Opinion / Negotiation Technique

Article 50 Triggered

Trigger warning! Any second now TEU Article 50 is to be triggered. Brexit! Wait. What’s Article 50? Always a good idea to read the original, so here it is: 1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. 2. A Member […]

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Writing in English

One of the absolutely hardest things to do is write flawlessly and well in another language. It’s one thing to speak a foreign language to an astonishing level of accuracy and accent, to the point that even native speakers might think you’re one of them. It’s quite another to write […]

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Poland Stands Alone

Remember the noises emanating from Brussels and Warsaw last year over concerns that Poland was slumping away from core European democratic rule-of-law principles? Help! The (sic) Polish Threat to Europe! The European Commission threatened to ‘take action’ against Poland because Warsaw under the Law and Justice party was changing the […]

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Balkan Borders (2)

What about the ideas raised by Sir Ivor Roberts for Serbia/Kosovo land-swaps? How to start analysing this? Some considerations as I consider them. First, the ‘international community’ simply does not care where Balkan borders (to be precise here, the borders between former republics and autonomous provinces of the dead Yugoslavia) […]

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Balkan Borders (1)

Here is my former colleague (ex-ambassador to Belgrade, Dublin and Rome) Sir Ivor Roberts opining on Balkan borders: Sir Ivor said that while multi-ethnic states might be the ideal, in practice the exchange of the Presevo Valley in Serbia for land in Kosovo north of the river Ibar might be […]

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More Chess and Diplomacy

A canny reader spots a fine reference to chess in Sir David Omand’s evidence to the Iraq Inquiry (pp 56/57): The second point that strikes me is that greater care is needed in threatening the use of military force to back up diplomatic measures. It is quite an easy thing to […]

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Tottenham – Berahino and Negotiation

Here’s my first piece for Spurs Web on what the Saido Berahino transfer (or not as it turned out) saga tells us about Negotiation Theory: In international negotiating, Time can be unlimited. Issues drag on for decades if not centuries: Cyprus, Korean peninsula, Russia/Ukraine/Poland/Germany. Brexit? For football transfers Time is […]

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Chess and Diplomacy

My latest DIPLOMAT piece looks at the similarities (or not) between chess and diplomacy: One cliché of diplomacy is that it is like chess. It combines patient strategic manoeuvring with sudden flashes of sharp decisive action. In chess, as in diplomacy, there is ‘objective’ strength: political and economic assets and […]

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Negotiating Brexit – Article 50

I’ve been quiet on all the Brexit agendas latterly. Too much going on as I eke (eeeek) out a living. But a reader writes: In my view the UK has walked into a trap by agreeing to exercise article 50 at the start. It is clearly not fit for purpose. […]

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President Trump State Visit

Scarcely has the invitation been issued to President Trump to make a State Visit to the UK than a million Brits have signed a petition opposing it. Phew. First things first. What is a State Visit? Broadly speaking visits by a head of state (HoS) or head of government (HoG) […]

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