Opinion / Negotiation Technique

South Africa v Zimbabwe: Grace Mugabe

Mrs Mugabe has got involved in another scandal, this time the alleged beating of a model in a Johannesburg hotel. Should she be given diplomatic immunity to help her return home without prosecution? Yes! Thus: The government source accepted the view widely held by legal experts that Grace Mugabe was not […]

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Building Peace in Bosnia

Right. Here is a major contribution by me to the oral history of the modern Balkans, in the form of a discussion with Susan Coleman of The Peace Building Podcast. Susan and I met when we did some training workshops for senior Afghan women in Tajikistan last year. Susan is […]

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Diplomacy, Stupidity, Accuracy

Here I am at Majalla magazine, interviewed by top Arabic journalist Nadia Turki. Thus: What skills do diplomats need to be effective and avoid making embarrassing mistakes? A subtle question. Diplomacy hates taking risks! The ideas of ‘stability’ and ‘predictability’ are right at the heart of the way countries deal with […]

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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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