Monday, August 27, 2007

North Korean negotiating tactics

A long time ago, Charlie the KimcheeGI lent me a book of his titled Negotiating with North Korea, by Dr. Richard Saccone. Much to my shame, I have yet to give it back. One amusing chapter of NWNK is devoted entirely to NK negotiating tactics, which Saccone divides into eight categories and multiple subcategories:

A. Coercing Tactics
Creation of Crises
Maximizing Uncertainty

B. Offending Tactics
Redirect Focus
Insist on Answer
Assign Responsibility

C. Manipulating Tactics
Loaded Question
Lesson of History
Exaggeration of Public Support
Using the Opponent's Press

D. Asserting Tactics
Controlling the Agenda
Requesting Compensation
Forced Decision
Position Bargaining
Attacking the Opponent's Position

E. Confounding Tactics
Reinterpreting the Agreement
Good Guy/Bad Guy
Red Herring

F. Obstructing Tactics
Higher Authority

G. Persuading Tactics
Acknowledge Interests
Build Trust
Offer Solutions
Seek Common Ground

H. Cooperating Tactics
Appeal to Fairness
Make Concessions
Request Working Meetings

Pretty interesting material. Just thought I'd share. The chapter where this appears takes up the bulk of the book and is loaded with specific examples of each tactic. Amusingly, the book also provides suggested counter-tactics.

But I say, screw negotiations. I think the US needs to stop pussyfooting and just barge into the conference room from a position of power, acting arrogant and confirming every stereotype the world has of our government. I don't recommend such behavior with our allies, who in my opinion deserve our respect and humility. But since when has negotiating with NK been about rationality? We're entering what I hope will be a new age of cooperation with our Western European partners (Merkel and Sarkozy, at least, seem quite willing to work with the US, at least when compared to their predecessors), and I'm pretty sure the next US president (as I continue to predict, this will probably be a Democrat) will be keen to foster the spirit of cooperation. These folks are all rational. Is Kim Jong Il? Perhaps he is, but US-NK negotiations have always carried a whiff of craziness about them.

Dynastic Kimism is all about preserving a very specific power structure and little else. I see no utility in continuing to treat US-NK negotiations as somehow similar to other negotiations. What significant, material concessions has NK made? It's better just to ignore them and let SK deal with them. If we are obliged to meet NK delegations face to face, then our tactic should be simple: each time we meet, present the NK side with impossible demands (e.g., "We'll let you have what you want if we can film Kim Jong Il fucking a sheep."), then shrug and walk out with a "See you in six months" when the NK delegation goes batshit. This would save money and time, and would reduce the negotiations to what they actually are, namely exercises in uselessness. Time is on our side. Let the NK government keep on eating itself, and let SK shoulder the full burden of caring for its "little brother."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"We'll let you have what you want if we can film Kim Jong Il fucking a sheep."

Um, how do you know that would be an impossible demand? I'm just saying.