Wednesday, June 24, 2009

TR as Mediator

Mention Theodore Roosevelt and most people conjure visions of action and energy, often with a strong militaristic streak. The charge up San Juan Hill, "Perdicaris alive, or Raisuli dead" and (perhaps most famously) "speak softly and carry a big stick" are some that come to mind. For some of us who are more familiar with a facilitative approach to dispute resolution, this hardly seems the stuff of which mediators are made.

Yet, despite his tough, no-nonsense image, TR was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for mediating the Russo-Japanese War the previous year. For an excellent discussion of this accomplishment, see James E. Fender, Roosevelt, the Mikado and the Czar: Theodore Roosevelt’s Mediation of the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth, N.H.B.J., Vol. 46, No. 2, Summer 2005, p. 68.

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