Foreign Policy and Diplomacy in International Affairs
- Discuss the evolution of diplomacy as a privileged profession with unique exemptions and immunities. It has been argued that modern communications make the contemporary job of a diplomat obsolete. Do you agree? Why or why not?
The inception of diplomacy was as a result of nations and their rulerships feeling the desire to pass information to each other reliably (Guy 391). As a profession, diplomacy gained recognition when the Treaty of Westphalia was enacted in 17th century (Guy 392). After the Second World War, diplomacy received a slightly different meaning particularly in the light of the Cold War and in the 1980s it metamorphosed as a result of improved communication channels to take a different form altogether.
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Diplomacy is a privileged profession especially because of the sovereign immunity begets it is allowed. This is what is commonly referred to as diplomatic immunity. Diplomatic immunity is a particular type of legal agreement between states to guarantee protection to diplomats. These legal provisions also state that diplomats are not subject to prosecution while residing in a foreign country. The laws of diplomacy were initially created in order to guide relations between nations particularly when either one or both countries are going through difficulties including events like armed conflict. The diplomat in a given country acts as a direct representative of the president or king of his country. The diplomatic (sometime sovereign) immunity clause was inserted to ensure that these diplomats are able to handle their duties with the utmost effectiveness and nations were made to understand that these provisions will be reciprocated for their diplomats elsewhere. The exemptions and immunities are only unique to diplomats.
Modern communication by and large makes the contemporary work of a diplomat obsolete. This is especially because of the emergence of technological inceptions that have made it easy for heads of state or other senior governments to hold discussions without having to step out of their countries or without the need of an intermediary. For instance it is in the pubic knowledge that newly-elect United States president Barrack Obama has made telephone calls to heads of countries such as the prime minister of Kenya just to ensure that the relationship between the two countries is well respected. The rapid popularity of teleconferencing is also contributing to the decline in importance of diplomats. Citing, the United States president again, we have seen him offer contributions to meetings happening in other nations from the oval office via satellite. These are sometimes messages that in the past would have been delivered by the U.S ambassador residing in the particular country in which the meeting/conference was being held. The media has also played a crucial in ensuring that the way heads of state communicate with each other changes. The evolvement of the freedom of speech laws have given the media unprecedented leeway to publish and broadcast what they feel like irrespective of how offensive it may be to other nations. This has seen the media actively take up the role of social commentary with key figures of state confessing that they were made aware of certain occurrences in their countries or in countries of shared interest through the media. It is therefore evident that the office of the diplomats is on its deathbed and its place is being taken by simple communication developments.
- Comment on what you believe is Canada’s most important foreign policy and why you think it is significant. Identify an interest group that you regard as exerting a powerful influence on Canadian foreign policy and why you think it is so influential.
Canada’s most important foreign policy is the North American Free Trade Agreement which has over time served to unite the country with Mexico and neighbouring superpower-the United States of America (Guy 412). This is because the treaty has ensured that Canada has a good market for the products it produces as well as a good source for the products it does not make. This is particularly because exports have been the main contributors to Canada’s gross domestic product going upto 50%, with most of these exports heading to the United States and Mexico. The signing of the agreement has ensured that irrespective of their size difference, the three nations maintain a cordial relationship without the bigger states lording over the smaller one. This trade agreement has also ensured that Canadians can easily get employment in the United States and that while residing there, they are treated as the country’s citizens would be. It is therefore easy to see why Canada’s embassy in the United States is arguably the country’s biggest foreign office in the world.
One interest group that exerts a powerful influence on the Canadian foreign policy is the ethnic group. Canada still has some individuals who chose to practice the traditional way of life mainly segregating themselves from other individuals on the basis of difference in ethnic origins. A good example is the Aboriginal, an ethnic group which if ignored will complain of state discrimination. The ethnic group is very influential in the Canadian foreign policy especially because according to migration flow patterns, tribes and other ethnic groupings can trace their origins to other countries. This therefore means that when asked for their opinion on how the foreign policy should be applied in this country of origin, they are most likely bound to ask for special consideration based on the ethnic attachment.
- 3. Discuss the four major contemporary influences on diplomacy. Will multilateral diplomacy eventually displace bilateral diplomacy? Evaluate the opportunities and pitfalls of summit diplomacy.
Contemporary influences on diplomacy include an increase in the number of states, the media, international negotiations and the United Nations. These have been briefly detailed below:
The coming together of many nations to form groups that unite them based on shared characteristics has also changed the course of development of diplomacy. This is mainly because once an organization such as the European Union is formed, individuals are selected to a board whose main function would be to oversee dispute settlement and conflict resolution. In such instances, when states need to converse, they request the parent body to convene a shared meeting chaired by the conflict resolution time and then grievances are aired. This is one of the main reasons why diplomats are losing job description as their role is being rapidly replaced by international organizations.
The media is one of the most important contemporary influences of diplomacy. This is because, with its growth, particularly in the way it acts as the only platform for the public to air their concerns in regards to relations with other nations. The media has played the important role of enlightening the public and gone are the days when heads of state would communicate with each other while keeping the public in the dark. Leaders have also come to regard the media as a very important diplomatic tool and it is not surprising to see government officials going to the papers to raise their concerns regarding a country’s relations with its neighbors.
International negotiations are also part of the primary contemporary influences on diplomacy. These generally come into play during times of crisis occasioned by disputes between nations. During such times, a negotiator is identified to moderate the discussions. This individual(s) should ideally be from a neutral state and it is his/her/their role to make the talks as productive as possible by laying down the facts and seeing to it that each side gives some level of concession to allow for the discussions to progress. Internal negotiations have in this way come to eliminate the use of members of the diplomatic corps such as ambassadors who traditionally served as message conveyors.
The United Nations has in modern times come to establish itself as the largest diplomatic institution in the world. With its advent, most nations have minimized direct negotiations with other countries, particularly in times of crisis and instead opt to go through the United Nations to seek an amicable solution. In this way, the United Nations has gradually contributed to the downfall of diplomacy especially by taking up the role of intermediary between heads of states.
Multilateral diplomacy will eventually displace bilateral diplomacy, this is because globalization has come to make nations all over the world have a shared interest. For instance, in the past nuclear test ban discussions mainly involved the United States and the Soviet. However, in recent times and with many other countries realizing the damage that can be caused to the world by nuclear weaponry, multilateral negotiations have overshadowed the bilateral talks held before. As mush as multilateral diplomacy may not completely wipe out bilateral diplomacy, the latter will in the future only be regarded as a complementary arrangement for the former.
One of the main opportunities of summit diplomacy presents in the fact that it allows for a quicker decision-making process. With state leaders being directly involved in negotiations, the communication process is speeded up, amicable solutions can be arrived at while taking as little time as possible. In this regard, summit diplomacy is the most appropriate for deciding on issues such as war and other forms of international conflicts.
The major pitfall of summit diplomacy is that it makes the concerned parties develop hard-lined stands when making negotiations regarding contentious issues. In both bilateral and multilateral democracies, the presence of mediators generally make the affected parties give some room for negotiations.
- Identify and discuss three threats to Canada’s security. Identify three foreign-policy goals that you believe should be pursued by Canadian diplomats and leaders.
The most significant threat to Canada’s security is the threat of global terrorism. This is particularly because terrorism is not a foreign concept to the country. In the mid 20th century the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ) led a number of attacks in Canada. The threats were particularly significant in 1970; a time that was christened the October crisis. In the year 1985, an Indian airplane was taken down by terrorists based in Canada. At the time over 300 people were killed and this was the largest death toll before the September 11th attacks. Terrorist attacks are becoming more and more threatening with the advent of modern communications and other tools of globalization. After the 9/11 attacks the possibilities are becoming even wider for terrorist and being particularly close to the United States, both geographically and by virtue of trade association, Canada could be a prime target for anti-American terrorism.
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Another threat to Canada’s security is organized crime. Vices such as drug trafficking and money laundering are common vices in the country but it is when the crime becomes transnational that it is regarded as a major threat. Transnational organized crime can heavily impact on the well-being of society and in this way, it is regarded as a national security challenge. Money laundering has been linked to most terrorism activities especially post 9/11 as it provides an easy source of funding for individuals with negative intentions. Individuals mainly involved in transnational organized crime include Asian and European gangs especially because the two groups operate from their bases in Canada but generally require international networks to operate effectively.
A third threat to Canada’s security is cyber-terrorism. Nations have come to realize that they cannot be entirely sustaining and most states strive to build relationships with other countries across the world. The internet has particularly increased the links between nations. Unfortunately, these information technology networks are very insecure and as such are prone to attacks by hackers. The problem with internet security is that networks are connected to each other in such a way that access to one network can easily give unwarranted access to a partner network. The situation is more complicated because as nations are investing billions of dollars in making the internet secure, hackers are also becoming more and more sophisticated.
There are three primary foreign policy goals that Canadian diplomats and leaders should pursue. Top on the list is national security. Canada and its senior officials, particularly the diplomats should make all the necessary effort to ensure that the state boundaries are well protected. These leaders are in a position to ensure that invasion by foreigners are curtailed to the minimum levels possible. Another foreign policy goal which is unique to Canada by virtue of its associations is the securing of free and open trade. Canadian leaders and diplomatic officials should ensure that the nation sustains trade with other countries and that it is in a position to protect its natural resources. Canada cannot exist peacefully with its colleagues in the North Atlantic Free Trade agreement because the relationship is to a large extent based on business. Finally, Canadian diplomats and other state leaders should strive to ensure that the goal of world peace is attained. The nation-state should always ensure that it is not at loggerheads with other countries and it should also make every effort to assist in national security endeavors. Canada should use every available opportunity to aid help other countries deal with disputes as well as providing economic assistance to needy nations. This in a way makes other states view Canada as a nation of goodwill. Provision of economic assistance to victims of natural calamities helps ensure that the affected nations are up on their feet and do not go down the way of political instability.
Global Challenges in the 21st Century
- In your opinion, has the US war in Iraq since 2003 made the world more dangerous or more stable? Has Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan contributed to international peace? Name one thing you think Canada can do to make the global system less violent.
The US war in Iraq has made the world even more dangerous than it was before. This is especially because the then US president, George Bush had convinced the entire world that the main reason for going into the war was the recovery of weapons of mass destruction. When the American forces landed in Iraq they went into an earnest search of the weapons, in some instances using extreme force and they still could not find them. Iraq and its sympathizers were definitely infuriated at the destruction that the US has caused the country and especially since the American soldiers attacked villages indiscriminately taking down everybody including women and children. Consequently, it is definitely likely that there are Iraqis out there plotting revenge on the United States. Unfortunately, terrorist groups that would like to deliver a message to America find it easy to attack its interests in other nations than having to penetrate into the United States. This basically means that as America goes on with the ware in Iraq, the countries that would feel the brunt of revenge by the Arab nations are innocent states such as those in Africa with attacks being directed at US embassies irrespective of whether the people who work there are non-American.
Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan has contributed to international peace. This is mainly because since the Canadian forces landed in the middle-eastern nation, a number of terrorist groups have been appropriately disbanded with the arrests of key leaders. Canada’s presence in Afghanistan has also contributed to the self-sustainability of the state especially because it offered training for Afghan military forces. The result of Canadian involvement is also evident as peace has been substantially restored to Afghanistan. For instance, last year, Afghanis were able to go into elections; something that had not been achieved in a long time. Though, the polls were marred with irregularities, it was a crucial step towards the attainment of democracy. With the return of peace and calm in Afghanistan an ideal environment has been established for development to occur and Canada has offered grants to Afghan households.
Canada can make the global system less violent by contributing in peace keeping programs. For instance, if the state is actively involved in ending the crisis in Somalia, peace could be attained in the whole region and in this way. Canada should play an active role in the disarmament process of the military insurgencies in the region as well as getting captured militias rehabilitated and put back on the way to honest living. The best thing about peace-keeping missions is that they contribute to raising the profile of involved nations aside from helping affected states get back on their feet. In this way Canada would have played its part toe ensure that world peace is attained and it would set a good example for other nations.
- Discuss the hypothesis that the best way for nation-states to preserve peace is to prepare for war. Does global interdependence promote peace? What kinds of foreign-policy strategies and tactics would you recommend to meet the challenge of peace? Why is peace such an ideologically charged concept?
The best way to preserve peace is to prepare for war and this mainly presents in the way military forces are trained. Soldiers are exposed to situations similar to what they would experience in battle grounds and this gets them ready to bring the situation to normalcy should there be need for them to apply the skills acquired. If a country’s defense system is not well established to handle war-like situations, aggressive nations may be easily tempted to attack it in a bid to expand their territories. Once a state has been able to establish a political identity helps establish peace within the world. The notion of a state being adequately prepared to handle any invasion helps nations feel more secure and in this way contribute effectively to the maintenance and promotion of worldwide peace.
Global interdependence to a great extent helps promote peace. This is mainly because once nations realize that they have a shared interest they will do their level best to ensure the progress of the other countries. For instance, the trading partners embodied in the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have over time realized their need for each other. The United States for example depends on Canada for lumber and agricultural products while Canada depends on the United States for electronics and other machinery. In this relationship, it is easy to see why Canada would not let harm befall the United States and vice versa. Global interdependence also helps foster peace in countries that are not as directly linked as Canada and the United States. This is mainly because states all over the world realize that as long as the world is at peace, then less resources will be used in terms of aid relief and peace keeping strategies and instead put into better developmental use.
The best foreign policy strategy for maintenance of peace is basically the promotion of negotiations in the settlement of disputes. The traditional approach of trying to solve misunderstandings by use of physical violence has proven to cause more harm than good. The use of mediated talks has seen many a country emerge from the brink of crisis to forming well meaning mergers.
Peace is an ideologically charged concept because there is no specific standard with which to measure the amount of peace in a given region. This therefore means that peace is a variable whose description changes depending on the region being referred to. For instance, in countries that have been going through unending periods of war, peace can be described as hearing an explosion after every four days. In other countries which have not had elements of war in a long time peace can be described as hearing an explosion every four decades. It is therefore easy to see how the concept of peace shifts goals from place to place and cannot therefore be described in universally-applicable terms.
- Some hold that the frequency of international acts of violence has diminished in the twentieth century. Discuss the apparent irony of this fact against the possibility of nuclear annihilation. Do you think the risk of annihilation posed by nuclear weapons has caused a reduction in the frequency of war since the end of the Second World War? Discuss whether negotiated arms-control agreements can achieve the goal of arms reduction and possible disarmament. Is total disarmament possible, or even desirable?
This statement holds some truth particularly because it mainly specifies on the frequency of international acts of violence. Diplomacy and the establishments of peace accords have seen to it that countries operate alongside each other peacefully unlike in the 18th and 19th century where states would be involved in random squabbles especially in regards to boundaries or spheres of influence. The irony of this statement comes in the fact that even with the diminished rate at which these acts of violence take place, technological advances have made it that more powerful weapons are created. With the advancements made in nuclear technology it is most certain that bombs can be made whose impact is equivalent to hundreds of wars both in terms of destructions and the number of casualties.
The threat of annihilation held by nuclear weapons has definitely reduced the frequency of war since the end of World War 2. This is mainly because the aftermath of the last war was well evident and states decided to find amicable solutions to disputes than go into war. The fact that however deterred nations from ever going back to global wars was that around the end of the Second World War, nuclear developments were being made particularly by the Soviet and American super-powers. The weapons being developed posed the threat of causing extensive harm and countries in the rest of the world particularly those under the umbrella of the United Nations came together to convince the said two nations to not attempt usage of the weapons in development to attack each other. The United States of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had served to convince the world that nuclear weapons could essentially wipe out the human race from the face of the earth. This had the reciprocal effect of deterring nations from going to war altogether and instead adopt negotiations as methods of handling disagreements.
Negotiated arms control agreements can definitely achieve the goal of arms reduction. This is mainly because at an individual level it is well known that illegal possession of firearms is a crime by laws of any land and those who own them choose to do so when they feel that the state is not doing enough to offer them protection. In countries such as Kenya, in East Africa, the government has been able to convince individuals to surrender their illegally-acquired fire-arms after boosting up security within the country. The effort has from year to year been celebrated by ceremonies held to destroy the arms recovered. At a state level the possession of nuclear weapons is a crime by international laws and this is the prime reason why the negotiated arms control strategy was crafted. The world super powers have been able to conduct discussions amongst each other with the effect of convincing nations to give up their nuclear weapons after being offered certain incentives.
Total disarmament is definitely impossible. This is particularly because not all countries subscribe to the world accord of maintenance of total peace and as a consequence nations will always doubt the intentions of their neighbors. This means that states will always feel secure knowing that they have self-defense tools in their possession and will therefore not want to part with their stronger weapons. Total disarmament is not even desirable because once one state gets to give away the weapons that served to strengthen its strongholds, neighboring nations may want to take advantage and attack the unprotected state.
- Does the world have a population problem? How do you think the population problem can be tackled without violating fundamental human rights?
The world has a slight population problem that is gradually becoming more and more challenging. This is because with every new generation and with increasing lifespans, people are gradually straining the world’s resources. Countries that could easily provide for their citizens and still have enough for reserve a few years ago are currently finding it challenging to take care of the increasing daily needs.
The increase in population has in particular impacted negatively on the environment especially as individuals keep destroying the environment to create ideal habitats for themselves. Environmental destruction has in return posed the problem of not creating ideal conditions for food production particularly because most countries particularly in the developing worlds rely entirely on climatic patterns for their agriculture. Asidef from creating land and ideal conditions for agriculture, the expansion of urban areas is taking place at an even higher rate resulting in even more pollution both to the air and to the water sources. The destruction has also been heavily experienced in the mining of fossil fuels with the United States and China consuming over half of the world’s fossil fuels. This therefore means that the increasing world population is posing the threat of reducing self-sustenance for the human race.
The increasing population is also being felt on the economy. This is because countries that are overpopulated cannot effectively offer employment opportunities to their citizens. This ends up causing an upsurge in the levels of crime as individuals struggle to find means of survival. These countries operate on debts owing to their diminished yearly Gross Domestic Products and the affected governments find themselves constantly straining to operate on their meager resources.
The only way to tackle the population problem is to discourage couples from not giving birth to more than a certain number of children, and this rule should be applied all over the world. This is the kind of rule that is in place in China and it applies even for individuals who feel they have adequate resources to take care of larger families. In this way, the population will grow at a more manageable rate and the strain on the natural resources will substantially decrease.
- What are the major causes of environmental degradation? Explain why no one state can solve the ecology mess we are just discovering.
The major causes of environmental degradation are wanton destruction and pollution. The first cause is basically the deliberate destruction of the environment, mostly with the aim of creating man-made structures. Pollution has in recent days come to be a key cause of environmental degradation. This is because the uncontrolled release of non-bio friendly substances into the environment ends up clogging the ecology resulting in disruption in climatic patterns. Pollution and other forms of environmental destruction arise have a number of underlying causes. These causes are socio-economic in nature and they included population, poverty, corruption and greed and urbanization. The causes mentioned are briefly detailed below:
The rapid growth of the global population has seen it reach levels that cannot be effectively sustained by the environment without the latter having to undergo some form of destruction. People depend on the environment to provide them with natural resources as well as receive the wastes they produce. Consequently, this results in increased strain on the environment presenting in the form of stresses such as pollution.
This is one of the driving factors that lead individuals particularly in developing countries to engage in rampant environmentally destructive activities. For instance in Africa, most of the forests have been cut down and converted into charcoal. This is because the economic abilities of the individuals living near forests do not allow them to use electricity or petroleum gas for cooking. As a result, thy look at the resource nearest to them and use it as they desire. The long term effect has been the thinning forests in some parts of Africa.
Corruption and greed
Most of the multinational companies that are involved in the manufacturing sector know very well the impact that their emission and waste discharge will have to the environment. They however produce to direct effluents to rivers and release untreated carbon into the atmosphere because even though most nations have rules against such acts of pollution, most governments find it difficult to punish this big-time offenders. This is because most nations and more-so those in the developing continents need the presence of these big companies for their growth and shutting them down would impact negatively on the economic performance. In some instances, individuals have been caught red-handed committing acts of destruction but nothing is done to them as they are able to buy their ways out of the legal systems.
This is a major issue in developing countries whereby individuals are driven by the quest for better jobs to move from the rural areas to urban areas. This ends up creating slums and other forms of clustered dwellings in the so-called urban areas resulting in an unprecedented destruction of the urban area environment. This degradation presents in the form of extensive depletion of energy resources as well as by increased environmental pollution.
No one state can solve the ecology mess that the world has just found itself in. this is because countries all over the world have had a part to play in the current environmental degradation. This has been particularly occasioned by the rapid spread of industrialization and the adoption of mechanized ways of production. Countries with the most number of production industries are seen as more developed and other lowly-ranked nations try to catch up by acquiring these environmentally unfriendly machinery. For instance, China has been blamed as the single-most largest emitter of carbon gases; gases which have been credited for destruction of the ozone layer. However, other countries, even though emitting lesser gases than China also release fractions which when combined have a substantial impact on the environment. This means that even if China alone were to cut down its emissions to zero, the environment would still be suffering based on the destructive emissions by other countries.
- Can we say that a “sustainable environment” is a human right? Why or why not? Can we have a major positive impact on the ecology at the municipal level? How? Should be declared pollution to be an act of terricide (murder of the Earth) and consider it a crime against humanity?
A sustainable environment is a human right. This is mainly because as time progresses it is becoming evident that the environment dictates the every aspect of human life. For instance, the earth provides food for both people and animals. The very same earth also provides them with the energy with which to prepare the food before they consume it and then wait for the environment to replenish itself and provide them with more food. This chain illustrates that people are entirely dependent on the earth for most of their basic needs and it is therefore necessary that a sustainable environment be guaranteed to each and every individual.
The municipality and indeed other lower levels can bring about major positive impacts on the ecology. This is because pollution and other forms of environmental degradation have their roots at the household level and this therefore means that a reduction in the combined household environmental damage can bring about desirable ecological differences. Planting trees in a small region of the municipality can change the atmosphere around the region and this would go a long way in rejuvenating the environment. Proper construction of houses will help reducing overcrowding and the municipal by-laws should be amended so that they include a close that requires individuals to leave enough space for planting of trees between buildings. This is because trees are well known to absorb carbon emissions from the air and in a way contribute to its purification. Drainage systems should be constructed in such a way that they do not release harmful products into the environment and the municipal heads should make it their duty and responsibility to confirm that all effluents are effectively treated before being discharge to the environment. Individuals should also learn to adopt the principles of recycling. This will go a long way in reducing the damage caused to the environment during the destruction of non-biodegradable items. Individual homesteads and better still the entire municipality could embrace the usage of renewable forms of energy such as solar and wind-power as compared to diesel-operated generators. This is because the burning of fossil fuels has come to be seen as the prime source of carbon release into the environment.
Pollution should be declared an act of terricide and regarded a crime against humanity. This is because as has been discussed earlier, a sustainable environment should be a fundamental human right. Pollution by nature results in extensive environmental degradation and this contributes to a reduction in the sustainability of the ecological system. This in essence translates to a lesser than desired livelihood for affected persons and this can therefore be received as breach of human rights. Individuals who are caught polluting the environment should be treated as criminals against humanity subjected to prosecution following the human rights laws.
Guy, James J. People, politics, and government. 7th. Ed. Scarborough, Ontario: Pearson Education, 2010. Print.