Diplomacy Negotiation, soft power and changing practices in…
Negotiation, soft power and changing practices in international relations
Definitions are important because they help us know that we are speaking and writing about the same thing (or at least not giving different meanings to the same words). But although they 'clarify the ways in which people use a term, they do not capture its true meaning, if there is such a thing, or its best use'
: The ability to make an actor do something that they would not otherwise do
carries the connotation of coercion, or power over others often implying military means. Important in realist understandings of IR
(a term coined by Joseph Nye) rests on persuasion, transmitted through intangible means such as ideology, institutions and culture.
'... the conduct of relations between states and other entities with standing in the world... the peaceful conduct of relations among political entities
'... by official agents and by peaceful means... their principals and accredited agents'
Contemporary power shifts away from Europe and the USA have led IR scholars to enquire into the pre-modern and non-traditional forms of diplomatic activity that help us define and understand changing patterns of diplomacy today.
Modern Diplomacy in the Westphalian Era
The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 is synonymous with the understanding of modern diplomacy considered as the activity governing relations between sovereign states and was and is primarily concerned with the 'balance of power' and war, although the process began in Renaissance Italy (c.14-16th centuries)
The Westphalian system helped establish the importance of 'bilateral' diplomacy focused particularly on the relations between great powers seeking a balance of power in Europe and its dominions.
The outbreak of the Great War was blamed - in part - on diplomats conducting 'secret diplomacy'. In the wake of the war - as with the Second - greater emphasis was placed on instituting permanent forums for "multilateral
diplomacy such as the League of Nations (1920-39) and the United Nations (1945to date) and more recently the G7, G20, and G77
Cold War, Decolonisation and Diplomacy
George Kennan argues that although there could be rapprochement with the USSR he also believed that 'the problem is within our power to solve - and that without recourse to any general military conflict'
The Proliferation of States
1919 - 25 states (including Australia) are represented at the Paris Peace Conference that ended the Great War and established the League of Nations
1945 - 51 states represented at the San Francisco Conference at the end of World War Two that established the United Nations
1990 - The UN had 159 member-states
2019 - The UN has 193 member-states (with Holy See and Palestine holding 'Permanent Observer' status, along with inter alia European Union, League of Arab States, African Union, Commonwealth Secretariat, Francophonie, International Seabed Authority)
The Vienna Convention (1961)
Governs the conduct of diplomats including diplomatic immunity
Representing the sending state in the receiving state
Protecting the interests and nationals of the sending state in the receiving state within the bounds of the law
Negotiating with the government of the receiving state
Reporting back to the sending state about the receiving state
Promoting good relations between the sending state and the receiving state
Diplomacy in a Post-Westphalian World
Despite recent changes in the nature of diplomatic activity, reports of Westphalian diplomacy's demise (to paraphrase Mark Twain) are greatly exaggerated. Amongst these changes we can note a shift from negotiating to lobbying
Diplomacy and IR
: Given that we live in a natural, law-governed international society that gives an unavoidable dynamic to power relations between states, diplomacy will continue to be as necessary as it was in the Westphalian period
: Given that the social world is produced by the diverse ways that people think about it, alternative means of relating to each other are possible (although maybe not probable) and it may be that diplomacy as it has been understood in the Westphalian era is passing
Diplomacy has a very long history (thousands of years) but has reconstituted itself and its practices over its three broad historical periods: pre-modern; Westphalian; post-Westphalian
Even if we can imagine a world without states, it is hard to envision a world without diplomacy
In addition to states, non-state actors increasingly engage in diplomatic activity