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Arbitration & Mediation: Settle It Now Negotiation Blog
Create Hope by Reminding Clients that People Change
By Victoria Pynchon
Quick! Name a conflict that will never be resolved.
You chose the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, right? Or perhaps it was a simmering conflict closer to home? Having just marked the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Americans might think of the seemingly endless fighting in Afghanistan.
Now think Islamofascism – a term that conflates the religion of 1.5 billion people with a political doctrine so odious that its very name is synonymous with absolute evil. The non-hyphenated Islamofascist is a hologram of a conflict that cannot be resolved. Because you can't negotiate – or even talk – with the devil. And though you may know some very nice Muslims and have never met an Islamofascist, you'd know him if you saw him. And the one thing you wouldn't be doing is negotiating because negotiating presumes compromise.
And you don't compromise with Satan.
The conflict implied by the corrosive Islamofascist mash-up is one the social scientists call intractable. The dictionary definition of intractable is 'difficult or stubborn' but you and I know it means impossible to resolve.
You can tell a conflict is intractable when you ask the parties to say something nice about the other and all you get is a stream of invective. Try this over dinner with relatives from the opposite political party.
Say something good about
a. Barack Obama.
b. Michelle Bachmann.
Give up? You're not alone.
Discouraged? Don't be.
Hope that Conflict Can Be Resolved Helps People Resolve Conflict
Researchers have demonstrated that 'simply reading a few sentences about the successful resolutions of historic conflicts elsewhere made Israelis and Palestinians more amenable to compromise.'
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