception of American negotiators.”

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Center for Strategic and International Studies

"This book is a gold-mine for anyone interested in American negotiation styles and methods, analysed by two perceptive co-authors and eight experienced international practitioners of diplomacy. One of many merits of the book is that it sets out the parameters for a future diplomacy, adapted to a world where dialogue and negotiations hopefully will be the primary tools for solving conflicts and global problems."

Jan Eliasson, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and President of the United Nations General Assembly

American Negotiating Behavior may well become the definitive primer on the art of effective cross-cultural negotiating. It should be an important part of the education of U.S. diplomat, as well as anyone engaged in international transactions.”

Henry A. Kissinger, U.S. Secretary of State 1973-1977

Richard H. Solomon

Richard H. Solomon has had extensive experience negotiating with East Asian leaders. As assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, he negotiated the first UN "Permanent Five" peacemaking agreement, for Cambodia, and led U.S. bilateral negotiations with Vietnam.

Solomon has been president of the United States Institute of Peace since 1993. He is the author of seven books, including Chinese Negotiating Behavior: Pursuing Interests Through "Old Friends" (USIP Press) and coauthor of American Negotiating Behavior: Wheeler Dealers, Legal-Eagles, Bullies, and Preachers (USIP Press).

Nigel Quinney

Nigel Quinney is president of The Editorial Group and a consultant to European and American think tanks, academic institutions, and multinational corporations. He has more than twenty years' experience as an editor, writer, and researcher in the fields of international relations and conflict resolution.

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