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The New Diplomacy: A Carousel of International Political Negotiations

by on April 25, 2013



 The “New Diplomacy” is one of those terms that still elude many people. This is so because academics, political analysts and even students use different criteria to determine the features for which they assess the nature of the new diplomatic practice.

 Some would argue that the technological advancements in communications are to be considered the main feature for the “New Diplomacy”. While others would remark that the public aspect of the practice should be considered the principal characteristic that substantially determines the new form of diplomatic practice.

 However, it is of my opinion that the most significant dimension of the New Diplomacy is the fundamental structure that supports and frames the workings of diplomacy at present time. Multilateralism and the multilateral diplomatic bodies have to some extent redesigned the way diplomacy is conducted, however, not disregarding the functionality and the importance of the traditional diplomatic bodies.  

 While the technological and public aspects have promoted significant changes in the diplomatic spectrum. The creation of multilateral bodies for diplomacy reinvented the way diplomatic negotiations are undertaken. They broke the bilateral pattern of alliances and to some extent diminished the importance of power when settling disputes. Even if some consider diplomacy to be undemocratic, the manner in which the multilateral diplomatic bodies are designed allied with the voting process that happens at the decision-making level in such institutions, make multilateral diplomacy a democratic process to the possible extent.

 Multilateralism also managed to include poor and weak states into the diplomatic sphere, giving them the opportunity to promote themselves internationally.  It has also acknowledged the importance of external actors and NGOs as important players in international politics. Most importantly is the fact the multilateral diplomacy has absorbed the technological and public aspects that many claim to be the most significant features for the “New Diplomacy”.

 However, it’s important to recognise that hardly any important decision is taken through multilateral diplomacy. This is mainly because of the dynamics of the practice mentioned above in addition to national interest. I tend to analyse a multilateral diplomatic negotiation as a group of representatives mounting their little horses backs, specially painted with the colours of their respective nations in a carousel-like environment, endlessly riding to arrive at the same place they departed from. In spite of all the shortcomings multilateralism has, it is still the most significant dimension of the New Diplomacy for all the changes it has applied to the diplomatic spectrum.




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  1. good entry,i agree that mulitateral organisations may appear big and symbolic in meetings and and the news but in practice not a lot of real action is done and a lack of implementation.With so many states across the world now it is harder for one nation to make its point known especially with so many rising global powers.

  2. i totally agree with you on the point of multilateral diplomacy being one of the main changes within new diplomacy. it is true that multilateral diplomacy gives a voice to the non state actors around the world and now because of globalization states would need to work together to deal with international problems. I also agree on the limitation u have noted, in theory multilateral diplomacy would better then bilateral but implementing the policy made by organisation can be hard.

  3. Some interesting points here.Yes multilateral diplomacy has been the defining feature of new diplomacy. It has changed the whole diplomatic system by making the world more interconnected. It has given much more importance to non-state actors as well as small states in diplomatic affairs. Gives them more power when dealing with bigger states. I also agree that multilateral diploamacy is largely inefficient when dealing with important matters, which is why it is important for bilateral diplomacy to take place at the multilateral conferences. Technology has made diplomacy much faster but in terms of diplomacy changing, it is the growing relevance of multilateral diplomacy that we see today.

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