WASHINGTON, October 13, 2013 – A skilled mediator and negotiator would not be put off by President Obama’s and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s refusal to sit down with John Boehner and Republican legislators to negotiate an end to Shutdown 2013. Getting the parties to the table is often the first hurdle to overcome in a conflict of this magnitude.
Additionally, there has to be an appreciation for the value of conflict resolution as a legitimate political tool.
Former President Jimmy Carter understood the value of conflict resolution and importance of face saving when he facilitated the Camp David Accords agreements signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin 35 years ago.
Using shuttle diplomacy, mediation and other non violent methods, President Carter was able to facilitate peaceful agreements that eventually led to a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.
President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 for their courageous work.
If President Sadat and Prime Minister Menachem could put aside their differences and negotiate an agreement, why can’t President Obama and Reid follow a similar path and negotiate with Boehner and Republican legislators?
Clearly, the President and Congress’ low ratings are an indication that change is needed. According to the gallop poll editor “Americans are now more likely to mention dysfunctional government than the economy or jobs as the most important problem facing the U.S.”
Rush Limbaugh commented that “conflict resolution” essentially has no utilitarian value, based on his purported understanding of what he believes conflict resolution is or is not. In reviewing the “Bully-Bully” documentary on peer-peer bullying, Rush said “one of the things this movie Bully does, without intending to, is demonstrate that conflict resolution as a class is worthless.”
When a radio show caller complimented Rush on the accuracy of the information he disseminates, Rush reminded his audience that “right now it’s [his accuracy] been documented as almost always right 99.7% of the time.”
I have tremendous respect for Rush and his accomplishments in the media. However, in all fairness, Rush has not given conflict resolution a chance. Notwithstanding there have been a number of people who have misrepresented conflict resolution, it works.
Conflict Resolution is an umbrella term for facilitated peaceful resolution of a conflict or dispute. It’s an alternative to bullies “beating the crap” out of people because they annoy them. Moreover, giving a bully a “beat down” only reinforces bad behavior.
Programs like Olweus are evidenced based and use a positive behavior approach to stop bullying and correct peer relations.
At the end of the recorded review of the Bully-Bully, Rush joking says that it was suggested that he forward a copy of the movie to President Obama.
Why not call for President Obama and Congress to consider mediation to end Shutdown 2013? The only caveat is that the mediator be independent and leave his or her advocacy hat at the door.
The third part of the Camp David Accords was criticized by the United Nations because a framework for peace in the Middle East was written without the participation of all the parties involved.
A mediated Shutdown 2013 agreement would not commit parties who did not participate in negotiations.
Tell me what you think about the possibility of an independent mediator to facilitate peaceful resolution to Shutdown 2013.
All comments are welcome and valued.
Also, feel free to ask me questions about conflict resolution and mediation.