What do Putin, Netanjahu and Weselsky have in common?

They set preconditions for a negotiation.

Putin wants the demilitarisation of Ukraine, Netanyahu wants the list of hostages that are alive and Weselsky wants acceptance of the 35-hour working week, otherwise there will be no negotiations.

Anyone who sets a precondition does not want an agreement. It is a signal of perceived power. The consequences of a non-agreement are not only accepted, they are deliberately brought about.

However, the level of power is perceived and not given. Power depends on many factors and the power structure is constantly changing.

Yesterday, Netanyahu refused to take part in a peace negotiation and opposed the ceasefire in Gaza.He feels powerful and does not accept the initiatives of many countries, including the U.S.

Weselsky is about to start a 35-hour strike, which is to be followed by “wave strikes” without any announcements. The German railway company Deutsche Bahn had asked former Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière and Schleswig-Holstein Prime Minister Daniel Günther to mediate in these negotiations.

The mediators had proposed to reduce working hours in two stages from the current 38 to 36 hours, with full wage compensation. Deutsche Bahn had agreed to the proposal, but Weselsky’s GDL had not. Weselsky feels powerful and does not accept these initiatives.

My comments, as always, are focusing on negotiations, not politics. In the cases I mention above, it is no longer about the negotiation, but about the power struggle. It’s time to accept that.

This power struggle can no longer be resolved by negotiation, but only by pressure from outside. The mediators in the rail dispute have come to the public with a clarification of the negotiations, and the Federal Minister of Transport must now take a stand (I know he has no legal influence on the collective bargaining).

Power is a subjective assessment of one’s negotiating position. Many decision-makers have already overestimated themselves. 

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