The silent language. The subtle ways in which people communicate by means other than words. …
Throughout the Middle East bargaining is an underlying pattern which is significantly different from the activity which goes under that name in our culture. Yet what is perceived on the surface-Arab methods of bargaining- looks kind of familiar and is assumed to be the same. But nothing could be farther from the truth.
The American, by culture and conditioning, asks, ” what percentage of the asking price should I give as my first offer?” What they usually don’t know is that there are several asking prices. Like the Inuit who allegedly has an igloo full of words for snow, the Arab is said to possess many different asking prices, each with a different meaning. The American pattern of bargaining is predicated on the assumption that each party has a high and a low point that is hidden, what they would like to get and what they are prepared to settle for. The functioning of the bargaining then, is to discover, if possible, what the opponents points are without revealing one’s own.
The American in the Middle East , projecting his own unconscious pattern, will ask, “What percentage of the asking price do I give?” That is, “If he’s asking twenty bucks will he settle for ten?” This procedure has proven to be not only wrong, the old half a loaf trick, or seat on the back half of the bus only, but can also end in a lot of trouble. The principle to be remembered is that instead of each party having a high and a low there is really only one principal point, which lies somewhere in the middle. Much like stock market quotations, this point is determined not by the two parties, but by the market or situation.
An important isolate in this pattern is that the price is never determined by the person or his wishes but always by some set of circumstances which are known to both parties. If they are not known it is assumed that they could be. Negotiation, therefore, swings around a central pivot. Ignorance of the position of the pivot opens one up to the worst type of exploitation, as well as loss of face. By extension, it likely doesn’t matter whether its a pomegranate in the market or an agreement on water rights of the Jordan River. The pattern would remain constant. Above and below the central point there is a series of points which indicate what the two parties feel as they enter the field.
Given this, the question ” What percentage of the asking price do I give?” seems meaningless. Which asking price? The lets-do-business one, the lets-not-do-business one, or the lets-fight-asking price? So, there is variations on this pattern, above and below the pivot point, each with its own meaning. It does no seem wise to underestimate the importance of such patterns and the hold they have on people at all levels. This has been the American pattern in the Middle East ever since the Aswan Dam fiasco in Egypt; never giving and watching the other part back out. At Aswan, America didn’t give their two steps and Nasser backed up four, and this has been the pattern pretty well since…
Henry Kissinger:The collapse of the state may turn its territory into a base for terrorism or arms supply against neighbors who, in the absence of any central authority, will have no means to counteract them.
In Syria, calls for humanitarian and strategic intervention merge. At the heart of the Muslim world, Syria has, under Bashar al-Assad, assisted Iran’s strategy in the Levant and Mediterranean. It supported Hamas, which rejects the Israeli state, and Hezbollah, which undermines Lebanon’s cohesion. The United States has strategic as well as humanitarian reasons to favor the fall of Assad and to encourage international diplomacy to that end. On the other hand, not every strategic interest rises to a cause for war; were it otherwise, no room would be left for diplomacy….
…Military intervention, humanitarian or strategic, has two prerequisites: First, a consensus on governance after the overthrow of the status quo is critical. If the objective is confined to deposing a specific ruler, a new civil war could follow in the resulting vacuum, as armed groups contest the succession, and outside countries choose different sides. Second, the political objective must be explicit and achievable in a domestically sustainable time period. I doubt that the Syrian issue meets these tests. We cannot afford to be driven from expedient to expedient into undefined military involvement in a conflict taking on an increasingly sectarian character. In reacting to one human tragedy, we must be careful not to facilitate another. In the absence of a clearly articulated strategic concept, a world order that erodes borders and merges international and civil wars can never catch its breath. A sense of nuance is needed to give perspective to the proclamation of absolutes. This is a nonpartisan issue, and it should be treated in that manner in the national debate we are entering. …Read More:http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/syrian-intervention-risks-upsetting-global-order/2012/06/01/gJQA9fGr7U_story_1.html