Perhaps not, but Americans, whose earliest heroes exemplified frontier perseverance, especially, may be resistant to compromise and tend to embrace it only after an especially excruciating experience, Benjamin said.
"The question you have to ask yourself is would John Wayne negotiate?" Benjamin said. "The John Wayne way of thinking is that 'I will prove to you I'm right or die trying.'"
Benjamin said that approach has been successful in some cases but may be "our greatest weakness" as issues become more complex.
An innate aversion to compromise further complicates matters, Benjamin said. People inherently mistrust lawyers and politicians, in part, because they are people whose jobs depend on making a deal.
"Compromise is being weak and in some cases being seen as a sell out as you see in the statements of the tea party and the (extreme) left," Benjamin said of criticism faced by lawmakers who try to make deals.
"American culture is founded on the notions of individual initiative and determination and stubbornness. We admire the entrepreneur who is determined, but that same person is also stubborn."
But things can't continue on this path.
"Basic negotiations theory teaches what you want to reach is a win-win," Gergen said.
In the recent series of high-stakes negotiations in Washington "there was no win, win in either case," he said.
"Everybody ought to take a time out and spend a week with the best negotiators and start again," Gergen said.