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Negotiation and Global Security: New Approaches to Contemporary Issues
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
1995 (English)Collection (editor) (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

In this special edition of American Behavioral Scientist, scholars and practitioners reassess the role of negotiation and conflict resolution in the post-Cold War era. The collection brings together seven original essays which are based on the l994 Global Security Public Lecture Series, "Negotiation in Face of the Future: Emerging Issues and Potentials" held under the auspices of the Global Security Programme of the University of Cambridge. Those invited to participate in the lecture series were asked to take stock of, and offer insights into the development of, the theory and practice of negotiation in the post-Cold War context of new or newly observed threats to global security. The revised lectures printed here represent a major re-examination of the key issues which must be addressed and the new approaches which must be developed if negotiation is to contribute effectively to a more stable and just world order. While offering different individual (and disciplinary) perspectives on these central issues, the articles collectively also point the way forward to a new research agenda. This agenda focusses both on the contribution which the study of negotiation can make to the investigation of global security as a concept, and on the practical contributions which it can make to the resolution of the problems confronting us in the post-Cold War world.

In the introductory article Gwyn Prins, Director of the Global Security Programme at the University of Cambridge, delineates the field of global security. Conventional analytic responses to the end of the Cold War have sought to identify new trends and types of threats to security. By contrast Prins presents a framework within which the common characteristics underlying global security problems may be considered. The instruments of power which dominated the era from the French Revolution of l789 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in l989 have been seriously weakened. As a result, Prins argues, negotiation will necessarily have to play a key role in attempts to achieve global security in the next millennium. At the same time, however, the special characteristics delineated by Prins give rise to a range of new and intractable problems for existing theory and practice of negotiation. This article thus provides the context for the detailed explorations that follow of the new priority issues with which analysts and negotiators must grapple in the post-Cold War era.

Winfried Lang, Ambassador of Austria to the United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva, analyses important recent developments in global security negotiations and the role of domestic law and international law in such negotiations. Once concerned chiefly with the affairs of the state and governments, negotiation now covers virtually all sectors of society and the economy. The subject of culture and negotiation is much debated in the recent literature. Lang argues that the impact of national cultures is being increasingly reduced in favor of transnational "professional cultures" (for example, of lawyers, economists, and engineers) which facilitate the negotiation of cooperative solutions. He delineates developments which point to the likely emergence of a global negotiating culture based on professional cultures, problem-solving, and common values which bridge national cultures.

Tom Farer, Professor and Director of the Joint Degree Program in Law and International Relations at the American University, examines one of the most striking structural changes which has occurred in global decision-making processes: the participation by new non-state actors. The traditional view, the product of a conventional security agenda, has been that only representatives of sovereign states have standing to be seated around the international negotiating table. Since the end of the Second World War, however, the normative basis of standing has been expanded to permit the inclusion of, among others, representatives of international and regional organizations, and non-governmental organizations in the areas of development, the environment, and human rights. Farer investigates how factors such as considerations of utility and perceptions of justice account for this growth of standing to participate in global security negotiations. He concludes that while pressures to include an ever-increasing number of new actors are likely to increase, the outcome will ultimately be determined by the linkage of standing to power (broadly defined). A continuous expansion of standing will certainly overwhelm the process of negotiation at some point and impede the formulation of effective solutions to global problems.

James Crawford, Whewell Professor of International Law at the University of Cambridge, discusses a closely related issue, namely the question of sovereignty and changing patterns in the negotiation and implementation of agreements between states. He stresses the importance of distinguishing between the state as a vehicle expressing the identity of a territorial community over time, and its government as a temporary agent in this process. While traditionally concerned with transmitting the will of governments over time, international law is now seeking ways to restrict their power and standing in the interest of the community of the state. Further exercise of "transnational" powers is likely to be intolerable without the institutionalization of some of the values associated with the rule of law. At the same time Crawford emphasizes that the state will remain the primary actor in global security negotiations for a foreseeable future. The growing presence of non-governmental organizations and the development of human rights standards, for example, have not led to the creation of alternative forms of official representation in negotiations.

I. William Zartman, Jacob Blaustein Professor of Conflict Resolution and International Organization at the Johns Hopkins University, argues that justice plays an essential role in global security negotiations. No consensus exists on a single external criterion for judging the justice of negotiated outcomes. Zartman thus concludes that parties themselves determine the substance of a just agreement in the process of negotiating. They must first reach a common notion of justice before their discussions over the details of the conflict can succeed in producing a settlement. Numerous empirical case studies suggest that the standards by which parties decide what each "deserves" are based on the principles of equality, inequality (e.g., equity or proportionality, compensation), and priority. An enhanced understanding of the factors influencing the selection of the relevant principle(s) in the negotiation process, and other issues of justice, is a key to improving negotiations concerned with global security.

H. Peyton Young, Professor of Economics at the Johns Hopkins University, explores the particular dilemmas which indivisible resources pose for negotiations, including in international and global affairs. The key to reaching just and fair agreements over indivisibles is to divide them notionally rather than physically, by creating property rights to their use. Young identifies numerous methods of division for defining ex ante property rights. He then discusses three major distributive principles (parity, proportionality, and priority) according to which such rights may be divided and normative criteria used to implement the relevant principle(s). The choice of method, principle, and criterion will depend on the particular context, notably the type of good to be allocated and the nature of the claims of the parties. Unlike Zartman, Young argues that agreements are just not only by virtue of having been negotiated but by being based on certain well-established distributive principles. His conclusion suggests that basing agreements on such principles, particularly in the case of indivisibles, is paramount to global security: Just agreements have proved to be durable and self-policing.

The concluding article assesses the mismatch between conventional notions of negotiation and the types of approaches likely to help reduce global security threats. A serious way in which global security problems challenge traditional negotiation analysis concerns questions of justice and fairness, which underlie the major issues discussed in other contributions to this volume. Confronting these questions is imperative for both practical and ethical reasons. I argue that analyses of justice and fairness in terms of outcomes only are flawed both intellectually and practically. This is especially the case of global security problems which involve heterogeneous and asymmetrical parties, unpredictability, and a long time frame. The future research agenda must begin by examining the structure of negotiations, including the identity and representation of parties. The structure has hitherto been taken to be an objective reference on basis of which the nature of just and fair procedures, concessions, and solutions can be judged. The l992 Rio Summit and the UNCED process are among many cases which highlight the particular importance of developing external criteria to determine the standing of non-state actors and to guide reforms in existing negotiation forums and practices. This would be a significant way forward to enhance the effectiveness, justice, and perceived legitimacy of global security negotiations.

The present collection, addressed to academics and practitioners alike, exemplifies the approach adopted by the Global Security Programme of the University of Cambridge. The Programme was established in l989 as a result of dissatisfaction with traditional approaches to international security issues. It serves as a center for interdisciplinary, future-oriented research, teaching, training, and policy development on a wide range of security issues including ecological and environmental security, the political philosophy and ethics of global security, population and migration issues, ethnic and sectarian conflict, and international institutions. This volume cuts across and integrates issues in all these areas. It thus aims to advance our understanding of a subject matter which many now believe will provide a key to future progress: the role of negotiation in achieving global security.


Deputy Director

Global Security Programme

University of Cambridge

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, London and Thousand Oaks, California , 1995.
, Special issue of Americal Behavioral Scientist (international peer reviewed journal), ISSN 0002-7642 ; Vol. 38, No. 6
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-68523OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-68523DiVA: diva2:96434
Available from: 2007-01-30 Created: 2007-01-30

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