The Valuation of Your Commitment.

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As we observe the US Administration’s decision to withdraw support for Kurdish allies, opening the way for a Turkish military incursion, we’re reminded of the opening image we share in any talk we give on negotiation (above).

Being a negotiator isn’t about sitting across a table and deploying techniques - it’s about character, and building a reputation for integrity. To reach an agreement on a long term outcome, the parties don’t need to like - or even respect - one another, but they must trust the integrity of the other’s commitments.

In addition to the direct costs Kurdish allies face, this short-term decision has long-term ramifications for US officials’ ability to negotiate agreements or mediate disputes as a result of this devaluation of the American promise.

Just as Standard & Poors and Moody’s can assess a credit rating, international negotiators place a value on the integrity of a government’s promise. If S&P provided a “Commitment Rating”, the US would be have been downgraded this morning.