Bipartisan solutions start with engagement in productive conversations, aiming to understand each other’s priorities and a willingness to find common ground. With this in mind, Partnership for a Secure America is excited to kick off its third round of the PSA-Harvard Negotiation Program, integrating new methods, case studies, and simulations into the curriculum designed specifically for Capitol Hill audiences.
This joint program with Harvard trains congressional staff in legislative negotiation skills and strategies during two 1.5 day courses. Unlike previous training programs, this iteration is handcrafted specifically for Congressional staff to directly connect negotiation lessons to their unique workplace. Taking place this summer, the first course will use new materials designed by the Harvard Kennedy School to teach the participants legislative negotiation techniques and how such lessons can be applied to their work in the legislative arena every day. Upon the completion of the fundamentals course, the staffers will participate in an advanced lesson this winter.
The participants in the program include individuals from both sides of the aisle in both the House and the Senate.
As a joint program with the Harvard Kennedy School, the Negotiation Program is made possible in part to the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Madison Initiative, a nonpartisan initiative supports organizations that foster bipartisan problem-solving, strive to strengthen Congress as an institution, improve campaign finance, and set the stage for negotiation and compromise in Congress.
Fundamental Negotiations Course: August 7-8, 2018
On August 7th and 8th, the PSA-Harvard Negotiation Program met for the first course in fundamentals in the Library of Congress. Training was led by Brian Mandell, Director of the Harvard Kennedy School Negotiation Project, and Bruce Patton, Distinguished Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project.
Bruce Patton- Distinguished Fellow of the Kennedy School Negotiation Project
The first session covered the application of negotiation techniques to the high-stakes legislative environment. Participants explored how to strategically prepare for negotiations and leverage alternative methods of communication. Instructors also evaluated examples of significant historical negotiations at the state, federal, and international level.
Brian Mandell- Director of Harvard Kennedy School Negotiation Project
Throughout the program, participants applied course content to legislative simulations. Staffers divided into bipartisan groups to practice negotiation techniques in a series of guided simulations, each varying in complexity of issues addressed and in the number of parties represented.
Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board member and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discussed the role of the United States in the world today with Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) at the Capitol Hill National Security Forum. Albright discussed bipartisanship, the role of the United States in the world, China, and Russia and NATO.
Albright on Bipartisanship
Madeleine Albright began by emphasizing the importance of bipartisanship in resolving national security threats. She explained that bipartisanship is essential for success, calling it the “hallmark of American foreign policy.” On this point, she acknowledged the important role of congressional staffers in advancing bipartisan solutions. Most of all, Albright recommended staffers form relationships and travel on delegation trips with other staffers in order to advance bipartisan solutions. She pointed towards her own friendship with Senator Jesse Helms, which allowed her to produce agreements on foreign policy. Albright finished her remarks by stating that bipartisan solutions would “make the Senate great again.”
America’s Role in the World
Albright promoted the need for a rule-based world order as it prevents the world from devolving into chaos. She explained the consistent involvement of the United States in creating these rules, but she warned that not following through with our self-created rules can weaken our position and image in the international community. When questioned on the topic of advancing human rights in the world, Albright responded, “Why should we worry about people in far away places?…Because our way of life depends on what happens in these other countries,” expressing the necessity of human rights in global peace and security.
Secretary Albright emphasized the dangers of not following internationally-accepted rules by pointing towards China, whose actions in the South China Sea are eroding the rule-based world order. China’s island-building, which was deemed illegal, has created more instability in the region. She highlighted that the instability caused by China’s actions supports the need for a rule-based order throughout the world.
Russia and NATO
On the topic of Russia, Albright reaffirmed the importance of NATO as leverage against Russia. With the rising threat that Russia poses to liberal alliances and institutions, Albright underscored that NATO is necessary for defending against armed attacks, but also for advancing the common goals of liberal democracies. She pointed towards Ukraine and Georgia, which have gained confidence in promoting the goals and values of liberal democracies simply by being affiliated with NATO, despite lacking membership.
Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board member Paula Dobriansky, former Under Secretary of State, spoke at the Capitol Hill National Security Forum on June 23rd alongside Kristen Silberberg, Charles Kupchan, and Julianne Smith. They came together to discuss ‘Restoring Transatlantic Alliances.’ The group examined the liberal world order, the EU, and the recent decision of President Trump to pull out of the Paris Agreement. The panelists often came to agreement, but also expressed many differences in opinions, especially on the Paris Agreement.
Liberal World Order
From the start, the panelists were in consensus that it was not the end of the “post-World War Two world order.” However, they also agreed that this order was indeed being challenged. Dobriansky, specifically, spoke on Russia’s recent aggression, explaining how Putin is challenging liberal values, alliances, institutions, and ideals. On this point, Kupchan argued that external threats have always been present and that the greater threat are new internal weaknesses. The panelists agreed that the system was under a great amount of strain and that the United States should promote dialogue between other states in order to work together on fixing the mounting issues.
The European Union
The panelists all expressed concern over the future of American influence within the European Union, especially due to the instability it is currently facing as a result of Brexit, mass immigration, and terrorism. Brexit was the greatest concern among the panelists, as the United Kingdom had consistently been the biggest champion of American interests. Smith suggested that, following Brexit, the United States should establish trade agreements between the European Union and the United Kingdom. On this point, Silverman expressed the need for trilateral talks until Brexit is officially carried out. Dobriansky acknowledged that the European Union needs reform, pointing to the inflexibility of its regulations as a point of contention between member states.
Dobriansky Disagrees on Paris Climate Agreement
Regarding the Paris Climate Agreement. the panelists were split over the implications of the U.S. withdrawal. Smith expressed concern that the withdrawal of the U.S. from such a popular agreement could cast doubt on our relationship with the European Union. On this point, Kupchan voice his concern over the effect our withdrawal will have on Europe’s willingness to advance the American agenda in the future, since climate change is an area of great concern for the European Union. Dobriansky, however, pointed to the Kyoto Protocol of 1992, which the United States did not accept, explaining that our relationship with Europe was not harmed, especially in matters of security. Despite some disagreement, the panelists agreed that the implications of our withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement remain to be seen.
Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board members William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense, and Richard Lugar, former Senator (R-IN), recently spoke at the Hoover Institution on the future of North Korea, suggesting proposals on how to approach the North Korean threat. The PSA Advisory Board members joined Michael Auslin, Resident Scholar and Director of Japan Studies at AEI, on the bipartisan panel. The panelists agreed that Kim Jong Un is a rational and successful leader who will not attack unprovoked. They also suggested that this rationality will allow the United States to take a diplomatic approach to North Korea. Diplomacy requires cooperation between South Korea, Japan, Russia, and, most importantly, China, which will be the greatest challenge in this approach.
The Kim Regime
First, the panelists discussed the Kim regime, agreeing on Kim’s rationality and success as a leader. Perry, specifically, warned against calling Kim Jong Un ‘crazy’ and ‘irrational.’ Michael Auslin supported this claim, noting Kim’s successes in stabilizing the economy, developing new technology and weaponry, and securing the future of the regime more so than in the past. The panelists agreed that Kim’s main objective is to secure his regime’s power, which indicates that Kim is rational and understands that an unprovoked attack would be suicidal for both his regime and North Korea.
Diplomacy with North Korea
Coming to a consensus on the rationality of the Kim regime, the panelists noted that the current conditions are ideal for a diplomatic strategy. Perry noted that military action can no longer eliminate the nuclear program due to mobile missiles and secrecy within the country. He suggested that the President should appoint a special envoy to meet with North Korea, but proposed that the ideal diplomatic package must include China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia. Lugar suggested that the first steps in reaching diplomatic negotiations should be weakening the regime through economic means and helping North Korean citizens become better informed, noting that a better informed public would open up opportunities to work together in ways different from diplomatic negotiations. When questioned about Dennis Rodman’s role in diplomacy, Lugar joked that Rodman’s unlikely friendship could be considered this era’s ‘ping-pong diplomacy.’
Challenges of Diplomacy
The panelists agreed that one of the greatest challenges with diplomacy would be finding common ground with the various countries in the region, specifically China. Lugar compared the challenging nature of future negotiations with the Kim regime to negotiations in the past between the United States and the Soviet Union. Auslin highlighted that the United States must work harder to understand the different goals, perspectives, and capabilities of the different countries, but suggested that they can likely find common ground on nuclear nonproliferation. Perry, however, warned that the influence of the United States may be weakening as a result of our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership as it will allow China to take on a more dominant role within the region.