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Transforming Power Relationships: Leadership, Risk and Hope

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Read, James H.; Shapiro, Ian

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Corporate Editor Institut für Höhere Studien (IHS), Wien
Abstract Chronic communal conflicts resemble the prisoner’s dilemma. Both communities prefer peace to war. But neither trusts the other, viewing the other’s gain as its own loss, so potentially shared interests often go unrealized. Achieving positive-sum outcomes from apparently zero-sum struggles requires a kind of risk-embracing leadership. To succeed leaders must: a) see power relations as potentially positive-sum; b) strengthen negotiating adversaries instead of weakening them; and c) demonstrate hope for a positive future and take great personal risks to achieve it. Such leadership is exemplified by Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk in the South African democratic transition. To illuminate the strategic dilemmas Mandela and de Klerk faced, we examine the work of Robert Axelrod, Thomas Schelling, and Josep Colomer, who highlight important dimensions of the problem but underplay the role of risk-embracing leadership. Finally we discuss leadership successes and failures in the Northern Ireland settlement and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Keywords political leadership; conflict management; political conflict; Palestinian-Israeli conflict; Great Britain; Republic of South Africa; political strategy; willingness to cooperate; conflict resolution; political negotiation; game theory
Classification Peace and Conflict Research, International Conflicts, Security Policy
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
City Wien
Page/Pages 44 p.
Series Reihe Politikwissenschaft / Institut für Höhere Studien, Abt. Politikwissenschaft, 135
ISSN 1605-8003
Status Published Version
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications