Before some days the news that made headlines was Chinese envoy’s comment that Arunachal Pradesh was a Chinese territory. This sent people berserk. Lots of politicians came out lashing against this comment. However most of the diplomats on Indian side were silent.
A couple of days later, Hu Jintao came in and shook hands and urged working together on problems. He did not talk about Arunachal Pradesh at all. Given that his envoy was so raved up about Arunachal Pradesh just before Hu’s visit, Mr Hu’s silence was surprising.
Well, it would not be surprising if you were aware of a little diplomatic game called good cop – bad cop. The idea is simple, when negotiating with a person whose position you know, you put together two member team. One of them puts on evil face and seems to completely disagree with you. The other puts on benevolent and smiling face and seems to agree with your position. Bad guys shows up first. Apalled by the rude guy, naturally you will gravitate towards the good person. When the good person starts putting forward his/her demands, you find it diffifult to fight off the “good guy” impression you already created in your mind. Rather you take easy approach. You tend to change your position. You make efforts not to alienate even this person. You cannot stand the thought of losing both of them and doubling the number of your enemies. You make some sacrifices to keep good person on good terms.
And good person and bad person walk off together smiling as a winning team.
This is how a team of cops gets confession from criminals. This is why subconsciously one of the parents gravitates toward being hard discipliner and the other one the gentle healer. This is why one of the teachers in school earns fame as Hitler.
Almost always in this game, the good cop is higher ranking cop than the bad one. This is to give you an additional small hope that may be by winning the boss, you can completely secure your position and might even be able to take revenge of the bad guy for all he did.
Realizing this, it is actually heartening to see that China has started playing games with us. This clearly means that they are highly interested in negotiations with India. Also, the position held by the bad guy is never the real position of the team. So if the envoy says Arunachal Pradesh is territory of China, then it is exactly what China does not think. It is an extreme end of range of positions they will settle for.
So my fellow Indians, take it cool. Don’t be so easy to manipulate. Arunachal Pradesh is going nowhere and China wants to double the trade with us. Indian diplomats are wise enough to see through this. Trust them.
The choice of this game, in fact, tells us about Chinese stand. They think they know our position and interests. They think they have figured us out. Because, unlike group discussion, first move is almost always a no-no for a negotiators unless you are sure that it will give you decisive advantage. We must try to read them calmly, instead of throwing tantrum fits.
Time to carefully study and master this game, not to be scared and run around.