View this email in your browser
NTF Insider
Dear <<First Name>>,

Is the Iran deal on the table again? How will external players such as Russia adjust their Middle East strategies to the Biden presidency?

Let's ask Ron Prosor, former Israeli UN Ambassador, during the next episode of NTF Live. Please bring your questions!
In solidarity,

Arvid Bell
Director, NTF
Deals and Disruption: Assessing Middle East Negotiations after the US Elections with Ambassador Ron Prosor

Join the NTF and Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor on March 3 at 12:30 p.m. EST. Registration required.
For Biden, Four Points on the Baltic Agenda

Convincing the Baltic nations that America can be trusted to uphold alliances and multilateralism will be a challenge for the Biden administration, per Linas Kojala, Director of the Eastern Europe Studies Center and NTF Associate.
Save the date: Red Horizon: Force and Diplomacy in Eurasia returns December 10–12, 2021
The First Mover's Toolbox

Negotiating Within Reiterated Games
It's one thing to negotiate a deal between parties on a singular occasion. It's another entirely to repeatedly negotiate with the same parties from different positions of strength. Such is the case of Congress, which engages in reiterated games. Democrats and Republicans continuously gain and lose majorities.

Political scientist Frances Lee argues that when the possibility of winning a majority in the next election is a constant possibility, incentives for cooperation dwindle. Now, with Democrats in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, the Biden administration has the ability to pass legislation without Republican support. Should Democrats do that, or does compromise make sense even if there is no guarantee of reciprocal action? Previously, Republicans blocked many items on former President Obama's legislative agenda when they recaptured majorities in the House and Senate. So, shouldn't a negotiator in a reiterated game—the Democrats, here—attempt to maximize their gains while in control?

In reiterated games, there is no guarantee of reciprocated cooperation upon becoming the weaker party. If the dominant party chooses, it can marginalize the desires of its opponent. Oftentimes, negotiators play hardball and seek to maximize gains from their opponents, ignoring the possibility of a role reversal. But doing so runs the risk of reciprocated retribution, leading them to achieve few, if any, of their objectives upon losing high ground in the reiterated game.

The advanced negotiator knows this and does not let feelings dictate her actions. Instead, she will conduct a rational analysis of the zone of possible agreement (ZOPA). Is there room for compromise even if it means the final outcome is not "perfect"? Is it worth making concessions on substance if they can help preserve a relationship or make a deal more sustainable? If so, maximizing gains at all cost may not be the prudent course of action.

The bottom line: Negotiators should be cognizant of the continuous nature of reiterated games. Do not lose sight of the changing power dynamics in negotiations. When assessing a potential compromise, focus on your and the other party's core interests and not on the desire to exact revenge.
The Negotiation Task Force of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University promotes innovative solutions to Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security challenges by creating spaces for cross-cultural negotiation research, training, and strategic analysis. Follow the NTF Insider to learn more about us, our events, and the most up-to-date analysis in international negotiations. Email us at, call the NTF office at +1 (617) 496 2180, or visit us online.

Negotiation Task Force
Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University
1730 Cambridge Street, 3rd floor
Cambridge, MA 02138-4453

Add us to your address book

Forward this newsletter to a friend

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.