The most misleading feature of current work on crisis and negotiations is the presentation of the phenomena as single, shortlived events rather than as moments in a longer evolving context. Crises can only be understood and handled well as part of a general process of ripening and unripening to the point where they burst or fall, with the components of power and interest taking on a new form in the next phase. This is not the same as saying that one must understand the historical background of a conflict in order to be able to resolve it, although it does recognize that the shape of a crisis is determined by its history. Nor does it mean to imply that conflict has a course of its own that is impervious to damming, although it does emphasize that the effectiveness of the dam is determined as much by the currents and banks as by the skills of the engineer and his choice of materials. It does assert that crises are the product of a course of events and not an isolated event of their own, and that crisis management involves a particular manipulation of the power and interests of the parties to the conflict in the course of their evolution.