Research

Our research agenda focuses on impact-oriented negotiation research on current security issues in the Euro-Atlantic sphere and Eurasia.

We are interested in questions such as: How can individuals, communities, and states cooperate after repeated breaches of trust? What are effective bargaining strategies that can de-escalate tensions between great powers? What role do specific negotiation moves and tactics play in defusing complex security crises?

Publications

Working Paper: “Wargaming, Signaling, and Communication: Insights for US-China-Russia Relations?” (A. Bell / A. Bollfrass)

This paper discusses the research, design, and execution of “Red Horizon,” a 66-person Strategic War Game held in the Fall of 2018 at Harvard University. The 1-day scenario relied on the “Systemic Multiconstituency Exercise” (SMCE) design methodology and blends traditional wargaming and advanced negotiation simulation methods. While traditional wargames simulate realistic operational constraints that shape the military domain, diplomacy and politics are largely “outside the game.” On the other hand, traditional negotiation simulations include multi-domain and -stakeholder complexity, yet they ignore the drivers and consequences of military decisions. Strategic War Games include simultaneous military and diplomatic decision-making. The “Red Horizon” Strategic War Game scenario includes the US, China, Russia, and NATO who face a conflict escalation on the Korean peninsula. This paper discusses whether insights gained through the scenario design and wargame observation have implication for US-China-Russia relations. Special attention will be given to the role of signaling and communication in dynamic and complex information environments with limited in-person contacts, the hazards of great power competition and barriers to international cooperation, and the role that hierarchies, organizational cultures, and political systems play in dealing with global security challenges such as state collapse, nuclear confrontation, and WMD terrorism.

Task Force Research Report: “Perspectives in Post-Soviet Conflict”

The Negotiation Task Force’s 2017 Research Report is available in Fung Library. It contains a collection of interviews with scholars and practitioners from the U.S., Russia, and other European countries. The report is a valuable source of data and provides insight into Russia’s complex security environment. It is especially relevant for scholars and students of Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian issues who are interested in U.S.-Russia relations, strategic stability, and the war in Ukraine.

Bell, Arvid, Ed. Perspectives in Post-Soviet Conflict: The 2017 Davis Center Negotiation Task Force Research Report. Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, December 2017. Permalink: http://id.lib.harvard.edu/alma/990153523970203941/catalog 

The MENA Negotiation Report: “Negotiating Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa: A System Analysis after the Arab Spring, the Iran Nuclear Deal, and the Rise of ISIS”

A focus of the Task Force’s research is the interplay between conflict systems and multi-party negotiations. One example of a “system analysis” is the MENA Negotiation Report that identifies and analyzes the conflicts, parties, issues, and relationships that shape the current political situation in the Middle East and North Africa.

Babbitt, Eileen, Arvid Bell, Alain Lempereur, Brian Mandell, and Dana Wolf. Negotiating Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa: A System Analysis after the Arab Spring, the Iran Nuclear Deal, and the Rise of ISIS. Harvard Kennedy School Negotiation Project, Cambridge, MA, May 2017. Link: http://www.middle-east-negotiation-report.com