Comrade Obama, Hahvud, and Interest Based Bargaining

Whether it is his flaccid foreign policy, his constant attempts to curry favor by deprecating our Country, or his refusal to actually take a firm position on anything, Comrade Obama is being true to his makers: The Harvard School of Law.  It is ironclad dogma at Hahvud that any policy development or bargaining be based on identification of issues and commonalities rather than on taking firm positions on matters.  Hahvud calls this interest based bargaining and has developed an elaborate vocabulary for it that has crept into both business and government-speak.   There is also an elaborate system of ritual associated with any bargaining process, an understanding of which will explain some of the seemingly silly things this and other administrations do.  I’ll save you the $4 grand or so that Hahvud and MIT will charge you for the four day training on interest based bargaining and give you a crash course on IBB and the vocabulary of bargaining used by Comrade Obama and the elites.

Unlike Comrade Obama and his minions, I’ve actually bargained literally thousands of labor agreements.  I’ve been forced to try to use IBB by administrations that thought it was cool.  I’ve had unions try to coerce me into using it because it is so greatly to the union’s advantage.  I’ve taken Hahvud/MIT’s class and sent my staff and even my boss.  We saw it as a “know your enemy” course, Comrade Obama and his ilk see it as the revealed wisdom.  I will state categorically that IBB is only useful for a union-friendly government or management to work together with the union to make it look like they’re doing something while giving the union whatever it wants despite what the shareholders or taxpayers want.  It is simply a scam but it has penetrated the thinking of practically every business and government in the Country and is informing our foreign policy formulation today, a truly frightening thought.  Whenever you hear someone speak about identifying the stakeholders, identifying interests, identifying shared interests, finding concensus positions, getting buy-in from the stakeholders, and the like, you are listening to someone using the vocabulary of IBB – whether they know it or not.  Even the wildly popular “Getting to Yes” bargaining techniques aimed at business are just a deriviative of IBB, though some of that stuff is actually useful in pure commercial bargaining.

The unenlightened evil that Havud seeks to address is so-called positional bargaining, the kind of bargaining most of us would take for granted.  In positional bargaining whether you’re engaged in nuclear non-proliferation bargaining, collective bargaining, or trying to buy a house each party identifies its position and can take action ranging from complete acceptance of the other party’s position to staunch maintenance of its own position to any point between those extremes.  The watchwords in IBB are that you should never “become positional.”  Think about that for awhile.

Using IBB, parties to negotiations would hire someone familiar with IBB to jointly train each party’s negotiating team in the vocabulary and processes of IBB – that’s guaranteed and expensive work for anybody who’s had the training, and yes, I do have that certificate handy.  After getting to know each other as individuals, an important part of the process, and developing a shared process and vocabulary through training, the parties then separate to assess the interests they seek to serve in the upcoming negotiations.  An IBB’er would never crassly take a position such as “It is the United States’ postion that Iran should not have nuclear weapons” or “The US will guarantee the safety and sovereignty of the State of Israel.”  An IBB’er would say that “It is in the interest of the US and all the nations of the Middle East that there not be a nuclear threat to that region.”  See how that automatically establishes an equivalence between Iran and Israel?  This is, of course, completely in keeping with the “it’s not wrong, it’s just different” thinking of the elites about most anything except conservatives.  In the collective bargaining context as well, IBB establishes an equivalence between the management of the company or government’s desire to protect and enrich the shareholders or taxpayers and the union’s desire to protect and enrich its members.  This is why really stupid and expensive things get done in Blue states where the government and the union view themselves as partners.  Beware anyone who uses the word partner in government!  Then the parties come back together and exchange their views of the interests being served in the negotiations and try to achieve a consensus on shared interests from which they can develop an agreement that reflects those shared interests.  Throw in a dash of fairy dust and some unicorn farts and you can all live happily ever after.

So, when you see and hear Comrade Obama reaching out to talk with adversaries that reasonable people would conclude there is no basis for discussions, you are seeing him naively act on the IBB dogma that there are always some shared interests between parties and the only way to find those shared interests is to never be adversarial or become positional.  Thus, IBB, though cumbersome and expensive, will work where there really are some shared interests and where the parties have correctly identified their interests.  At the most elemental level whether one is dealing with an employer and a union or bargaining between two nations, there would seem to be a shared interest in survival and that both parties would accurately assess a threat to their survival.  However, history is replete with examples of companies and unions having destroyed themselves by sacrificing their future for a present benefit or of nations not accurately assessing that another nation posed an existential threat, see, e.g., “Peace in our time.”  It is a particularly common trait of leftwing elitists to not understand either the thinking or the power of anyone who does not accept their view of things.  I made a very good career out of left wing unions’ inability to accurately assess what the employer might do and deluding themselves about how much power they had to influence employer actions.  It was common enough and so much a part of the leftist dogma that I think it is a general rule in dealing with American leftists that they will not accurately assess their interests.  If I can figure that out, so can the Iranians, the Russians, the Chinese, the NorKors, and any one of the entities out there who may not share the US’ interests.

It is one thing when a naive and inexperienced mayor or governor buys in on this stuff and hands the deed to his city or state to a union.  It’s only money and in the next election you toss him out and the next administration tries to get the money back.  It is quite another thing when a hopelessly naive and inexperienced POTUS’ has a worldview that casts his own nation and the most vile regimes in the World as equivalents in terms of interests.  Comrade Obama really does believe that Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons justifies Iran’s seeking nuclear weapons because in his worldview informed by Hahvud, they are at best equivalents and if you believe, as I do, that he is an open Communist, he would at heart believe that Israel is the evil in the Middle East and Iraq is merely struggling against Jewish and Colonialist oppression.  Be afraid!