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Constructive Engagement

by Joe Markowitz
September 2013

Mediation's Place by Joe Markowitz

Joe Markowitz

The recently-elected President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, is starting to sound like a mediator. Recently Rouhani published an interesting op-ed piece in the Washington Post.

The world has changed. International politics is no longer a zero-sum game but a multi-dimensional arena where cooperation and competition often occur simultaneously. Gone is the age of blood feuds. World leaders are expected to lead in turning threats into opportunities. . . .

In a world where global politics is no longer a zero-sum game, it is — or should be — counterintuitive to pursue one’s interests without considering the interests of others. A constructive approach to diplomacy doesn’t mean relinquishing one’s rights. It means engaging with one’s counterparts, on the basis of equal footing and mutual respect, to address shared concerns and achieve shared objectives. In other words, win-win outcomes are not just favorable but also achievable.

Perhaps the diplomatic breakthrough achieved this past week on removing chemical weapons from Syria is only the prelude to an even bigger breakthrough: moving toward improved relations with Iran. If so, this olive branch from Iran should be given at least as much attention as the posturing op-ed piece from Russia's President Putin in last week's New York Times. (see my prior post) We know that President Obama, while tightening sanctions on Iran and making clear that Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable, has also been interested in opening a dialogue with Iran at least since he expressed a willingness to do so in the 2008 campaign. Finally he may have a receptive negotiating partner.

Crisis and opportunity, indeed.

Biography


Joseph C. Markowitz has over 30 years of experience as a business trial lawyer.  He has represented clients ranging from individuals and small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations.  He started practicing with a boutique litigation firm in New York City, then was a partner in a large international firm both in New York then in Los Angeles, then returned to practicing with a small firm and on his own.  In addition to general commercial litigation, Mr. Markowitz has expertise in  intellectual property, employment law, entertainment law, real estate, and bankruptcy litigation.  Mr. Markowitz has managed his own firm since 1994. Mr. Markowitz was trained as a mediator more than 15 years ago, and has conducted a substantial number of mediations as a member of the Mediation Panels in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the District Court and Bankruptcy Court in  the Central District of California, as well as private mediations.  He has served since 2010 as a board member of the Southern California Mediation Association.   



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Website: www.mediate-la.com/

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