LIVE STREAM at 12:15 pm: Charles Kupchan on Turning Enemies into Friends

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Georgetown University Professor and Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Charles Kupchan has written an important book, How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace, that deals with the vital issue of how to effectively negotiate and make peace with international rivals and opponents.
Kupchan will be at the New America Foundation from 12:15 pm-1:45 pm today to discuss his book with TWN publisher Steve Clemons.
The event will stream live here at The Washington Note.
— Andrew Lebovich

Comments

22 comments on “LIVE STREAM at 12:15 pm: Charles Kupchan on Turning Enemies into Friends

  1. PissedfOffAmerican says:

    No, it is TWO links. Anymore than that, Steve’s spamblocker kicks in with its subliminal paranoia inducing “they’re out to get me” software.
    However, the software DOES allow capitalization and punctuation that is designed to display evidence of basic literacy.

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  2. ... says:

    got so busy/dizzy i posted the 3 ‘separate’ links on this page instead… not that anyone is paying attention, lol…. i will remember the rule of twn – never more then 1 link per post….

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  3. ... says:

    Dov Lior has made several controversial statements that made him infamous around the world. He has made speeches legitimizing the killing of non-Jews and praising Baruch Goldstein as a saint and martyr. Lior also issued a religious edict containing his most well known and often quoted phrase, saying “a thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dov_Lior

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  4. ... says:

    Rabbi Yosef has protested strongly against demands by the United States and other foreign countries that Israel freeze construction in East Jerusalem, saying that “it’s as if we are their slaves.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ovadia_Yosef

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  5. ... says:

    modern day israel – fanatics are running the orthodox religion…they’re also the largest growing religious group within israel…
    Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

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  6. Paul Norheim says:

    Don,
    your point is of course correct, and goes a long way explaining
    this, (but it does not contradict my post). But since your basic
    point is frequently mentioned here, I wanted to see this through
    a different angle.
    As for your comment, this is not less relevant re. Saudi Arabia:
    Everybody (from left to right) agrees that SA is an extremely
    reactionary and oppressive society, but the passions will only turn
    against the Saudis when circumstances change, and the US
    propaganda machinery decides to target them. My (wild) guess is
    that it will happen 10-15 years from now.

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  7. Don Bacon says:

    Paul,
    There has been no passion against North Korea created by US government (and TWN!) propaganda, as there has been against Iran, because North Korea is a remote country with no natural resources. Iran, on the other hand, is centrally located in the Middle East and has extensive oil and gas deposits. That is the major difference.
    Oh, I almost forgot — Israel has no interests in Korea — a MAJOR difference.

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  8. Paul Norheim says:

    BBC today:
    “North Korea scraps South Korea military safeguard pact
    9:38 GMT, Thursday, 27 May 2010
    North Korea has announced it will scrap an agreement aimed at
    preventing accidental naval clashes with South Korea, amid
    rising tensions over the sinking of a South Korean warship.
    The move is in retaliation for Seoul blaming Pyongyang for a
    torpedo attack that sank the Cheonan in March.
    The announcement comes as the South Korean navy conducts a
    major anti-submarine drill. An international probe found the
    Cheonan was sunk by a Northern torpedo. North Korea has
    denied the allegation.
    In a statement on the North Korean official news agency on
    Thursday, the North Korean military said the country would
    “completely nullify the bilateral agreement that was concluded
    to prevent a contingent clash in the West Sea of Korea [Yellow
    Sea].
    “In connection with this, [we] will completely stop using
    international maritime ultra-short wave walkie-talkies and will
    immediately cut off the communication line that was opened to
    handle an emergency situation.””
    ——————————
    It looks like North Korea just created the perfect conditions for
    a minor event or misunderstanding leading to an escalation.

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  9. Paul Norheim says:

    Correction: Kim Jong-Il.
    And as an afterthought: Korea was not less alien for Westerners
    during the Cold War and the Korean-American war, it’s just that
    the ideological passions were more intense, creating an illusion
    that we understood what it was all about – just like during the
    Vietnam war, when we were unable to distinguish between anti-
    colonial nationalism and some kind of international communist
    revolution.
    The same applies to the current conflicts with certain Islamic
    countries and organizations, and the distinction between
    territorial issues and the universal claims of some globalists
    within the Islamist movements.

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  10. Paul Norheim says:

    The North/South Korean (or should I say: the North
    Korean/American?) crisis is unique – also in the sense that
    Westerners on both sides of the political spectrum to a
    surprising degree seem to agree that the North Korean
    leadership is paranoid, brutal and dictatorial. We Westerners
    may disagree on almost everything: Whether the world is round
    (Parmenides) or flat (Thomas Friedman); whether someone
    throwing a bomb into a restaurant is a terrorist or a freedom
    fighter; or whether Elvis is dead or alive; but nobody seems
    willing to challenge the common view that Kim Il Yong is a cruel
    and paranoid dictator.
    Of course this doesn’t automatically make the military option
    more palatable (the human cost could be extremely high), but
    the topic doesn’t seem to trigger the usual ideological reflexes
    seen while discussing Iran, Israel, AfPak, Yemen, or problems
    related to South or Central American countries during the last
    four decades.
    But although our long lasting hostility against the North Korean
    dictatorship may be characterized as a lowest common
    denominator within capitalist democracies, the strange thing is
    that it doesn’t create ANY passions; nor does it function as a
    bridge between the ideological positions – just as a potentially
    dangerous nuisance, an irrelevant and absurd relict from the
    cold war.
    Perhaps the almost complete absence of passions (compared to,
    say the conflict with Iran) is also due to the fact that North
    Korea seems completely alien to us? We have no reference
    points, except for the basic humanitarian aspect, and the banal,
    almost too obvious ideological difference.
    This is also a reminder of the fact that Islam, Judaism, and
    Christianity are different branches of the same religion, and the
    related conflicts must be regarded as family issues; thus the
    passions are much stronger. As for North Korea, most of us are
    just clueless, and annoyed. With the notable exceptions of
    Richard Perle and John Bolton, of course.
    Rant over.
    Steve: Any thoughts on the North Korean crisis?

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  11. Dan Kervick says:

    Well, this is an interesting theoretical discussion. But resolving the US-Iran standoff through diplomatic means does not really require becoming Iran’s “friend”. Moving toward a balance of power in the Middle East, based on re-balanced, businesslike relationships with the variety of equally sub-optimal states there, would be good for now.
    Question for discussion: Will Obama take some kind of military action against North Korea to deflect attention from the horribly bungled fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico? Even if the oil eruption is plugged by the ongoing “top kill” operation, the destruction, filth and economic devastation are going to continue to wash up in Obama’s political lap over the summer. The outrage and full realization of the horror will grow, and the White House is going to find it increasingly impossible to defend Obama’s bizarrely aloof, callous and detached personal response to the crisis throughout May, along with the several governmental failures that will no doubt come to light as well as the press, spurred on by the growing outrage, follows this story into all its entangled corners of corruption and incompetence.
    Obama, whose prior political experience is all legislative, has turned out to be a kind of legislator-in-chief. Although the legislation enacted is a mixed bag substantively, he has shown an impressive ability to marshal a very substantial legislative agenda through Congress.
    But the current crisis is showing very worrying gaps in his executive skills, and in his ability to improvise and respond alertly to sudden changes of events. He seems not to grasp some of the key requirements of presidential leadership.
    If hostilities break out between North Korea and South Korea (and US forces) next week, does he plan on delegating that emergency to his subordinates also, all because he had some other item on the top of his agenda for the week? Is he going to go golfing again, or take another family weekend?

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  12. JohnH says:

    Wigwag didn’t understand what I said. Certainly, peace negotiations will not work if one of the parties is ideologically opposed to negotiations. However, it is Likud that has never started any peace negotiations and always ended them the moment it took power. Naturally, Wigwag echoes the hasbara, prefering to blame Hamas, which has already said it would let Fatah negotiate on its behalf.
    Now Israel, as the dominant power, could show “strategic restraint” by offering the Palestinian side a concrete gesture, something that Netanyahu has steadfastly refused to do. (Oh, he’ll make lots of conciliatory sounds but absolutely will not make the Palestinian side the slightest concrete peace offering. It would violate the sanctity of the Iron Wall.) Fact is that Israel is the intransigent party.
    And Wigwag could no be more wrong about Camp David. Avi Shlaim writes, “as the days went by, Camp David seemed more and more like a prison camp.” The parties were sequestered at Camp David precisely for reasons of secrecy. Before Begin arrived, he asked the cabinet to delegate its authority, something he would not have done had he wished each detail to be debated and picked apart publicly before the comprehensive deal.
    Secrecy works. And the foreign policy elite uses secrecy along with psyops every day to prosecute its misadventures across the globe–Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran. Sometimes however, like Camp David, secrecy has been used to achieve peaceful results. Too bad secrecy for peaceful outcomes is the exception not the rule in these militaristic times.

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  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “How Enemies Become Friends”
    Hopefully this crazy witch Clinton will read it before she finds an excuse to nuke someone.

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  14. WigWag says:

    You didn’t listen to Kupchan very carefully, JohnH or if you did, you didn’t understand him very well. Kupchan never said that his rules for peacemaking apply if one of the parties isn’t even willing to negotiate. His talk wasn’t about how to entice an unwilling party like the Palestinians to the negotiating table; it was about what “rules” facilitate the peace process once both parties decide that peace is in their interest. Because the Palestinians haven’t come to terms with surrendering their maximalist aspirations, they are disinterested in negotiating in good faith; thus very little Kupchan has to say is relevant to the situation between Israelis and Palestinians. Presumably even Kupchan would acknowledge that when one of the parties won’t even sit in the same room with negotiators of the other party; that very few of the historical precedents that he cites take you very far.
    Were American and British leaders willing to talk with each other to resolve their differences in the early 20th century? What about the leaders of the Iroquois tribes? What about leaders of the French and Germans or the Swedes and Norwegians?
    Contrast this with the situation with the Palestinians; Hamas has stated over and over again that while they might support a long term armistice, they are not willing to forge a final peace agreement. President Abbas had to be dragged kicking and screaming by Obama to “proximity” talks; he won’t even sit in the same room with Netanyahu to try to hammer out a deal. The Palestinians have decided to eschew peace and they show little interest in genuine negotiations. As a result Kupchan has very little to offer.
    On the other hand, we can measure Kupchan’s rules against the peace deals that Israel has made with its Arab adversaries; especially its deals with the Egyptians and Jordanians. Scrutinizing those peace negotiations shows that some of Kupchan’s rules were operative while others were not.
    1) “Peace does not break out.”
    That is certainly true. When the Egyptians and Jordanians acquiesced to the reality that they couldn’t defeat Israel militarily they sued for peace. The parties mutually accepted the overtures of their adversaries and peace talks began in earnest.
    2) “In asymmetrical power relationships, the more powerful party must show strategic restraint.”
    Certainly this applied to the negotiations between Israelis and Egyptians and Israelis and Jordanians. Israel was far more economically and militarily powerful than either of these former adversaries. Nevertheless when it became apparent that they genuinely wanted peace, Israel accommodated them. With Egypt, Israel relinquished strategically important territory (the Sinai) that it had won with the blood of its soldiers. The victors in war rarely relinquish territory that they covet; the Israelis made the decision to do so. It

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  15. JohnH says:

    Wigwag, you charged that Kupchan “believes that peace would be breaking out all over the world if only the troglodytes would mind their own business and leave the foreign policy decisions to people like him and the rest of his ilk.”
    And then you accuse me of a non-sequitur. Is the message “mind your own business,” “we want to conduct business in secret?” Of course it is.
    Sadly enough, negotiating in secret is what makes negotiations work. Telling interested parties to “mind their own” business is critical to success. Interest groups pick deals apart piecemeal before the complete package of benefits and drawbacks is ever agreed to.
    It’s why unions and corporations negotiate in secret. And it’s why negotiating in secret was essential to Jimmy Carter’s success at Camp David. It will also be essential to any future Israeli-Palestinian deal, which is probably why you oppose it.
    My advice to Wigwag, get used to it.

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  16. Dan Kervick says:

    I can’t believe Obama is pig-headedly pounding ahead with the release of the the National Security Strategy this week, on the very day he’s now supposed to speak in Louisiana. Head … up … his … ass.

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  17. WigWag says:

    “Other than Richard Lugar (and maybe Rand Paul if he’s elected) is their even one Republican Senator or Senatorial candidate who doesn’t eschew the Baker/Scowcroft approach?” (WigWag)
    To answer my own question, I actually thought of one Republican almost certain to be elected, who would be impressed if not relieved by an approach to foreign policy supported by Scowcroft and Baker; Mike Castle of Delaware.
    In a way this is entirely appropriate. While the man that Castle will be replacing, Vice President Joe Biden, may not be a huge Baker/Scowcroft fan he almost certainly has tremendous respect for both men and Biden probably agrees with Biden/Scowcroft alot more than most currently serving Republican Senators and Congressmen do.
    JohnH, your response to me is a non sequitur. If you read my comment you will see that I never mentioned secrecy. During his talk, Kupchan gave examples of times that secrecy enhanced peace-making because domestic constituencies that opposed the process were kept out of the loop until peace was achieved. As an example he cited negotiations between the United States and Great Britain during the late 19th century and early 20th century. I didn’t respond to Kupchan’s remarks on this subject one way or the other.
    Kupchan also spent a considerable amount of time during his half hour talk commenting on how important managing domestic constituencies was if peace between longstanding enemies was to be achieved. In fact, he made the statement that managing domestic reaction to peacemaking with a rival was as important or even more important than actually negotiating with the rival.
    It was clear that Kupchan regrets the influence of domestic constituencies over foreign affairs. He believes that questions of diplomacy are best left to elites and that peacemaking would be easier if only the great unwashed would simply butt out.
    I haven’t read his book so I can’t comment on the specific historical precedents that he cites. But given the history of the world, the idea that our planet would be a more peaceful place if only we left peacemaking and other aspects of diplomacy to the professional diplomats, foreign policy experts and politicians seems like a very specious argument to me. After all, that was the way things worked for most of the last two thousand years; there was no shortage of bloody conflict during that period of time. Maybe Kupchan can tell us how many peace treaties there were between England and France since the time of Agincourt; maybe he can tell us how many of them lasted.
    Disintermediation now rules the world, the idea that the foreign policy apparatus should be exempt is not only wrong; it simply isn’t going to happen. In an era when foreign travel is fast, cheap and easy and in an era of instant communication, the idea that citizens are going to vest their elites with the space to forge peace deals over their heads is just not going to happen.
    My advice to Kupchan is simple; get used to it.

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  18. JohnH says:

    It’s easy to see why Wigwag criticizes Kupchan, for his findings are diametrically opposed to everything that Wigwag, neocons, and Israel Firsters hold most sacred:
    A summary of Kupchan’s position:
    1) peace does break out
    2) in asymmetrical power relationships, the more powerful party must show strategic restraint
    3) the types of regimes are irrelevant
    4) economic interdependence is irrelevant
    5) culture matters, and the more similarity, the better
    6) domestic politics is often the biggest obstacle, because the opposition goes berserk, which is why strategic openings and negotiations must be conducted in secret.
    Contrast this with the Zionist narrative:
    1) It all starts with the ideological position that peace is impossible (religious fanaticism, no partner for peace, eternal antisemitism.) Instead, the enemy must be crushed (a prospect that does not look particularly promising for the Israeli side today.)
    2) “Strategic restraint is anathema and will only encourage the weaker side.” Of course, use of any strategic restraint also violates the Iron Wall, the ideological premise that the enemy can never be placated and must be crushed.
    3) “regime matters: Palestinians must first form a responsible government and institutions.” Conveniently for the Zionist project, the military occupation precludes the possibility that Palestinians can form a legitimate government, one that represents their aspirations.
    4) “Economic dependence of the Palestinian people is paramount.” Forget any interdependence, even though irrelevant.
    5) “Culture matters and Jews and Palestinians are as different as can be. Ergo, reconciliation is impossible.” Of course the Israel Firsters choose to disregard, of course, their shared Semitic roots, language and traditions.
    6) “Domestic politics precludes any attempt at peace, because the American public sides with the righteousness of the Israel cause.” This of course assumes, that the American public sides with Israel, something that seems to be changing. It also ignores the enormous, pernicious influence of Zionist opinion shapers, who could be called upon to show restraint and change the domestic political narrative if they had the least inclination for peace.
    Though Wigwag criticizes Kupchan, she can cite no studies to refute Kupchan’s work, only her own “gut feel” based on Zionist ideology.
    I’ll side with Kupchan and wish him success in influencing American policy on Iran, Afghanistan, and Palestine!

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  19. JohnH says:

    What’s hilarious here is Wigwag’s assertion that foreign policy in democratic societies can no longer be conducted in secret. If Wigwag were paying attention, she would recognize that most of what matters in foreign policy is conducted in secret:
    -the reasons for invading and occupying Iraq have never been publicly acknowledged. Instead we got a laundry list of reasons, starting with WMDs, that all turned out to be phony. Then, despite the absence of any credible justification for war, the elites simply stopped trying to explain it.
    – goals for Afghanistan have never been publicly divulged. Yet we’re spending $Trillions on a pointless military adventure.
    – underlying reasons for antagonism towards Iran are rarely divulged. What nowpasses for a reason is Iran’s nuclear weapons program, something non-existent, according to those best in a position to know, the US intelligence community and the IAEA.
    The bottom line here is that America’s foreign policy ambitions, to the extent they are defined at all, are a well kept secret. What is debated in public is a masquerade, intended to drive the American people into agreeing with whatever actions the government is determined to take.

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  20. Steve Clemons says:

    Wig — Many thanks for the careful listen to Charles Kupchan’s
    presentation. I disagree with your take — but think you do a very
    good job of making reasoned counterpoints. all best, Steve

    Reply

  21. ... says:

    wigwag quote “As usual, Kupchan presented himself in an elegant and articulate manner and as usual he was mostly wrong.”
    in that regard this reminds me exactly of you!

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  22. WigWag says:

    As usual, Kupchan presented himself in an elegant and articulate manner and as usual he was mostly wrong. I haven’t read Kupchan’s book yet, primarily because it’s too expensive. When it comes down from almost $17.00 for the Kindle version to under $10.00 it might be worth purchasing.
    There was something that was frankly hilarious about watching Kupchan, the former head of CFR and Steve Clemons, Chief Foreign Policy guru for NAF, bemoaning the role that domestic politics plays in foreign policy. Listening to Kupchan, it’s pretty apparent that the believes that peace would be breaking out all over the world if only the troglodytes would mind their own business and leave the foreign policy decisions to people like him and the rest of his ilk.
    I guess that Kupchan thinks that democracy is just too messy and pines for a time when mass media and communications didn’t facilitate public involvement in an area that he thinks is so esoteric that it has to be left to the experts; experts of course, like him.
    Sorry Charlie; if those days ever existed, they aren

    Reply

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