Top 10 Negotiations of 2018

Every war ends with a negotiation. Why don’t we start with the negotiation? The quote is attributed to India’s former president Jahrwal Nehru. And indeed everyone eventually ends up at the negotiation table. The earlier, the better. The world is far from perfect and yet we live in golden times, with lower violence, lower poverty rates, and more freedom than ever before in known history. Harvard’s Steven Pinker impressively illustrated this trend in his landmark book “The Better Angel’s of Our Nature”. Governments today prefer negotiations. This was clearly illustrated by this year’s list of the top 10 negotiations. Some of the most feared disputes – such as the one between the US and Iran – have not led to armed conflicts and hopefully never will. Certainly, there are still wars, such as the Saudi invasion in Yemen, and they mostly suffer from a lack of negotiations. The list is dominated by political negotiations, as they tend to have a higher impact on the world than corporate deals. Certainly, putting together a list, like choosing a piece of furniture, is mostly about deciding against something. A lamp is not jut a lamp but it is a million “nos” to other lamps. The criteria for the list is a synthesis between the impact and the procedure of the negotiation. The list includes successful negotiations but also bad or failed deals when they are expected to have a major impact on the world. U.S. President Donald Trump questioned the world order as we know it. Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg © 2018 Bloomberg Finance LP YOU MAY ALSO LIKE 10. USA Negotiating With NATO The negotiations started before US and NATO representatives actually sat together in Brussels on July 11. They started with US President Donald Trump’s tweets before the meeting. His message: NATO is taking advantage of the US. Allies, Trump demanded, must spend 4 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense by 2024. After a chaotic start of the summit with an emergency press conference, members did indeed agree to commit an extra $33bn. to their defense budgets. And Trump affirmed the USA’s strong commitment to NATO: “Now we’re very happy and have a very, very powerful, very strong NATO.” So other than increased budgets, nothing happened really, did it? In fact, this “negotiation” did mark a new era. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was established over 70 years ago to align the Western governments against possible Soviet aggressions. The USA was traditionally one of NATO’s strongest proponents. Unlike the UN, NATO can actually enforce decisions militarily. Certainly, withdrawing the USA from NATO wouldn’t be as easy for Trump as withdrawing from the Paris climate deal or the Iran nuclear deal. He would need the approval of Congress and possibly the approval of the supreme court (which is dominated by conservatives). Perhaps it was only a negotiation technique so often used by Trump: claiming that even the unthinkable is possible if he doesn’t get a better deal. However, the […]