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The Evolution of Diplomacy

by on October 20, 2012

Diplomacy is defined as “communication and [negotiation] process between international actors that seek to resolve conflict short of war,” it has also been used to increase and deepen relations between states.  The process of negotiation has been around for centuries, kings and leaders from the past used diplomacy to reduce issues between states and still issues within the international system can be effectively resolved using diplomacy. Like any other factor within the international system diplomacy too has experience change and development within the system. Although the core foundation of diplomacy hasn’t changed, it still about states relation, national interest and avoiding war but the processes of negotiation has changed throughout time. Diplomacy has continued from old to new.

Traditional or old diplomacy involved negotiation occurring between states leaders and diplomats. The issues within old diplomacy were very narrow and limited it was mainly based on preventing conflicts and over throwing other monarchs.  The process of old diplomacy were mainly bilateral and done in secret, Secrecy was largely important with in old diplomacy diplomats and state leaders were able to negotiated issues without involving the public or other allies and believed that negotiations can be done easily without involving other parties. It was believed that secrecy was the only way states can prevent conflicts between each other. First World War showed the world that diplomacy done only in secrecy may not be as effective as some would have thought. New diplomacy brought changes that improved diplomacy. Diplomacy changed from secrecy to openness which meant that information for negotiation was and still is open to the public.

Diplomacy and the world changed dramatically after the First World War and even more after the Second World War. The First World War showed the world and diplomats that negotiation done in secrecy may not be as effective as they thought.  Secrecy worked effectively within the 19th century but couldn’t prevent the First World War. Demands of change within diplomacy increased openness; information about negotiation can be shared with the public. The after math of the Second World War increased the process of globalization and brought the idea of new diplomacy. New diplomacy and globalization has diminished borders and has involved other factors within negotiation and diplomacy. Technology has increased more and more over the centuries; it has huge connection with diplomacy and improved negotiation largely. Diplomats now can gain and send faster information than before which means that they can work on issues and send updates back home. Technology has also increased the use of public diplomacy. Within globalization citizens has have huge importance, within the 21st century negotiations can strengthen relations with the public involved and technology can be used to increase public involved especially through social media.  Other actors are taking part within negotiation. To many the very idea of a diplomat has changed, actors who out of the profession can negotiation and improve relation between states.

The world becomes more complex and other issues enter the diplomacy zone. The world of diplomacy became more complex because more states developed after the empires collapsed after the second world and after the cold war (with former Soviet countries) which meant that countries have to extended relations with more than two states and keep those relations stable. Also other issues such as poverty, terrorism, global warming, economy, social and other problems have to be dealt with in diplomacy. Now it’s not just about preventing war and promoting peace, other issues that come with globalisation also have to be dealt with.



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  1. Reblogged this on ghs0032.

  2. christianatham permalink

    Diplomacy is the key mechanism used by states to balance their various national interests. World politics has been about bargaining and forming alliances for the interest of all nations. As rulers extended their authority over large areas, they saw it as practical and economically viable to use less violent to legitimacy their positions in their newly acquired states. Ambassadors were appointed in the late 15th century to avoid extra cost for envoys travelling to and from states. Ambassadors at that time were nobles with little foreign or diplomatic experience and needed to be supported by a large embassy staff.
    Modern diplomacy slowly spread to Eastern Europe and arrived in Russia by the early eighteenth century. There has been a lot of changings to the how diplomacy is practised since the formation of it in the first city-states. Diplomacy is now practised among recognised sovereign states in the world. There are exchanges of representatives from all over the world travelling to one state or another at any given time.
    From the first set of formal rules relating to diplomacy in the 13th century, there have been changes in the nature of diplomacy. One of the significant changes is the emergency of globalization. Globalization became a gospel to be reckoned with and it was preached and practised all over the world in 1990. All countries were encouraged to either join or be left out. The removal of barriers for free trade was viewed as a cure to all problems because the opening up of trade will promote cheaper goods and services which will benefit both the producers and foreign investors. They need to follow developments in these fields proactively, to shape them, to involve public discourse and to give advice to decision-makers on the political levels. Diplomats are supposed to be aware of global trends and interests and what they mean for their home country. They need to form strong relationship with their host nations to bargain for cheaper raw materials.
    Also, the emergence of non-state actors like the non-governmental organizations, advocacy groups, intergovernmental organizations, multinational corporations means diplomats will need to work with representatives from their home countries that visit the home nations on behalf of these organisations in order to prevent conflicts of interest that could jeopardise the already established relationship. Diplomacy will continue to change as a result of on-going changes in globalization,however,Personal contacts, human expertise and experience, will remain the set up for diplomatic procedures.

    1. Ernst Sucharipa 21st Century Diplomacy; date of access 16/12/2012
    2.G. R. Berridge, Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 4th edition
    3.J. Baylis and S. Smith (eds), The Globalization of World Politics, 5th edition

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