Winning Together: The Natural Resource Negotiation Playbook

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Winning Together: The Natural Resource Negotiation Playbook
By Bruno Verdini Trejo
MIT Press, 2017
336 pp.
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For decades, a history of mutual suspicion and recrimination between Mexico and the United States stymied cooperation on three resources that cross national land and sea boundaries: the water of the Colorado River and the oil and gas buried beneath the Gulf of Mexico. In 2012, after several years of negotiations, the two countries finally reached breakthrough agreements on both issues, which Verdini treats as case studies in successful international dealmaking on environmental issues and national resources. His book generalizes from the agreements to draw broader lessons about how to switch international bargaining from a zero-sum framework to one of cooperation for mutual gain. In both these cases, that shift was made possible partly by crises (a Mexican earthquake, a drought in the western United States and Mexico, and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf), but even more by poor national management of common resources, which showed both countries that they could benefit from working together. Verdini fills the book with applied wisdom about international negotiation, but it is unclear to what extent the lessons of bilateral negotiations can be extrapolated to multilateral ones.

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