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by on April 29, 2013


The concept of old diplomacy and bilateral alliances may seem like an outdated idea but it is one i believe still holds resonance in modern times. There are many examples of diplomatic institutions and old diplomacy was used to stop wars or prevent them. This period is usually defined as being before the ww1 era. These institutions would include ministries of foreign affairs ,many of which still exist today across the world.  At a time when the league of nations was formed and multilateral diplomacy was becoming widespread,there were still peace treaties being formed between two states.

The conflict between Ireland and Britain led to the Irish war of independence in 1919 and was a serious threat to the British Empire. The resulting Anglo-Irish treaty was due to diplomatic talks in London between the prime minister Lloyd George and Arthur Griffith, the irish minister for foreign affairs. The Irish -British  relations until the present day is a good example of old diplomatic institutions being used ,especially during the peace process. The good friday agreement in 1998 and the Anglo Irish agreement in 1985 show that bilateral talks are still relevant.


Bilateral diplomacy is now done on a more insignicant scale compared to the pre ww1 era. It is through modern means such as cables between foreign ministries and embassies. These institutions are not as important as as multilateral organisations such as the ICC and the EU. Desptie the growth of multilateral groups, states have maintained their sovereignty and have the option to withdraw from treaties and organisations. Also with more states than ever before there are more bilateral relations between countries. This also includes nations that are not recognised by all states such as Kosovo. They are in the process in making relations with other states and most recently,Serbia. Despite them not recognising them, as of 2011 talks have taken place in Brussels between the two and in 2013 an important agreement was reached. The historical institutions of old diplomacy may not exist in the same capacity as before but this form of dialogue is still important today and in unique situations can work alongside multilateral diplomacy to good effect.



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