Monday, June 11

Applying Moscow's Rules to Mediator Moles

During the Cold War, CIA operatives considered Moscow to be the most difficult assignment - a mistake there could get you killed (who knows - after the week that was, they may revert to the same view).

Anyway, back then, to handle the threat, the CIA's most seasoned Russian hands developed informal rules of engagement called the 'Moscow Rules'.

During a recent trip to Washington DC, Bob Creo visited the International Spy Museum and came across these same rules, now declassified.

In his 13th installment of his Master Mediator web column over at CPR he makes out the case that the rules apply equally to mediators as to Moscow spies.

So, whether you are mediating in Havana or Pyongyang...

1. Assume nothing.
2. Murphy is right.
3. Never go against your gut; it is your operational antenna.
4. Don't look back - you are never completely alone.
5. Any operation can be aborted. If it feels wrong, it is wrong.
6. Maintain a natural pace.
7. Lull them into a sense of complacency.
8. Build in opportunity, but use it sparingly.
9. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
10. Don't harass the opposition.
11. There is no limit to a human being's ability to rationalize the truth.
12. Technology will always let you down.
13. Once is an accident. Twice is coincidence. Three times is an enemy action.

Bob Creo's new book Alternative Dispute Resolution described as a "comprehensive treatise" (Bob's not kidding - its got 1,200 pages of text and 400 pages of appendices!) is available here and seems a particularly relevant commentary for the Pennsylvania ADR practitioner.

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