Track I Communication in Track II

Chester Crocker

Georgetown University

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

I think there's a notion out there in the literature that somehow Track I people and Track II people operate in fundamentally different ways, with very different techniques. I think that that's a distortion, that in fact what happens is that you operate in fundamentally different ways at different stages in the life cycle of a conflict, or at different stages in the progress of a peace process. For example, when you haven't yet got the parties to even agree on a common agenda or agree to meet, you're dealing with what I still call the pre-negotiations phase. You are often using pretty basic tools of statecraft: carrots and sticks, if you like, and manipulations and efforts to come up with ideas about future formulas that might attract parties.

In other words, you're engaged in ripening.

Once you're pretty well along and you have parties with delegations going to the same city, even if not the same conference site, and you're engaged in proximity procedures or even direct talks, or direct plenaries followed by side talks or whatever model you use, once you get to that point, you're using very much some of the techniques that people in the Track II side of the literature would think of as theirs. You know, you're getting people to actually listen to each other and not so much to feel each other's pain-I'll leave that lingo to somebody else-but to hear each other and to engage in assessing the seriousness of the other side to see if in fact there's a deal to be done. These kind of techniques that involve a lot of listening training sound almost like Track II at times, but Track I people, if they're any damn good, better be able to that. That's my point. These things converge.