Opinion / Negotiation Technique

That Trump Speech in Poland

What was President Trump’s speech in Poland really saying? Views differ. Even though anyone listening to the speech might think that Trump pushed back hard against Putin in the speech, it was a stunning victory for Putin: The initial reaction to the speech was far more positive than to his previous attempt […]

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Presidents Trump and Putin

My new Telegraph piece just up (££) looks at the big forces in play as President Trump sits down with President Putin today. A free highlight or two: Vladimir Putin was sworn in as Russia’s President in May 2000. He has led Russia as either President or Prime Minister since […]

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Diplomacy and North Korea

I’ve been busy latterly. Hence this article over at Telegraph Premium (££) on North Korea and its missiles. Maybe you’re too mean or too poor to pay for that? Here are some highlights: Pyongyang has one Great Demand: achieving global acknowledgement/status. Since 2003 when it left the Non-Proliferation Treaty framework […]

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The Diplomacy of Assange

My new piece at DIPLOMAT looks at the practical diplomatic options open to Julian Assange as he peers out of the window of the Ecuador embassy in London and tries to see the sky: Right at the heart of diplomacy is a simple idea: good manners. To be precise, the […]

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The Rise of Faux-Diplomacy

Remember how to train your diplomat? Thus: Busy new areas of Diplomatic Theory are being invented by the social science industrial complex.  Diplomacy is sliced and diced to create new specialities and plump research grant opportunities. Economic Diplomacy. Commercial Diplomacy. Climate Diplomacy. Once these new specialities float off as part […]

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Being Honest With Your Boss

A really difficult and sensitive issue in ‘management’ and ‘leadership’: how do junior colleagues tell senior colleagues that they’re (perhaps) not getting it right? One of my own most powerful life lessons on this came back in the early 1980s when I was a mere Second Secretary at the British […]

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ZOPA and Win-Win Negotiation

Rummage around in the acronym bran-tub of negotiation theory and you might well pull out ZOPA: the Zone of Possible Agreement. See a visualisation of that idea here. The idea of ZOPA is simple. Alex wants to buy a car. Blex has one to sell: Alex is ready to pay […]

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Interviews: Start Strong – or Die

A while back I took part in a panel testing senior people preparing for interviews for top EU diplomatic jobs. What was striking if not astonishing was that it was obvious within a few seconds whether the person was going to be a strong candidate or not. There was something about […]

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GE2017: Message and Tone

Well. What a surprise. Remember my analysis of the Brexit referendum campaign? Thus: As loyal readers here know, it’s not what you say – it’s what they hear. The Remain campaign have aimed (with broad success) to corner the market in common sense steady-as-she-goes decency. Yet they somehow also exude […]

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Negotiating Brexit: May v Corbyn

Responding to my post on Craig Murray’s footling criticism of Theresa May’s negotiating capabilities, reader Benjamin writes: You note the importance of a clear plan in long-term negotiations. Is anybody aware what May’s plan is, or whether she even has one? You mention that different cultures call for different negotiating […]

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