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Evolution of Diplomacy

by on November 13, 2012

Evolution of Diplomacy


The science does not give us with assertion how we human started to communicate, but indeed since the human being species existed we did so. Way before the World War II, diplomacy was some sort of special friendship that only governments used to keep their tie. With the development of modernity diplomacy may now be carried from government through public diplomacy. It consisted in caring peaceful tasks as well as maintenance and auxiliary economy interests.

 It all started when in 1626 the French (Cardinal Richelieu) created the first foreign ministry in Paris. Since the rest of Europe followed the same path ( and Berridge, 2002, 1). Legations and embassies became well-known all over the European continent. By the nineteenth century the European-style diplomacy was adopted throughout the globe. Ambassadors or minister were the administrator of embassies.

 By the twenty century after the new emerging diplomacy settled, it had to conform, blend in the new post war era and tango with the nations or people and its government’s new vision.

As mention above if diplomacy was hidden from the public eye or knowledge (dark and ignorance), today everyone participates in it. The changes are visible people can know access the world of politics without being (directly) part of it. Giving opinion of what is happening and how public matters are being handled is no longer the political point of view that only matters. The new diplomacy gave some sort of liberalism (a control) to the public, allowing them to express their view-point without fear.

This takes the fail out of the traditional diplomacy reveal the new diplomacy and all of its whereabouts and conclusions.

 Then the challenges are not yet finished. Science, environmental problems, the digital world or “digital diplomacy virtual relations” ( and others have influence and changed the development of diplomacy. Thus, there is no innovation where there is not collaborate. Diplomacy is indeed of a public concern. Yet many would argue, to what extend is this open to the public? Do we get to see and give our opinion to everything or there some that are not shown to the public? How dangerous this can be. Virtual relations may justify this answer. For instance, even the top-secret services or organizations use the digital world to trap their target or get information.

However, any information given may be propaganda unless proven otherwise (

 Diplomacy has excelled in conflicts prevention by the change in attitude between disputant and policies. It contributed towards the way leading actors of the “former Cold War” came to form North Atlantic Treaty Organization and, it has impacted on public opinion globally(Zartman: 2001, 9). For example, preventive diplomacy actors have balanced the problem from “negative or zero to positive-sum situation” (ibid, 7). Countries such as Germany or Russia have seen the benefit of it. The same framed into territorial conflict cases (IRA tension in Northern Ireland or the Basque in Spain)(ibid, 42). The other case is  the Cuba Missile crisis in 1962 that left expectant thinking it would be a major crisis. Nonetheless, the nuclear exchange tension was diffused and solve by high profile entities using diplomatic relations in a new ways to tackle and end the crisis, till using or addressing the central problem. But as mentioned before, this approach may not work as conflicts have their own different characteristics (Wallensteen 2011: 282).


G. R. Berridge, “Diplomacy: Theory and Practice”, Second Edition, Palgrave Macmillan, 2002

Wallensteen, P. (2011) ‘Understanding Conflict Resolution: War, Peace and the Global System’, (SAGE) – pp. 282

Zartman, I. W. (ed.) (2001) Preventive Negotiation: Avoiding Conflict Escalation (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers)  Accessed on the 13/11/2012   Accessed on the 10/11/2012   Accessed on the 13/11/2012


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  1. Do you think the institutions of the ‘old’ diplomacy have any contemporary relevance?

    The old diplomacy still has contemporary relevance as history and current events enfold in our morden world.There are lots of conficts and negogiation which has been succesufuly settled peacfully maily due to the parties using diplomacy to reslove identified issues.One classic example is the Cuban Missle Crisis in 1962 between the United States and Soviet Union which would have resulted in a nuclear war had it not been to both super powers opting to use diplomacy.
    Cuba became John F kenedy’s first foreign policy challenge simply because The US governement regarded Castro as a comminist leader next door who has to be overthrown.However,the cuban popultion did not riase agaist castrol in April 1961 despite the US govement and the CIA orchestrating an over throw of the Cuban government.
    Nikita khrushchev understod that the display of of his missiles in Cuba will not only support this communist comrade but it will essestially give the soviet union nuclear parity with the US which will enchance its international prestige. When the Soviet Union secretly put nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba, it nearly started a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The missiles were discovered by routine spy-plane surveillance. Soviet leader Kruschev believed the young, newly-elected President Kennedy would not do anything about the Soviets’ putting strategic weapons in Cuba.One option was for the US to launch an airstrike agaist the missiles sites which would have killed Soviet troops and conceivably touch off a nuclear war.The US had the means to do this because when Kenndey was swone in as the president,The US possesed a vast over 100 intercontinental and intermedaite-range ballistic missiles,80 submarine-launched missiles,1,7000 inbtercontinental bombers,3000 nuclear armed airplanes on aircraft carries.
    President Kennedy went for a non violence solution through diplomacy and ordering the U.S. Navy to quarantine the island by not allowing any Soviet ships to travel to Cuba. This, combined with diplomacy, forced Soviet Premier Kruschev’s hand, and the missiles were withdrawn.
    In the aftermath of the Cuban crisis,historians,politicians and miltary brass sHistorians say the resolution of the standoff was really a triumph of backdoor diplomacy. Kennedy resisted pressure from aides advising that he even consider a preemptive strike. He instead engaged in intense behind-the-scenes diplomacy with the Soviets, other countries and the U.N. secretary-general.
    In conclusion, The Cuban Missile Crisis is deemed as an example of Diplomatic Conflict Resolution, in that, the United States of America and the USSR negotiated to end the crisis with agreement for the Soviets to withdrawal the missiles and the US not to invade Cuba. These negotiated settlements helped end the crisis with only the US blockade of Cuba still remaining till this day.

    McWilliams C and Piotrowski(2009);The world since 1945 (7th Edition) date of access 17/12/12

    : – historical background and audio recordings for a link as you suggested. Date of access 17/12/12

  2. carlacds permalink

    I agree with your point on how diplomacy has changed. However I think the grassroots of diplomacy can be traced a couple of centuries before Richelieu, first embassies were established at the end of the 15th Century and before that Kings send especial missions to each other whenever there was an issue to discuss and treaties were usually closed with marriages between members of the different royal families.

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