What You Don’t Do/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on April 12, 2017


Richard Haass is President of the Council on Foreign Relations. He often appears as a very insightful and well-informed “talking head” on the Morning Joe program. He was recently asked what the recent gassing on Syrian innocents can teach us about President Assad and past US policy. His statement can be paraphrased as follows: “We learn from the Obama “red line” affair that we can not only get harmed by what we do, we can also get harmed by what we do not do.”

In any dispute, the parties can cause each other harm by what they say and what they do. Can they cause harm by what they do not do? Certainly. The failure to be civil and engage in productive discussion can be very harmful. The failure to pursue Win-Win can likewise be harmful. The failure to attempt to engage in a mediation process can likewise be very harmful. In all disputes, we can be harmed by what we do. We can also be injured greatly by what we do not do. Choose your options wisely. Mediate don’t litigate.