Zartman’s Concept of Ripeness.

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The theory of ripeness in mediation is based on one basic principle: when both parties have reached an impasse in achieving their goals, they both become more willing to compromise and end the feud.


Within a contemporary context, the concept of ripeness has been cited constantly as international groups try to dissuade potentially violent groups from engaging in warfare or political provocation. The theory does ring true on a basic level however it still needs work before it can be considered a completely comprehensive school of thought (Zartman 1989).

Although William Zartman is the first to put this ripeness theory into print in his series of negotiation books, the basic notion has been mentioned by others before him. Notably, Henry Kissinger, the United States' Secretary of State from 1973 to 1976 pointed out that "stalemate is the most propitious condition for settlement" (Zartman 2000). Kissinger was the American official who oversaw the end of a warring era between Egypt and Israel during his time in office, and it was his role as a mediator that helped to bring about the signing of a peace treaty just a few years later (Deiwiks 2005). Perhaps more remarkably, Henry Kissinger was the 1973 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Vietnam War, a military engagement still considered an incredible failure by many Americans and international citizens. For his part in the resolution, Kissinger confronted many factors in the confrontation between North and South Vietnam. ...
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