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Bargaining Your Way to Victory?
 
Seven cadet research fellows and senior members from the West Point Negotiation Project presented and participated in the Air Force Culture and Language Center's Conflict Management Symposium, hosted by the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. (Photo: West Point)  

 

BARGAINING THEORY AND BUILDING STRATEGIES
FOR COUNTERING ARMED GROUPS

Lt. Col. Brook J. Leonard
US Air Force

USAWC Class of 2010

The views expressed in the document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Department of the Army, the U.S. Department of the Air Force, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

 

SUMMARY

This AY-10 USAWC Resident Student paper uses bargaining theory to highlight how important it is to think about why conflicts begin, why they continue, and why they end.

The author believes that elements of bargaining theory and negotiation techniques typically used in economic and business are powerful tools in building strategies that will guide the use of force through the ebbs and flows of persistent conflict. His paper demonstrates that the theories and techniques of bargaining are not new to war, rather they are found throughout classic war theory in the writings of Sun Tzu, Thucydides, and Carl Von Clausewitz. He notes that in response to the increasing prevalence and potential of global instability caused by non-state armed groups, many scholars have turned away from these theorists and searched elsewhere for guidance on building strategies to counter armed groups.

His essay, however, recommends viewing and understanding the confluence of insurgency, terrorism, and crime holistically and historically, examines how the shadows of absolute victory have crept into counterinsurgency doctrine, and suggests ways to match the instruments of power to intangible political goals.


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This page last updated on 30 November 2010.

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