Negotiating with a Sociopath

Negotiation is a superior method of resolving disputes. It’s sometimes said that when both parties are dissatisfied with a settlement, it’s probably a just one. Negotiations tend to be drawn out. Each party wants to compromise as little as possible, so concessions aren’t made readily. Often there’s a point when talks appear to have broken down; then at the last minute there’s a breakthrough. That’s the way it works at best, when both sides are negotiating in good faith. This can’t be expected when one of the parties is a sociopath.

Such a party is likely to just be pretending to negotiate, their main aim being to drag things out as long as possible. That’s why when you’re negotiating with someone like Putin, you have to try to construct a situation where time is not on his side. Then instead of each party making a series of little concessions, bit by bit over a long period of time, inching toward an agreement, a better strategy in my opinion is to make a relatively attractive offer from your opponent’s point of view, but put a strict time limit on it; Make them understand that it’s not a standing offer; that it’s strictly contingent on being accepted within a very short timeframe. In the Ukraine situation where a lot more death, destruction, and suffering happens every day, you must do every thing possible to achieve a quick settlement.