Should You Just Let Him Smoke That Cigarette?

The negotiation ended before it began:
Landing in Tokyo, he asked how a previous session, conducted by his boss, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, had gone. Not well, Mr. Richardson learned. Dr. Albright’s Japanese counterpart requested permission to smoke, she lectured him on the dangers of tobacco, and things never improved from there.

This is just one fascinating anecdote from Bill Richardson in a fantastic piece written by Jodi Kantor for the NY Times in 2007.  It is well worth reading, specifically looking at things from your conflict resolution specialists lens.  Another gem from the article includes:

Instead, Mr. Richardson practices diplomacy as contact sport, whizzing from country to country, conflict to conflict, and charming, insulting, even touching his way through negotiations. (After he persuaded Saddam Hussein in 1995 to release two American aerospace workers who had wandered into Iraq, Mr. Richardson reached over to clap the dictator on the arm, causing Mr. Hussein’s men to reach for their guns.)

Enjoy the rest of the article [HERE].

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