Forbes Top 10 Negotiations 2023

The For­bes Top 10 World-Chan­ging Nego­tia­ti­ons in 2023

The late Roger Fisher, foun­der of the Har­vard Pro­ject on Nego­tia­ti­on and one of the world’s fore­most nego­tia­ti­on scho­lars, had a man­tra: You must always try to nego­tia­te. Cate­go­ri­cal­ly. With war raging on Europe’s eas­tern bor­ders, one might think that the art of nego­tia­ti­on would be front and cen­ter the­se days, with poli­ti­ci­ans and jour­na­lists pas­sio­na­te­ly dis­cus­sing diplo­ma­tic solu­ti­ons. But diplo­ma­tic dis­pu­te reso­lu­ti­on, an art refi­ned after the hor­rors of World War II and lea­ding to the most peaceful years in histo­ry, has been repla­ced by war­mon­ge­ring rhe­to­ric from the dark old days. Tho­se cal­ling for nego­tia­ti­ons have litt­le influence on the ongo­ing deba­te and are labe­led as weaklings and cowards, inclu­ding the pre­si­dents of the United Sta­tes and France.

This deve­lo­p­ment is a dan­ge­rous misun­derstan­ding of what nego­tia­ti­on is. Nego­tia­ting does not mean making gene­rous con­ces­si­ons or aban­do­ning your basic prin­ci­ples (unless the prin­ci­ple is not to nego­tia­te with some), it does not even mean making a deal. It just means that if you don’t explo­re the pos­si­bi­li­ties tho­rough­ly, you’­re giving away your chan­ces.

It’s not easy to sit down with someone you fun­da­men­tal­ly dis­agree with. You have to be able to enga­ge in thoughts that you find sil­ly, irra­tio­nal, and even hor­ri­ble. Can you hand­le such thoughts wit­hout being offen­ded and resis­ting the urge to lea­ve the table? A cul­tu­re of offen­se is anti­the­ti­cal to a cul­tu­re of nego­tia­ti­on. Howe­ver, a wise nego­tia­tor is not only open to other points of view, but actively explo­res them. “What if…” was Roger Fisher’s favo­ri­te intro­duc­tion to a ques­ti­on, fol­lo­wed by an unin­hi­bi­ted brain­stor­ming of all con­ceiva­ble opti­ons, inclu­ding tho­se that see­med outra­ge­ous.

We can rare­ly choo­se our nego­tia­ting part­ner. But we can choo­se to fol­low Roger Fisher’s cate­go­ri­cal impe­ra­ti­ve to always nego­tia­te with an open mind. Despi­te the dif­fi­cul­ties, it’s worth it: pro­spe­ri­ty and peace. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top 10 nego­tia­ti­ons for 2023 and how they will shape our world.

10 Hope endu­res: The Colom­bia-ELN Nego­tia­ti­ons

“La Vio­len­cia,” the armed con­flict in Colom­bia bet­ween the govern­ment and para­mi­li­ta­ry groups and cri­mi­nal syn­di­ca­tes, has made Colom­bia one of the most dan­ge­rous count­ries in the world. Sin­ce 1958, near­ly 200,000 civi­li­ans have lost their lives and over 5 mil­li­on have been dis­pla­ced from their homes. Espe­ci­al­ly after the 2016 peace agree­ment with the Revo­lu­tio­na­ry Armed Forces of Colom­bia (FARC), the con­flict, and with it the vio­lence, decreased and tou­rism in the coun­try expe­ri­en­ced an ups­wing.

Nego­tia­ti­ons are now under­way bet­ween the Colom­bi­an govern­ment and ano­ther key para­mi­li­ta­ry orga­niza­ti­on, the Natio­nal Libe­ra­ti­on Army (ELN). Tho­se talks had stal­led in Janu­ary 2019 fol­lo­wing an ELN car bomb attack at Colombia’s Natio­nal Poli­ce Aca­de­my that kil­led 23 peo­p­le.

The talks are in line with pro­mi­ses of “total peace” by new­ly elec­ted Colom­bi­an Pre­si­dent Gustavo Petro, a for­mer M‑19 mem­ber. The for­mer guer­ril­la orga­niza­ti­on M‑19 has dis­ban­ded to focus on poli­ti­cal chan­ge. Petro says he sees the talks as a means to nego­tia­te with the rebels, revi­ve dor­mant peace accords and unite the coun­try.

Dele­ga­tes to the first round met in Cara­cas, Vene­zue­la, in late 2022. The­se explo­ra­to­ry talks pro­du­ced encou­ra­ging results: Peo­p­le dis­pla­ced by con­flict will be able to return to their homes and living con­di­ti­ons for pri­soners will impro­ve. The Vene­zue­lan president’s web­site descri­bes the effort as a “bea­con of hope in a world mark­ed by war situa­tions and des­truc­ti­ve ten­si­ons.”

Alt­hough the pro­cess has just begun, hope is inde­ed jus­ti­fied — as with any well-orga­ni­zed nego­tia­ti­on. The par­ties will meet in Mexi­co for the next round of talks.

9. Micro­soft vs. the USA: Will the Bliz­zard deal hold?

The games indus­try is big­ger than Hol­ly­wood and the music indus­try com­bi­ned. Glo­bal sales have risen from 8 bil­li­on in 2006 to near­ly 200 bil­li­on in 2022, with the Call of Duty game fran­chise alo­ne taking in a stag­ge­ring 31 bil­li­on in total.

So it’s no sur­pri­se that Micro­soft has nego­tia­ted a deal to buy Bliz­zard, the world’s lar­gest game maker, for $95 per share in cash. The $68.7 bil­li­on deal gives Micro­soft owner­ship of some of the world’s most popu­lar games, inclu­ding Call of Duty, Can­dy Crush and War­craft. It could be that the company’s stra­tegy is to offer Blizzard’s lin­e­up on Game Pass, Microsoft’s online gam­ing plat­form.

Howe­ver, that path is not yet cer­tain. The Fede­ral Trade Com­mis­si­on wants to block the acqui­si­ti­on becau­se it belie­ves the move would enable Micro­soft to stif­le com­pe­ti­tors to its Xbox con­so­les and its fast-gro­wing sub­scrip­ti­on con­tent and cloud gam­ing busi­ness. If neither side chan­ges its stra­tegy, this dis­pu­te will go to fede­ral court.

Micro­soft has alre­a­dy announ­ced that it is wil­ling to give com­pe­ti­tors like Sony and Nin­ten­do access to Bliz­zard games, so it does­n’t seem like the two sides are too far apart. It could be that the Biden admi­nis­tra­ti­on is taking advan­ta­ge of the situa­ti­on to show others that it is serious about enfor­cing anti­trust regu­la­ti­ons.

8 The End of a War: Ethio­pia and the Rebels of the Tigray Regi­on

Nego­tia­ti­ons bet­ween Ethio­pia and the Tigray regi­on suc­cessful­ly ended a two-year con­flict that repor­ted­ly kil­led thou­sands of non-com­ba­tants. The agree­ment allows for the deli­very of goods to the Tigray regi­on, whe­re doc­tors say even the most basic medi­cal sup­pli­es are near­ly deple­ted. Huma­ni­ta­ri­an efforts are under­way to res­to­re dis­rupt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons and sup­p­ly lines.

South Afri­ca hos­ted the talks, while the United Sta­tes cal­led on the par­ties to imme­dia­te­ly cea­se hosti­li­ties and ensu­re the pro­tec­tion of civi­li­ans. Pri­or to the nego­tia­ti­ons, Ethio­pian tro­ops had won signi­fi­cant vic­to­ries, which may have encou­ra­ged rebel nego­tia­tors to end the fight­ing. Howe­ver, both sides have “made major con­ces­si­ons.” The cea­se-fire may be dif­fi­cult to main­tain given the poli­ti­cal and ter­ri­to­ri­al dis­pu­tes bet­ween the par­ties. For now, howe­ver, peace pre­vails.

7 Nego­tia­ti­ons with the Tali­ban: Missed Oppor­tu­ni­ties

Nego­tia­ti­ons with the Tali­ban were alre­a­dy on the list last year and the year befo­re. Why have peace nego­tia­ti­ons fai­led in the 20 years that NATO tro­ops have been in Afgha­ni­stan? Becau­se vir­tual­ly every con­ceiva­ble nego­tia­ting mista­ke was made. A reve­al­ing report by the United Sta­tes Insti­tu­te of Peace says the­re was no shorta­ge of oppor­tu­ni­ties to end vio­lence through nego­tia­ti­on — but they were “missed, unre­co­gni­zed, or deli­bera­te­ly spur­ned” by all par­ties: the United Sta­tes of Ame­ri­ca, the govern­ment of the Isla­mic Repu­blic of Afgha­ni­stan, and the Tali­ban.

Missed oppor­tu­ni­ties occur­red in 2010, when a sur­ge in mili­ta­ry acti­vi­ty crea­ted an open door for nego­tia­ti­ons that was sor­ely missed by allies around the United Sta­tes. The foo­lish decis­i­on not to invi­te then Afghan Pre­si­dent Gha­ni to the nego­tia­ting table wea­k­en­ed the govern­ment of the day and dele­gi­ti­mi­zed any nego­tia­ting efforts.

U.S. Pre­si­dent Biden’s announce­ment of with­dra­wal in 2021 left no levera­ge for nego­tia­ti­ons and empowered the Tali­ban to take con­trol of the coun­try over­night. The United Sta­tes then embezz­led vir­tual­ly half of the assets of the world’s poo­rest coun­try when it sei­zed $7 bil­li­on that the Afghan cen­tral bank had depo­si­ted in the New York Fede­ral Reser­ve branch in Febru­ary 2022.

While Afgha­ni­stan is trea­ted like an out­si­der on the world stage, the most radi­cal branch of the Tali­ban, the Haq­qa­ni net­work, is gai­ning influence: women have been ban­ned from uni­ver­si­ties, exe­cu­ti­ons and ampu­ta­ti­ons are to be rein­tro­du­ced. In 2001, then-Pre­si­dent Bush refu­sed to nego­tia­te with the Tali­ban. This ill-advi­sed decis­i­on resul­ted in some 250,000 peo­p­le losing their lives in vain (of which 171,500 were Afghans). Oh, and Afgha­ni­stan was again home to the lea­der of Al Qaeda. And we are back to squa­re one, which makes this sto­ry an excel­lent exam­p­le of how actu­al nego­tia­ting skills are essen­ti­al to achie­ving a good out­co­me.

6. cli­ma­te acti­vists to the table

Aus­tri­an cli­ma­te chan­ge acti­vists sme­ared a Gus­tav Klimt pain­ting in Vien­na with black “oil,” Bri­tish acti­vists taped them­sel­ves to roads, and Ger­man pro­tes­ters even took to the tar­mac at Ber­lin Air­port. The des­truc­tion of pri­ce­l­ess works of art and even the forced shut­down of infra­struc­tu­re were dis­missed as acts of zea­lous acti­vists who went a litt­le over­board, with some poli­ti­ci­ans even sup­port­ing them.

Not­hing could be fur­ther from the truth. The Eco­no­mist right­ly warns of the deve­lo­p­ment of vio­lent cli­ma­te ter­ro­rism. Cli­ma­te acti­vism has beco­me a move­ment that lea­ves no room for deba­te or even nuan­ce. One Ger­man group calls its­elf “Last Gene­ra­ti­on,” which makes one think of a qua­si-reli­gious move­ment. In fact, unbe­lie­vers are cal­led here­tics (“deni­ers”), and the only way to avo­id Arma­ged­don is to fol­low their path to sal­va­ti­on.

The pro­tes­ters did suc­ceed in attrac­ting atten­ti­on (they even made it onto this For­bes list), but it was a Pyrrhic vic­to­ry. Such actions trig­ger applau­se among sup­port­ers, but lead to sheer hat­red among the oppo­si­ti­on — even among the pre­vious­ly unde­ci­ded. This will then lead to the extre­mist bubble clo­sing and actu­al ter­ro­rism deve­lo­ping, as The Eco­no­mist descri­bes.

Now is the time to nego­tia­te with cli­ma­te acti­vists to sim­ply stop them from beco­ming vio­lent. It’s not too late — not yet. Sie­mens made a good start by offe­ring a 23-year-old Ger­man acti­vist a seat on the board of Sie­mens Ener­gy Board, a spin­off of the Ger­man tech giant that focu­ses on ener­gy-effi­ci­ent tech­no­lo­gy. She tur­ned it down. Nego­tia­ting with dog­ma­tic adver­s­a­ries is very tiring, and the urge to stop nego­tia­ting with them is under­stan­da­ble. But we should­n’t. It could get ugly.

5. Iran: Levers for Chan­ge at Home

Pro­tests in Iran began when Mah­sa Ami­ni, a 22-year-old woman, died in poli­ce cus­t­ody. She was arres­ted Sept. 13 by Tehran’s mora­li­ty poli­ce for fai­ling to cover her hair “appro­pria­te­ly.” Poli­ce cla­im that Ami­ni, who was not dia­gno­sed with a heart con­di­ti­on, died of a sud­den heart attack.

The pro­tests began with women in Amini’s home­town of Saq­qez remo­ving their hijabs at her fun­e­ral. This spark­ed pro­tests across the coun­try chan­ting “Death to the dic­ta­tor,” refer­ring to the Supre­me Lea­der, Aya­tol­lah Ali Kha­men­ei.

Amini’s death stir­red seve­ral pots, all repre­sen­ted by her: The anger of oppres­sed women, the Kur­dish mino­ri­ty, and tho­se from poor, mar­gi­na­li­zed fami­lies. Men, most­ly young adults, joi­n­ed the move­ment, which beca­me the lar­gest pro­tests ever faced by the revo­lu­tio­na­ry govern­ment. A revo­lu­ti­on brought the mul­lahs to power in 1979, when the Ira­ni­an shah was over­thrown by pro­tes­ters chan­ting “Death to the Shah” and Kho­mei­ni was named Supre­me Lea­der. And a revo­lu­ti­on could topp­le them today as well. The govern­ment is well awa­re of this and is respon­ding with force.

The inter­na­tio­nal com­mu­ni­ty can use its influence as levera­ge by lin­king human rights issues to talks on the nuclear agree­ment. But here, too, real poli­tics does not fol­low the laws of mora­li­ty (even if it often claims to do so). Howe­ver, if the world has lear­ned one thing from deal­ing with the dic­ta­tors of the Midd­le East, it is that desta­bi­li­zing count­ries by crea­ting a power vacu­um or instal­ling pup­pet govern­ments does not work.

4 Indo­ne­si­an Law and the Demands of the Zea­lots

Indo­ne­sia is the fourth most popu­lous coun­try in the world and the tenth lar­gest eco­no­my. With its appro­xi­m­ate­ly 231,000 mil­li­on inha­bi­tants, 87 % of whom are Mus­lim, the coun­try has the lar­gest Mus­lim popu­la­ti­on in the world. As Indo­ne­sia has redu­ced its pover­ty rate by over 50 % in the last 20 years, a modern midd­le class is thri­ving, espe­ci­al­ly in the cities. Reli­gious con­ser­va­ti­ves and mode­ra­tes regu­lar­ly clash and try to find com­mon ground.

Indonesia’s new penal code is not yet a bea­con of free­dom, but the nego­tia­ti­ons resul­ted in less strin­gent laws than ori­gi­nal­ly cal­led for. Same-sex mar­ria­ges are, unsur­pri­sin­gly, still pro­hi­bi­ted. Sexu­al rela­ti­ons bet­ween two unmar­ried peo­p­le now car­ry a maxi­mum penal­ty of one year in pri­son. Other ille­gal acti­vi­ties include coha­bi­ta­ti­on by unmar­ried cou­ples, abor­ti­ons not per­for­med as a result of rape or in medi­cal emer­gen­ci­es, and adver­ti­sing con­tracep­ti­ves to minors.

Other offen­ses under Indo­ne­si­an law include insul­ting the digni­ty of the pre­si­dent and spre­a­ding values that are not in line with the ideo­lo­gy of the sta­te. To miti­ga­te the effects and pre­vent “bla­me,” only the pre­si­dent can report an insult to his digni­ty, and “public con­sul­ta­ti­on” can be a way to dis­agree with the sta­te. Coha­bi­ta­ti­on can only be repor­ted by the spou­se, a parent, or a child of eit­her par­ty.

A spo­kesper­son for Human Rights Watch sta­ted, “The pas­sa­ge of this penal code is the begin­ning of an abso­lu­te dis­as­ter for human rights in Indo­ne­sia.” The rewri­ting of Indonesia’s penal code has taken deca­des. An ear­lier draft led to street pro­tests that prompt­ed law­ma­kers to include the public in the pro­cee­dings.

Will the resis­tance lead to fur­ther nego­tia­ti­ons and the resul­ting chan­ges in Indo­ne­si­an law? We will have to wait and see. For now, howe­ver, human rights in the coun­try have at least made some pro­gress.

3. in search of a media­tor: the con­flict bet­ween Arme­nia and Azer­bai­jan

War over Nagor­no-Kara­bakh? Over a cor­ri­dor to Nak­hi­che­van? The fight­ing bet­ween Arme­nia and Azer­bai­jan is hard­ly news­wor­t­hy in the West. Why should anyo­ne care about two for­mer Soviet repu­blics fight­ing over encla­ves and excla­ves that hard­ly anyo­ne has heard of? As is so often the case, a clo­ser look reve­als that this is a con­flict of glo­bal signi­fi­can­ce and a prime exam­p­le of the need for nego­tia­ti­on and media­ti­on skills.

Sin­ce the col­lap­se of the Soviet Uni­on, the Nagor­no-Kara­bakh regi­on has been a bone of con­ten­ti­on bet­ween Arme­nia and Azer­bai­jan. In 2020, Azer­bai­jan won the second Kara­bakh war, and it was Rus­sia that bro­ke­red the peace and pro­vi­ded secu­ri­ty with a peace­kee­ping mis­si­on.

In March, Azer­bai­jan took advan­ta­ge of Russia’s weak­ne­ss and inva­ded Arme­nia. The war was an aggres­si­on into pre­vious­ly dis­pu­ted regi­ons, but deep in Arme­ni­an heart­land. Arme­ni­ans fear eth­nic cle­an­sing, and the­re is evi­dence of war cri­mes by Aze­ris and even tor­tu­re and muti­la­ti­on.

Azer­bai­jan seems to be sei­zing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to gain as much ter­ri­to­ry as pos­si­ble. The bor­ders bet­ween Rus­sia and Euro­pe are vir­tual­ly clo­sed, which has increased the importance of the South Cau­ca­sus rou­te from Arme­nia to Tur­key and Iran. In the 2020 peace trea­ty, Arme­nia expli­cit­ly gua­ran­tees “the secu­ri­ty of trans­port links” bet­ween Azer­bai­jan and Nak­hi­che­van, an inland excla­ve inha­bi­ted by Azer­bai­ja­nis. Azer­bai­jan argues that this means that the cor­ri­dor is not part of Arme­nia (nor Azer­bai­jan), but is extra­ter­ri­to­ri­al and con­trol­led by neu­tral forces, such as the Rus­si­an Bor­der Guard. Arme­nia argues that this was never agreed upon and would jeo­par­di­ze the country’s sove­reig­n­ty.

Rus­sia is favorable to Azerbaijan’s request, as this would estab­lish a direct link bet­ween Rus­sia and Tur­key (via Arme­nia and Azer­bai­jan) ins­tead of pas­sing through pro-Wes­tern Geor­gia. When Arme­nia asked Rus­sia for help, it more or less repea­ted Azerbaijan’s argu­ments and pro­mi­sed to send only obser­vers, which is not sur­pri­sing. Rus­sia is losing sup­port among Arme­ni­ans and ali­en­ating a for­mer clo­se ally. Azerbaijan’s clo­sest ally, Tur­key, has a good rela­ti­onship with Rus­sia, rejec­ting Wes­tern sanc­tions and even offe­ring to bro­ker a deal bet­ween Rus­sia and the West.

The West, on the other hand, does not want Rus­sia to gain con­trol of any­thing and is the­r­e­fo­re inte­res­ted in the issue. Nan­cy Pelo­si, for­mer Spea­k­er of the U.S. House of Repre­sen­ta­ti­ves, visi­ted Arme­nia in Sep­tem­ber. Unli­ke the aggres­si­on bet­ween Rus­sia and Ukrai­ne, the Euro­pean Uni­on is taking a deci­dedly neu­tral stance here, which may have some­thing to do with the fact that it just rea­ched an agree­ment with Azer­bai­jan to dou­ble its gas exports by 2027 (the­re are no sanc­tions here). The EU invi­ted both lea­ders to Pra­gue for peace talks in Octo­ber and bro­ke­red an initi­al agree­ment. Rus­sia sees EU inter­fe­rence as a thre­at to the peace pro­cess. Putin then invi­ted the par­ties to Sochi. A week later, the United Sta­tes step­ped in and invi­ted both par­ties to Washing­ton, D.C., in Novem­ber.

While no final agree­ment was rea­ched, Arme­ni­an Prime Minis­ter Nikol Pas­hi­n­yan and Azer­bai­ja­ni Pre­si­dent Ilham Ali­yev “agreed not to use force.”

Cer­tain­ly, diplo­ma­tic help is nee­ded, becau­se mili­ta­ry solu­ti­ons have not ended the con­flict, but only led to an unsta­ble peace. For­t­u­na­te­ly, both the West and Rus­sia are inte­res­ted in avo­i­ding escala­ti­on — they should work tog­e­ther to reach a las­ting agree­ment.

2. Chi­na and Tai­wan: Will the United Sta­tes inter­fe­re?

What are the chan­ces of Tai­wan recei­ving armed sup­port if Chi­na inva­des, given the cur­rent situa­ti­on whe­re Rus­si­an forces face only Ukrai­ni­an forces?

Some point to the Tai­wan Rela­ti­ons Act of 1979, which sta­tes that “any attempt to deter­mi­ne the future of Tai­wan by other than peaceful means” is an “area of gre­at con­cern” to the United Sta­tes. The docu­ment also calls on the United Sta­tes to “pro­vi­de Tai­wan with arms of a defen­si­ve cha­rac­ter” and to “oppo­se any use of force or other forms of coer­ci­on.”

For many obser­vers, this rai­ses two ques­ti­ons: would the United Sta­tes defend Tai­wan, and does the United Sta­tes have the capa­ci­ty to do so? The pre­si­dents’ state­ments ran­ge from Pre­si­dent Clinton’s respon­se, “It would depend on the cir­cum­s­tances,” to Pre­si­dent Trump’s ada­mant-but still vague-state­ment that “Chi­na knows what I will do.” Cur­rent U.S. Pre­si­dent Biden made it unequi­vo­cal­ly clear that his coun­try would defi­ni­te­ly send forces to sup­port Tai­wan in the event of a Chi­ne­se attack. Com­pli­ca­ting mat­ters is the One Chi­na poli­cy, and the U.S. expli­cit­ly reco­gni­zes that Tai­wan is part of Chi­na.

A face-to-face mee­ting bet­ween U.S. Pre­si­dent Biden and China’s Xi Jin­ping last took place in Novem­ber 2022. Fol­lo­wing that con­ver­sa­ti­on, the United Sta­tes announ­ced that the one-Chi­na poli­cy has not chan­ged and that it oppo­ses uni­la­te­ral chan­ges to the sta­tus quo by eit­her side. U.S. Secre­ta­ry of Sta­te Ant­o­ny Blin­ken is sche­du­led to visit Chi­na in ear­ly 2023. If the­se talks fail, the world could be on the ver­ge of a war of gigan­tic pro­por­ti­ons.

1. Ukrai­ne and Rus­sia: Timing is the Key to Suc­cess

Ukrai­ni­an Pre­si­dent Volo­dym­yr Zel­en­sky told CNN in March that “we can­not end this war wit­hout nego­tia­ti­ons,” adding, “If the­re is only a one per­cent chan­ce to end this war, I think we must sei­ze that chan­ce.” Sur­pri­sin­gly, many in the West have taken a nega­ti­ve stance toward nego­tia­ti­ons. Howe­ver, the rejec­tion of nego­tia­ti­ons could mean the end of the world as we know it. We are at a his­to­ric tur­ning point, and nego­tia­ting skills can save us.

The con­di­ti­ons for an agree­ment were quite clear at the begin­ning of the con­flict: Ukrai­ne will not join NATO, and the eas­tern Ukrai­ni­an regi­ons will hold a refe­ren­dum. Such an agree­ment was pos­si­ble at the begin­ning. But on Sep­tem­ber 30, Rus­sia anne­xed Donetsk, Luhansk, Kher­son, and Zapo­rizhz­hya, making an agree­ment extre­me­ly dif­fi­cult becau­se Ukrai­ne can­not live with Rus­sia annex­ing its ter­ri­to­ry, and Rus­sia would lose face if it retur­ned that ter­ri­to­ry. This issue will be at the core of any pos­si­ble agree­ment.

Tho­se who say that Ukrai­ne must win on the batt­le­field over­look the fact that Rus­sia has fal­len far short of its full mili­ta­ry poten­ti­al and has gone on the offen­si­ve with only 150,000 tro­ops. This war could drag on for years and invol­ve the enti­re world in the con­flict. The more the par­ties invest, the har­der it will be to end it, becau­se the par­ties are reluc­tant to give up pre­vious invest­ments. This is not like defea­ting Hitler’s Ger­ma­ny in World War II, whe­re com­ple­te vic­to­ry was a desi­ra­ble goal. Rus­sia has the lar­gest nuclear arse­nal in the world. In the event of a total loss, sur­ren­der and humi­lia­ti­on, why not take the who­le world with it?

With Ukraine’s strength on the batt­le­field, Zelensky’s wil­ling­ness to nego­tia­te decreased. Putin, on the other hand, cal­led for nego­tia­ti­ons. The favorable moment should be sei­zed: Ukrai­ne is in a good posi­ti­on and should start nego­tia­ti­ons as soon as pos­si­ble. Sit­ting down and try­ing to reach an agree­ment is bet­ter than not try­ing. Quite cate­go­ri­cal­ly. Remem­ber the man­tra of Roger Fisher.


Ori­gi­nal publi­ca­ti­on “Top 10 World Chan­ging Nego­tia­ti­ons For 2023” on FOR­BES.

Live semi­nars in 2023 — open nego­tia­ti­on trai­nings

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