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Soft Power, Bias and Manipulation of International Organizations in International Mediation

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image of International Negotiation

The present study challenges three common assumptions of the international mediation literature. First, it challenges the perception that pure or weak mediators are unable to use manipulative and coercive strategies in the mediation process, but can only resort to facilitating the dialogue and at most formulating a proposal on behalf of the disputants. Secondly, it challenges the perception that only resource-based power can be used to manipulate the process and coerce (and direct) the parties toward mutually acceptable solutions. This misconception is based on the assumption that the expansion of the zone of possible agreement, which is mainly attributed to manipulative strategies, can be achieved only by the employment of carrots and sticks which are often inaccessible to pure or weak mediators. Lastly, it shows how this type of leverage can also indicate a particular bias that an apparent pure mediator might have: bias of outcome.

Affiliations: 1: Conflict Management Program, School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University 1740 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, d.c.20036 USA


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