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NEGOTIATION The System of International Negotiations as a Means of Managing Interdependence VIKTOR A. KREMENYUK International negotiations are growing in number and diversity. Not only are the traditional issues, such as national security, borders, trade, and communications being negotiated, but various subjects from the spheres of scientific and cultural exchange, humanitarian problems, environment, outer space, and oceans as well. This growth in international negotiations is an indicator of a much more significant underlying process the process of formation of a cer- tain system of international negotiations. It is not the mere number of international negotiations that makes one conclude that there is a system, although the rapidly, even dramatically, growing number of these nego- tiations has already drawn the attention of many analysts. It is, instead, the growing interaction among international negotiations. This interaction reflects such crucial processes as the growing interdependence of nations and of disputable issues among them, the increasing impotence of tradi- tional ways of resolving conflicts (such as military), and the increasing need to recognize negotiation as the only possible institutionalized and codified way of resolving international disputes. This means that any international negotiation can be regarded not only within the framework of the foreign policy of the nations involved, but also within the framework of the system of negotiation itself. The system of international relations is in a transitional stage. Struc- turally, it is shifting from the bipolar world of the 1950s to a much more diversified world. On the functional side, this shift is accompanied by the changing nature of traditional means of interaction among states: the value of military power has diminished, and the value of economic power has also changed. The rising importance of humanitarian issues brings a new dimension to traditional power alignments and interactions. Another 57
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58 SOVIET-AMERICAN DIALOGUE IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES important changer in international relations is the growing interdependence of nations, particularly in matters of security. The process of growing interdependence develops not only extensively (including new spheres in which nations become dependent on each other) but also intensively: that is, the spheres in which countries find themselves dependent on each other also become interdependent (for example, the interdependence of security and economy, the arms race and development, the economy and environments. A number of controversial issues have appeared at the intersections of spheres of interdependence. Sometimes these issues have a very tra- ditional character: controversies and conflicts in security, trade, finance, environment, and so on. But if one looks at them from the perspective of the environment in which they exist, it becomes clear that they form an interconnected and mutually dependent network of conflicts. Such conflicts have the ability to escalate, thus producing multi-layered conflicts in which ideological, religious-ethnic, or other issues are interconnected. The grow- ing complexity of international relations produces correspondingly complex controversies and conflicts,~and these should be adequately treated. In this context, international negotiation is regarded as the main means of conflict resolution, which, together with the unilateral actions of nations, can contribute to keeping international relations stable and predictable. What are the main features that appear in international negotiations as a result of these changes in the system of international relations? First, the emerging system of international negotiations tends to reflect both in its structure and in its essence the existing system of conflicts and disputes. Hence, it has become more universal, incorporating formal negotiations and consultations, and the informal talks and meetings of government officials, experts, public figures, and other persons engaged in exchanging views and ideas about ways of resolving problems. The mere existence of this huge international structure should be regarded as a kind of- environment within which some specific rules of conduct exist: nonviolence, adherence to joint problem solving, cooperation, and so on. Second, this system tends to become more autonomous. A negotiation may be created only by the sovereign will of the parties involved, but once in existence, it becomes somewhat estranged from that will; it becomes a part of the system and is plugged into the system through the information flows, interplay of interests, influence of the observing parties, and so on. Third, once it is part of a system, a negotiation has to respond to the needs and elements of that system. The main demand is that it contribute to the stability and optimization of the system. Entropy of the system can be prevented not through stagnation of an individual part, but through efficient operation, which means the successful and timely resolution of a conflict.
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NEGOTIAT ON 59 Fourth, the above places an additional burden on the process of inter- national negotiation. Thus far, its main function was to serve the interest of the parties engaged. With the emergence of a system of negotiation, however, parties to any international negotiation.have to take into consid- eration not only their interests at that particular negotiation, but also the whole array of their interests and positions at other negotiations, even the state of affairs at other negotiations. The decision making process becomes magnified and complicated. Thus, international negotiations are changing from a government-to- government activity to an autonomous international function that can be used as a means of managing an interdependent world. Recognizing the fact of international interdependence under conditions in which only peaceful means of managing international conflict are relevant puts the matter of negotiations much higher on the agenda of international relations. Recognizing that there is a system of negotiations puts into proper perspective the approach to resolving the complex disputes and conflicts of an interdependent world. Looking a bit farther, one can see that the only way to- put the principle.of.negotiations as a means of management into practice is to.institutionalize this system further in the form of international agencies, regimes, standing committees, and regular meetings which can turn the age-old practice of negotiation into a standard, universal tool for managing international relations - .
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