Risky Business/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on May 5, 2018


Jay Winik, author and historian, wrote on the topic of “Summitry Can Be Risky Business, for the WSJ. (May 4,2018). High-profile summit meetings, we are told, can have unforeseeable consequences. In 1986, President Reagan met with Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland. Mr. Gorbachev insisted on an agreement that the US agree to limit its missile-defense technology. President Reagan walked away from this meeting and no agreement on this point was reached. However, the two men continued to enjoy a warm relationship, and the stage was set for future arms agreements between the two countries.

Even with the best of intentions, two parties mat sit down to discuss a potential agreement and may fall short. However, that is not a reason for the absence of a warmer and more civil relationship between the parties. Thee mere fact that “warring” parties can sit down at a table and discuss the “art of the possible” is a cause for optimism and continued dialogue. Civil discourse is a proven method for converting yesterday’s enemy into tomorrow’s ally. Mediate don’t litigate.