How do you negotiate with ISIS or other terrorist groups? As a professional negotiator I am frequently asked questions like this.
During my recent visit to India, Raj, a young pandit and a new father, invited me to his home to see his new child. As I entered their room I sensed a strong smell. Unlike many other places that you go in India where the smell of incense is common, this one had a chemical ring to it. The little boy was agitated and crying in his mother’s arms as she nervously comforted him and tried to quiet him down.
Half way through my visit, Raj got up and grabbed a can and as he said “excuse me,” he sprayed the room generously. The strong chemical smell that I had sensed earlier was now in full force. He mentioned the problem they had this year with mosquitos. The young mother was pointing to the the mosquito bites on the face of her precious baby. Raj explained how they started with a simple method of fighting mosquitos, and each time they have tried a stronger weapon for extermination. This new can of repellant was the latest and strongest on the market.
When I got up to leave, I looked out the window and noticed an abandoned pond turned to a polluted swamp. It was obvious that this was the breeding ground for all the mosquitos they were fighting. My bewildered look got Raj’s attention as he walked to me and gazed to the same direction as the pond. Raj was very intelligent and that scene jolted him. It was a “Eureka!” moment for him. I’ve been so busy with my personal life that I missed the big picture: instead of ceasing their breeding (the mosquitos’) I was only focused on defending my family.
Raj wanted to protect his family, but instead he was poisoning them, including his precious little boy, with strong poisonous repellent rather than getting rid of the mosquitos’ breeding place.
In Enlightened Negotiation, these principles are covered under the Laws of Intention and Strength. ISIS and other terrorist threats are serious. Similar to the mosquitos, the breeding ground of terrorism is expanding, and in an attempt to defend ourselves, we are poisoning ourselves with failed strategies. We need to change our game.
For me to write this and for you to read freely is a privilege that a free society offers at the cost of those who have lost their lives for our liberty. We owe it to them and to the next generation to protect our freedom that has been under attack by ISIS and other terrorist groups.
This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. It is an American issue. It is a national problem not a partisan problem. Retired Lieutenant Colonel D. Scott Mann, in his book Game Changers, spells out a very detailed, clear and practical agenda in dealing with ISIS and similar groups.
It is our duty as citizens to demand from our leaders to have a clear vision as to how they fight and protect us. Please join me to support D. Scott Mann and Mission America to protect our values. That is the right negotiation! Please visit and take action: www.ContractToProtectAmerica.org.