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Legal Commentary: Vertical Pulse
Negotiating Points from Crisis and Command
I recently read Crisis and Command by John Yoo. I found the book to be a very informative and readable historic account of the ebbs and flows of presidential power. A few of the historical accounts provide lessons for negotiators. For instance:
Sometimes subordinate negotiators can exceed their authority and return with very satisfactory agreements. Thomas Jefferson sent Robert Livingston and James Monroe to Paris to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans from Napoleon. However, Napoleon decided to sell the entire Louisiana territory, not just New Orleans. These envoys decided to exceed their authority and purchase all of Louisiana for about $15 million. This Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the United States, gave it permanent control of the Mississippi and New Orleans, and dislodged France and Spain as serious threats to American national security in the West.
In negotiations, putting all of your cards on the table and attempting to appease the politically correct constituency by being "transparent" is just stupid. During the Berlin airlift, President Truman signaled his determination to defeat the Soviet blockade of Berlin by deploying two squadrons of B-29 bombers to Germany, the planes that had dropped the atomic bombs on Japan (though unbeknowst to the Russians, they were not equipped with nuclear weapons).
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