Position of definitions of diplomacy as reflected in different approaches
Classical diplomacy is undergoing major transformation to keep in pace with globalization and fast changing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to function in a qualitative manner, and the United Nations and other international bodies are contributing to the configuration of diplomacy to the new requirements. Diplomacy is an important component of the modern international relations as it is the method or skill by which relations between nations are managed, and it is a fundamental and vital human activity taking place between people, as well as nations. The main functions of diplomacy in the complex, turbulent, and fast changing global perspective are negotiation, information, representation, and cooperation. For students aspiring to pursue Foreign Service it is crucial to understand the principles of contemporary diplomacy and to analyze whether the developments in the twentieth century adversely impact on this system or not.
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Recorded history of diplomacy dates back to ancient Greece and modern diplomacy has often been equated with the era following the “Westphalian” peace negotiations. The Term “Westphalian System” describes “the post 1648 system of international relations in which states—secular, sovereign, independent, and equal—are the members, and stability is preserved by the balance of power, diplomacy, and international law.” (Berridge and James 250). According to (Berridge) diplomacy is “the term given to the official channels of communication employed by members of a system of states” and “the chief purpose of diplomacy is to enable states to secure the objectives of their foreign policies without resort to force, propaganda or law.” The Slave Trade Department in Britain, created in the early 19th century to fight against human trade, is the first issue-oriented department to promote public diplomacy. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations in 1961 has to be viewed as the combination of “codification” and the “progressive development” of international law, analogous with Statute of the International Law Commission. (Arts.1.1 and 15) (Berrridge 115).
The pillars of diplomacy are continuous communication, accurate information gathering and dissemination, dialogue, compromise, and negotiation. In Classical diplomacy nation-states are major actors in international relations, where the Foreign Affairs Ministries (MFA) exclusively managed foreign affairs. It may be observed that the resident embassy is apparently the transparent and best form of bilateral diplomacy and by rotating diplomats between posts and sections of MFA at home dealing with the same countries will cultivate expertise in diplomats and will be valuable in handling volatile diplomatic relations. American Department of State defines Public Diplomacy as “government –sponsored program intended to inform or influence public opinion in other countries; its chief instruments are publications, motion pictures, cultural exchange, radio and television” (Dictionary of International Relations Terms 85). Public Diplomacy refers to the many and varied activities conducted by governments to engage and communicate with foreign public, to facilitate closer political ties, promote inward investment, and encourage tourism. In multilateral diplomacy pre-negotiations are always informal and out of public scrutiny, because of the large number of members involved and the complexity of procedures required for formulating its recommendations.
The globalization and fast development of Information and Communication Technology in international communication has much impact on attitude and behavior of nations, as well as their economic and political implications, which prompts all nations to consider public diplomacy seriously. According to (Noya) “Public Diplomacy above all thrives in highly interdependent region and between countries that are linked by multiple transnational relationships and therefore, a substantial degree of interconnectedness between their civil societies.” With the emergence of new diplomatic functions like economic diplomacy, commercial diplomacy, corporate diplomacy, Transnational NGOs, business diplomacy, and National NGOs the role of various state and non-state actors are changing at international level. Economic diplomacy is concerned with economic policy issues and economic resources are used for the pursuit of a particular foreign policy objective. On the other hand, commercial diplomacy support home country’s business and finance sector and promotes inward and outward investment as well as trade.
Faced with increasing complexities of international economic policy making, diplomats need to mediate and exchange with their counterparts across national borders, regions, and even continents. It establishes that the developments in the twentieth century augment the tenets of classic diplomacy, and international bodies are contributing to the configuration of diplomacy to the new requirements.
Berridge, G. R, and James, Alan. A Dictionary of Diplomacy. Palgrave: New York. 2001. p.250.
Berridge, G. R. Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, Third Edition. Palgrave. 2005. Web.
Noya, Javier. The present and future of public Diplomacy: A European perspective, the 2006 Madrid conference on public diplomacy (WP). Real Instituto Elcano. 2006. P.10. Web.
Dictionary of International Relations Terms. US Department of States, 1987. p.85.