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Tom Fletcher’s “Naked Diplomacy” for the UAE Essay (Book Review)

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Updated: Nov 19th, 2020


The book “Naked Diplomacy” by Tom Fletcher summarizes the principles of democracy and the opportunities and risks that are likely to affect international relations in the future. The book is divided into three sections, with each section covering a special theme regarding the topic of diplomacy. The first section covers the life of Fletcher, specifically when he held a diplomatic office. The section gives a detailed account of the history of diplomacy, citing the power struggle between French and Spanish ambassadors in London in ancient times. Additionally, the author gives a detailed account of the history of how the great powers scrambled for the developing countries in an attempt to increase their supremacy.

Book Review

The second section of the book gives an insight into the future of diplomacy and the effect of technology on international relations. The author argues that the evolution of the Internet and social media at large marks a big turnaround to the future of diplomacy. According to Fletcher, social media increases communication between citizens from different countries, hence promoting diplomacy.

The section closes by summarizing the character traits of the future British diplomat. Such traits include being a campaigner, head, conversationalist, capitalist, activist, and a supporter of international relations. The third section of the book centers on the theme of collective diplomacy. In this section, the author insists that diplomacy should not be an exclusive role of diplomats. However, societies should take part in marketing their respective countries.

The author emphasizes that all people should be brave, creative, involved, and connected to successfully assume the role of diplomats. The author insists that the issue of diplomacy is weighty, hence underscoring the need for public participation.

Various elements presented in the book apply to the UAE international relations and foreign policy. For instance, one of the diplomacy principles that Fletcher advances is that of establishing connections and creating a sense of authenticity. The stated principle revolves around sending positive messages about a country without painting a picture of self-centeredness. A diplomat who exercises this principle may successfully win the hearts of other countries’ leaders for business and other forms of cooperation.

The UAE can productively use the principle by hiring diplomats who demonstrate a great zeal and motivation to preach about the positives of the country in the international arena. Currently, the country has much influence in the region and internationally due to its huge oil deposits. Before the breakthrough of oil, the UAE was largely a farming zone. The financial position of the state principally depended on farming. Nevertheless, after the detection of oil deposits, the economy changed its focus from farming to oil production. Currently, the economy of the UAE is mostly fuelled by oil. The country is presently among the fastest developing economies around the globe.

The considerable sums of money obtained from oil have enhanced the image of the country in the region and internationally. The UAE is presently regarded as the regional superpower following its rapid cost-effective progress. The country exports its oil to overseas nations, a situation that has heightened its impact on local and international politics. By hiring diplomats with the ability to sell the country to the other states, the motherland will gain much control over the region, hence advancing diplomacy.

The other principle that Fletcher advocates for successful diplomacy are the use of social media to advance diplomacy. This principle may work for the UAE since its international policy revolves around maintaining a peaceful coexistence with its neighbors. Social media may be used to promote communication between the UAE’s citizens and other countries to promote peace. Additionally, social media may be used as a tool to curb terrorism, which is a great threat in the Arab countries.

This goal may be achieved by rallying the youths to oppose terrorism through online-based platforms. Besides, the method may be used to solicit information from the citizens regarding the way to approach certain disputes. Based on such information, the country may be able to formulate the relevant diplomatic strategies based on the citizens’ views. Currently, the UAE’s National Security Strategy recognizes the global forces that are likely to influence its operations.

In the recent past, the global security needs have changed greatly, with the contemporary security strategies targeting the economy, energy, societal, and environmental safety. Following the end of the Cold War, the world resolved to deter the recurrence of a similar confrontation by tailoring the global strategies for mitigating inter-boundary conflicts. Since then, various agreements have been formulated at the global level in an attempt to mitigate the occurrence of international conflicts.

Additionally, the global community has been on the frontline in championing democracy in all the global countries. Consequently, global countries are under pressure to embrace democracy or face sanctions from the international community. To comply with the international security requirements, the UAE’s National Security Strategy considers such laws when formulating major countrywide security policies.

In addition to international laws, the UAE’s Security Strategy is influenced by the rapid growth of terrorism around the globe. In the recent past, terrorist activities have increased tremendously to the extent of promoting the globe to enact policies aimed at combating the vice. The UAE, being a stakeholder of the global community, has to take part in the antiterrorist activities initiated by the global governments. The objective of the globe is to achieve international tranquility, which can only be realized by sealing the gaps in economic and social inequalities that are attributed to the occurrence of the Cold War.

This outcome is achieved in part by the embracement of the global trade, which is governed by different trade agreements such as the World Trade Organization (WTO). The UAE, being a subscriber to such agreements, has to align its national security policies with those of the intercontinental community to ensure that it contributes to the worldwide peace.

The other principle of diplomacy that Fletcher advocates are the collective diplomatic action by the citizens of a country. Based on the stated principle, every citizen has a role to play in ensuring that the country is perceived positively by other states. This principle is applicable in the UAE. It can be a source of peace in the region. If the citizens of the country embrace this principle and/or promote their country to other states in the region, diplomacy may be enhanced.

Such citizens need to be encouraged to promote their country to encourage international trade. Currently, the regional environment of the UAE Security Strategy is composed of the political, economic, and social factors that affect the security of the UAE and that of its neighbors. The region is strongly committed to democracy, economic, and public stability in an attempt to foster regional peace. Countries in the region advocate for dialogue in solving the disputes affecting any of the countries in the region. Local trade agreements are at the heart of the region’s security, with each country having a duty to play in maintaining peace and stability.

The state’s national policies are affected by the regional laws that advocate for security. Drug trafficking is a common phenomenon in the region. It threatens the peaceful coexistence of the region. Therefore, each state is obligated to enact legislation aimed at ensuring that the region is free from drugs. In addition to the drug menace, the region also faces a threat from the trafficking of dangerous weaponry. Such armaments threaten the security of the country since their accessibility by the regional states may precipitate violence. The region is also characterized by diversity in the individual national values, as well as the religious affiliations. Such differences may attract violence in the region.

The UAE must be a part of the team that prevents the occurrence of ethnic or religion-based violence. The country must specifically contribute to the fight against extremism, which is largely attributed to the Muslim extremists. To achieve this goal, all citizens must join hands in condemning and reporting extremists to the relevant authorities to achieve regional and international peace.

Lastly, Fletcher advocates for the principle of perseverance, understanding, and commitment by all players. The mentioned element of diplomacy involves setting clear goals regarding international relations and making them known to other states. This principle may be equally applied in the UAE to promote diplomacy. The current security policy of the UAE is highly based on the spirit of international cooperation in the combat of insecurity in the region.

The country is a significant contributor to the region’s defense based on its efforts to fight insecurity within its territories and contributing its forces to international safety endeavors. The country prioritizes the safety of its territories and that of its people and the minority groups. The protection of the mentioned parties is achieved by enacting strict laws to combat any form of violence either emanating from the domestic lawbreakers or international criminals.

However, as much as security strategies that are operational in the UAE are effective in combating criminal activities in the country, they are not perfectly fit. They need to be altered to guarantee the security of all citizens. A good security strategy should have the capacity to combat such unlawful practices propagated by some few people in the advancement of their interest. The policies should be designed in a way that they fully protect the interests of the minorities to avoid discrimination by the majority groups.

Additionally, the country’s security strategies have failed to stop the civil war that has been ongoing for many decades, a situation that threatens the safety of the country and its people. Such failure illustrates the gaps that are present in the country’s defense strategies. To seal the identified gaps, the county needs to reinstate its international cooperation policy and woo other regions to embrace diplomacy in solving inter-country disputes.

On the other hand, one of the principles that may not work for the UAE is that of regional democracy and respect for the rule of the law. The stated principle requires a country to promote democracy and the rule of law locally and internationally. The embracement of democracy among the Arabian nations may be a hectic task given that the Islamic laws in such nations are widely applicable. Such laws do not reflect the rule of law.

Instead, they are mostly discriminative to the citizens. Regulations that are dominant in the region may inhibit the advancement of democracy and the rule of law, both of which are central to diplomacy. The other possible roadblock to the advancement of democracy and the rule of law is the supremacy battle that is currently being experienced in the region. In the recent past, countries in the Arab region have been battling for regional supremacy, a situation that has heightened the dispute between them. For example, Saudi Arabia has aspired to be the region’s kingpin for a long time. The Arab Spring aimed at realizing this vision by weakening many regions in the UAE.

Presently, nations that wish to manifest their powers the Arab world are taking a lead of the transformation to gain authority. The UAE is majorly benefiting based on its robust financial system. The country has been developing foreign guidelines that seek to heighten its supremacy in the region. Consequently, issues such as the Arab Spring together with the financial position of the states in the region are the major drivers of foreign guidelines. There are allegations that countries in the region are warming up for another war since each of them is arming its military in the preparation for combat. This situation is a major setback to diplomatic relations in the region.


The other principle that might not work for the UAE is that of a peaceful resolution of disputes between countries. Fletcher asserts that countries must use dialogue to solve disputes. Although this approach is good for peace, it may not always apply in the UAE. The UAE’s constitution is the supreme law of the land, which reflects the societal and national interests of the country. Based on the constitution, the UAE has the responsibility of ensuring that its citizens remain safe in the backdrop of the increased rates of crime and terrorist activities. The government plays a central role in the formulation and implementation of the security strategies to ensure that the country is safe.

When developing the strategies, the government often considers the interests and rights of its citizens to avoid infringing on them. It also considers various elements of national value when making its security policies, namely, sovereignty, independence, fairness and equity, peace, the rule of law, democracy, social justice, human rights, and freedoms. In addition to the listed national values, the government must consider national interests, which include all aspects of social and cultural norms.

The security must conform to the societal beliefs and practices to achieve equity while promoting respect for human rights. Finally, the government has the responsibility of ensuring that the interests of its people are considered when formulating international security laws. In protecting the rights and welfare of its citizens, the UAE may at times use force to repel invasions by foreign countries to protect its territories and civilians. The use of the military to repel attacks is against the principle of applying exclusive dialogue to resolve disputes.

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