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seasat's Journal
Posted by seasat in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Wed Dec 05th 2007, 06:02 PM
This CS Monitor article details his approach to negotiations and gives some background on his life with quotes from those that worked with him.

His skills in negotiation and his experience as UN ambassador and diplomat will help repair the damage to our foreign relations caused by the current administration. He has served as the Organization of American States special envoy on immigration. He has expertise he can bring to solving immigration issues between Mexico and the US. He has a Master's degree in international relations from Tuft's university, has taught on the subject at Harvard's School of Government, and has published foreign policy papers in the Harvard Review. Richardson has the academic background preparing him for work on foreign relations. Bill Richardson grew up speaking both English and Spanish. He also is fluent in French. He can communicate with foreign leaders in South America in their native tongue.

Here's a story about how he negotiates from the CS Monitor article above.

When he returned later, Hussein learned that Richardson had asked to go to Mass with Mr. Aziz, also a Catholic.

"I understand the Mass is much longer in this country," the congressman said.

"Saddam said, 'That's because you Americans don't confess all your sins,' " recalled Humphrey in a phone interview. "Without missing a beat, Richardson replied, 'Mr. President, I thought it was because you Iraqis have so much more to confess.' "

The quick-witted retort actually made Hussein smile. "He obviously had been testing Richardson," Humphrey says. "That kind of broke the ice.... The look was like, 'You got me on that.' " By the end of the discussion, Hussein agreed to release the two American prisoners.


Here's his rules for negotiating that he outlines in his book, "Between Worlds":


  • Politics and diplomacy are team sports. Acknowledge it.
  • Be discreet and don't volunteer too much information.
  • Your style can be informal, but you must show proper respect.
  • Remember who your friends were when things weren't going so well.
  • Aim big. Always try to achieve more than you have to.
  • When you're about to make a major change, cover your bases.
  • It helps to be in good shape. You never know when you're going to be called to the negotiating table.
  • Deliver a strong message with dignity and without insults.
  • Never lie when negotiating, because lies catch up with you. Be direct.
  • Use the media if you need to, but keep your negotiations private.
  • Have others deliver bad news; it keeps you viable as a future negotiator.
  • In most meetings, the law of diminishing returns kicks in after five minutes.


In addition to the speeches linked by MethuenProgressive, Richardson has a fantastic policy proposal on global sustainability. Here are his major points:


  • Create a partnership with the UN, nonprofits, and the private sector to address these problems
  • Meet our UN Millennium goal commitments
  • International commission of experts on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals
  • US lead on international debt relief, shift loans to grants, and depoliticize the World Bank
  • US lead in primary health care and vaccines for devloping countries
  • Microcredit in developing countries
  • Promote education in developing countries
  • Double development assistance to 2% of US budget
  • Support goals of the One Campaign
  • Clean energy and greenhouse gas reduction
  • Prepare to aid displacement of folks due to climate change
  • Cost effective methods for harvesting fresh water and restoring polluted waterways
  • Promote reforestation
  • Develop crops resistant to heat and drought for regions affected by global warming
  • International treaties to prevent over fishing and species loss
  • Fight cross border crime
  • Combat all forms of smuggling
  • Combat human trafficking.


I posted yesterday on his policy regarding Iran where he denounces "saber rattling" and calls for negotiations without preconditions.

Here's his policy speech on Latin America. He focuses on ways that we can build better relationships with them. Richardson makes the point that we can't talk seriously to some of these countries about human rights until we improve our own by closing Guantanamo and secret prisons.

Finally last, but certainly not least, he calls for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq leaving no residual forces in less than a year. He'd use the leverage of our withdrawal to force the Iraq government to forge a political settlement with all the factions. He'd replace US forces with a majority Muslim international peace keeping force.

Added on edit: I left off his policy speech on Asia. He discusses how we need to include environmental, human rights, and labor protections in our trade agreement. Richardson also talks about how to deal with the growth of China. It's a pretty good wonky speech.
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