Sunday 31 October 2010

Traditional Diplomacy vs. 'A New World Order'

“Diplomacy is the application of intelligence and tact to the conduct
of official relations between the governments of independent states.”
(Satow, 1964: 1)

This term illustrates meaning and applications of diplomacy in general; in fact, this definition suggests the idea that the ‘old’ and ‘new’ diplomacy still belong to one unit.
Diplomatic art has been used for centuries, facing the greatest challenges such as global changes of environment; and regardless of its remarkable usage, it remains an argumentative ever changing theme. Although, it is obvious that the ‘nature’ of the modern diplomacy is incredibly unlike to one which was used hundreds of years ago, the modern world itself changes continuously; therefore, this question arises:
Are the ‘old’ and ‘new’ diplomacies ‘divorced’, or are they in progress?

To begin, firstly, there should be an acknowledgement to what caused this separation. In short, “modern diplomacy developed alongside the growth of the modern nation states.” (Riordan, 2003: 12). As the nations’ states gradually claimed its territorial domination, the need arose for a new way of relations with other nations states. During history, and mostly in nineteen century, it was known as the ‘Westphalian system’. Although, the Westphalian system has collapsed, its significant degree of structures and operating systems of diplomacy remained. (Riordan, 2003: 12)

Furthermore, the rises of global politics, multilateral communications, non-governmental actors, technological expansion, globalization, nuclear arms development, etc., have widened a gap between the ‘new’ and ‘traditional’ diplomacy. It seems that the traditional ageing structure and procedures, designed for the world which no longer exists, have been replaced with greater efficiency.
Even thought there are many distinctions between modern and traditional methods, there are equally noticeable similarities of structure and approach to international relation. The core structural similarity is the hierarchical policy-formulation, decision-making processes and the regime of diplomatic missions, both in terms of their relations with the foreign ministry, and within the missions themselves.
For example, in the ‘new’ and ‘old’ traditions, diplomacy is still ‘state centric’ actor. The key aim is achieving national interests by cooperation and negotiation, maintaining balance of power which is essential keeping peace and status.

Also, the embassies still have the significant role in national and international missions using diplomatic methods. Despite the fact that the multilateral diplomacy is a dominant in the globalised world, however, the bilateral communications are still widely practised. Such as bilateral cooperation, treaties, sanctions, etc., in relation to economic, political, militarily, environmental, etc., agreements. The awareness towards the ‘public’, ‘summit’ diplomacy is that there will always be the high sum of secrecy and eavesdropping mistrust among nation states.
For example:

"The FBI has arrested 10 people for allegedly serving for years as secret agents of Russia's intelligence organ, the SVR, with the goal of penetrating U.S. government policymaking circles." (Fox News; June 28, 2010)
Nevertheless, the ‘telecommunications’ diplomacy plays a significant role shaping the world politics.
“One of the major changes that communications technology has shaped in diplomacy has been the restriction in ambassador’s freedom of action.” (Riordan, 2003: 13)

In the ‘Diplomacy Theory and Practice’ (2005), Berridge is concluding that, radio and television broadcasts, and website messages, are not used for direct communication between governments, only during major crisis. Also, he states that direct telephone communication is not appropriate usage, even by heads of government and senior ministers, and their secure lines do tend to be called ‘hot lines’. It seems that advancing technology is not only helping in diplomatic practise, but also brings a lot of dangers towards succeeding in a mission; as well it increases mistrust and paranoia.

“Telecommunication is vulnerable to eavesdropping. Conversations are being interrupted by the intelligence agencies of major powers. Anxiety about the security of telecommunications helps to explain why states still employ special envoys and sometimes diplomatic couriers, who envoy significant production in international law, to deliver orally or hand-carry messages of a particularly sensitive nature.” (Berridge, 2005: 102)

Moreover, the United Nations (UN) is using video-conferencing to create ‘virtual meeting’ between discussants, however, even the smartest video conference, obviously can not duplicate entirely the personal meet. (Berridge, 2005: 103) Even Smith, one of the best known apostles of ‘virtual diplomacy’, believes that ‘negotiations are best completed face to face. (Smith, 1999: 21) This proves, once again, the importance of traditional practise in diplomacy, no matter modernisation, the traditional values are still appreciated.

To conclude, contemporary politics remains highly rooted in traditional diplomatic practises. Looking fairly at modern advantages and disadvantages, we can find that ‘old’ diplomacy is relevant in contemporary world with drastic challenges of modernisation and democratisation methods.

Berridge, G. R. (2005), Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 3rd edition, (Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills)
Fox News, (June 28, 2010) Feds Bust 10 Alleged Russian Spies in U.S. from:
Riordan, S. (2003), The New Diplomacy, (Polity, Cambridge)
Roberts, I. (ed.), (2009), Satow’s Diplomatic Practice, 6th edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Friday 22 October 2010

"Old Diplomacy" is still working

The "old diplomacy" , according to G.R.Berridge , has three key features (Berridge,2005, 109-111):

  • The resident embassy

  • Bilateralism

  • Secrecy

The aim of this blog is to show that all these features still play an important role in diplomacy today.

The technology progress created plenty of new ways in which diplomats can communicate with each other. Internet allows diplomats to act in virtual sphere. Air transport have reduced distance between states significantly, which means that diplomats can reach any place in the world in less than 12 hours. The development of summitry diplomacy also reduces the importance of the institution of the resident embassy. As a result, some scholars , such as Z.Brzezinski, argues , that "if foreign ministries (and embassies) did not already exist, they surely would not have to be invented (due to the revolution information and communications technology)". However, S.Riordan notices that old telegram/cable system still remains the channel of the most important communications between foreign offices and embassies. (Riordan,2003,15) Besides, G.R. Berridge argues that the embassy in many activities such as representation, lobbying ,negotiation , information gathering is irreplacable institution . For example , during the American- mediated negotiations between Israel and Egypt , US ambassador Herman Eilts had more than 250 meetings with Egyptian leader A.Sadat, which were reported to Carter administration(Berridge,2005,125). To sum up , live communication can not be replaced by virtual one. The value of ambassador , his personal contacts and knowledge of local culture as well as political situation can not be overestimated. That's why resident embassy remains central institution in nowadays diplomacy.

Advocates of "New diplomacy" argue that secrecy has been replaced by opennes and publicity . Bilateralism has been changed by multilateralism, which means that every state has the voice in decision making. Also, proponents of "New diplomacy" emhasize human rights and the disappering gap between states and citizens. The summits of the United Nations General Assebmly, growing influence of mass media and NGO's in policy- making partly confirm these statements. However, recent events in the world politics show that bilateralism and secrecy remain extremely relevant. The best example is USA invasion in Iraq in 2003. Basicly, the invasion can be regarded as bilateral agreement between USA and United Kingdom ( and a few other states) to go to war despite huge opposition from the majority of the international community, as well as world public. The more recent event is the scandal of secret CIA prisons in Europe. It is believed , that CIA had prisons in Eastern Europe ( Poland and Romania), where extraordinary renditions" of prisoners, some of whom allegedly faced torture, were exercised( In this case , the USA made illegal and secret agreements with a few states. The European Union was not involved in the process, even though those states are the members of the EU. This story raises huge doubts if contemporary diblomacy is really so public ,democratic and influenced by citizens and organizations, such as EU, as often is declared.

Every state uses diplomacy to pursuit it's national interests . However, sometimes these interests may be immoral or even dangerous to another actor(s) . In such a case, the state has no choice, but to act secretly in order to avoid opposition. For example , if a state seeks to establish a prison in a member of the EU, it is clear that there will be no multilateral agreement on this issue, which would finally result in the failure of pursuing this particular state's interest.Therefore the methods ( secrecy and bilateralism) and tools (resident embassy) of "Old diplomacy" remain relevant in the contemporary world.

Europe's secret CIA prisons( BBC Our World doccumentary) :

The Old and New Diplomacy related to Bilateral and Multilateral Relations

Diplomacy occurs as a dialogue between independent states. When talking about diplomacy, one must understand that there are Old and New diplomacy. The Old diplomacy is done in secret and very exclusive of the public population, and it’s all about high politics. Whereas, the new diplomacy is carried out in open, and inclusive of a wider state representatives and the general public. This could be regarded as low politics.

As regards to diplomatic relationships, Berridge explained that the bilateral relations are discussions that are usually informal and well out of the public gaze. Therefore, bilateral relations are open diplomacy. However, in multilateral relations, “the parties are more numerous and procedure more complex”. In such diplomacy negotiation or prenegotiations “might be both formal and well advertised”. This is regarded as the new diplomacy. But in purpose, both bilateral and multilateral relations are similar in the sense that, states act in their own national interest.

Some scholars and diplomat see the new diplomacy as a waste of time. This could be because the new diplomacy is done openly, where information and decisions have to be taken and made by states representatives. For example, the conference on security and cooperation in Europe, which “culminated in the Helsinki Final Act in 197, took 9 months to be negotiated. Therefore, the old diplomacy is seen as a quick and effective way to reach decisions. At times diplomats may not reach a decision, during their diplomatic conferences, but it could create strong relations between states and diplomats.

Thursday 21 October 2010

The evolution of diplomacy

The evolution of diplomacy

Diplomacy as in instrument of communication between states existed also in ancient times and some authors, such as Melissen, argue that history of diplomacy goes back to 2500 BC.
However, one of the first written records about diplomats is in Homeric poems ‘Illiada and Odyssea’. Homer wrote about diplomatic mission of two Greek kings – Odysseus and Menelaus. Before the war with Troy they visited this ancient town to require returning Menelaus’s wife Helen, kidnapped by Troyan prince Paris.

Nicolson pointed out that each of them delivered his own set speech to the Assembly of the Trojans. (Nicolson,1954, 4).

The next step in evolution of diplomacy is possible to find in ancient Rome.
Nicolson points out: “Their ambassadors, who were called either nuntii or oratores, were appointed by the Senate, by whom they were provided with credentials and instructions.” (Nicolson, 1954, 17).

Although diplomacy has existed thousands of years, the ambassadors and diplomats had not a permanent residency. Since 15th century when was established first embassies is possible to say about diplomacy comparable with present.

Hamilton points out: “By the time diplomacy succeeded war as the principal buttress of security after 1454, it was firmly in place.  The title of ambassador came to be generally used to describe the resident, his accreditation became definite and his instructions carefully composed.
The most important transition was the exportation of the resident ambassador. From 1494, it was no longer possible, even with all the accumulated skills and experience of Italian diplomats and rulers, for the small states lying between Rome and the Alps to remain free from external interference.”(Hamilton and Langhorne, 2000, 35).

In the evolution of diplomacy very important factor is technological development. Faster communications and technological inventions such as telephone, the press, fax and the Internet change way of diplomacy.

However, the most significant change in the nature of diplomacy was necessity of new approaches.
White argues that the failure of diplomacy to prevent the First World War and, for some indeed, its role in actually causing that war led to a widespread belief that a new form of diplomacy was needed.
What was new in diplomacy emerged from two important ideas:
First, there was a demand that diplomacy should be more open to public scrutiny and control.
The second idea related to the importance of establishing an international organization – which initially took the form of the League of Nations – that would act both as an international forum for the peaceful settlement of disputes and as a deterrent against another world war. (White, 2005, 391).
White, B in Baylis & Smith (2005).The Globalization of World Politics,3rd edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Hamilton,K. and Langhorne,R. (1995). The Practice of Diplomacy: Its Evolution, Theory and Administration, Routledge, Oxon
Nicolson,H. (1954). The Evolution of Diplomatic Method, Constable and Company Ltd, London

Tuesday 19 October 2010

The Evolution of Diplomacy

Diplomacy has been used as a key process of communication and negotiation between states and other international elements for thousand years, starting in the Middle East and later on, in the ancient Greece, modern Europe and gradually developed around the world; simultaneously, diplomacy, kept changing its principles and practises to today, maintaining its significance all over the history. Without a doubt, diplomacy is a key concept in world politics.

“Diplomacy plays a key role in the foreign policies of states
and other international actors.” (White, 2005: 389)

There are suggestions that the traditional bilateral diplomacy is opposite to new multilateral diplomacy. However, it is more likely, that the new diplomacy is just a further development of traditional one, by means of improved adaptation towards the complex world politics; undeniably, its aim primarily is political, regarding self interests, no matter what number of players involved or whichever common goals are publicly announced. There is still a changing ‘arena’ of ‘losers’ and ‘winners’ in the final outcome of whichever settlement, since there would not be any need for negotiation in the first place. Even thought a positive compromise is possible, as it is a classical key function of diplomacy, history has demonstrated that equality is not a painless outcome.
Furthermore, confidentiality in communication between states or individual agents is still a core feature of diplomacy, no matter the height of public practise and announcements made. In this matter diplomats are the workforce of the legitimate government which works on behalf of the state and its people, who recognise the major changes of diplomacy by answering this question: who is behind the scene and what is the principle of changing agenda?

In traditional diplomacy, monarchs and their advisors, with aristocratic influence, were the rulers of the ‘game’ which was based on bilateral communications between states, concerning narrow issues of war, peace and territory. The functions of new diplomacy in world politics, however, became a multilateral communication, categorized in noticeably wider concerns with professionalized and institutionalised diplomatic practise. It evolved in nature of changing aim of the state or ruling government which was no longer only the promotion of stability, order and peace, which meant the physical security of its citizens; but also the growing concern of economic, social and environmental well being. These transformations also opened doors for the public diplomacy. It was a significant step forwards open view exchange and reduction of practised secrecy; on the other hand, it did not mean public participation in the diplomatic process as such, but rather as demand for provision of information to the public about agreements achieved. (Baylis and Smith, 2005: 391)

Nevertheless, the biggest success of public involvement would be the opportunity of criticism, which in many cases works towards improvement.
Maybe the most significant change in the new diplomacy was that states were no longer the only actors involved, and it meant they need to share the international stage with newly established international organizations which were engaged in diplomacy.
Starting point would be that intergovernmental institutions like the League of Nations, the United Nations, the European Union, the World Bank, and spreading a range of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like ‘Greenpeace’, ‘Water Aid’, 'Human Rights Watch', etc. , have strengthened growing importance of non-state actors, and flourished multilateral diplomacy. Some may simplify and say that new diplomacy is simply an outcome of globalization: technological, cultural and economic exchange, common issues such as environmental degradation, global warming, poverty and security, protection of the resources for future etc. However, the arena of new diplomacy is more multifaceted, no matter its wrong or right; it keeps changing its progressing evolution.

Good videos related to complex diplomacy:

• ‘Ahmadinejad UN speech sparks walk-outs’:


• ‘Mickey Mouse Goes to Haiti’:

Since the new diplomacy evolved after the disaster of the First World War, democratic features has appeared in new agenda especially in post-cold war era, but like everything else in a history evolved in natural sense of human behaviour and adaptation to new circumstances. Public diplomacy is a significant movement towards improving global human rights, is an opportunity to criticise global politics and be part of global change. However, here must be an acknowledgement of manipulative and dangerous public freedom which often has hidden background of participatory reasons, opinions exchanged and etc. The media is a powerful criticism apparatus, which builds conflicts and offers solutions ahead; and nevertheless, it is also a major public representative. However, society is feeble in detailed knowledge of world politics, and it is often fallowed by individual neglect or the reason of powerful and manipulative public diplomacy, which is not independent as it may look like. Simplest way to put it in the questions: who chooses the facts shown or written: are opinions expressed? Why specific factors were ignored or hidden? What is a reason of centric attention to specific personalities, countries etc?
The question arises: Is public diplomacy ethical?

A good example: ‘Mapping Stereotypes/The geography of prejudice’:

Fallowing the link above, it may look the same as a daily source of information, but it can be a source of propaganda; in other words, diplomacy is a tool which creates global problems, and at the same time, a tool which has a power to solve them.
Indeed, we are living in the globalised world which reflects high level of interdependence. This factor is also significant changing diplomacy, in matter that diverse states are forced to negotiate for global common good even with exception of more or less inequality, which is inevitable in world politics.

All in all, the use of ethics in contemporary diplomacy perhaps may not be not the most important factor, for most, but for sure, the most respectful one which aids typical understanding of its aim, shaping diplomacy’s vision and missions.
The growing concerns towards undeveloped world’s issues such as poverty, insecurity, civil wars, unequal human rights and opportunities including internal and external factors, environmental degradation, corruption, etc., is a general demonstration of changing diplomatic agenda which slowly turns from high politics based on narrow self interests, and opens to global world, which is not only political achievement, but also the achievement of all humanity. Unfortunately, there are still much more to improve, than those to be proud of.

A good video presenting global trade, which is crucial in diplomatic activities:
‘Hidden Face of Globalization Part III’:

Roberts, I. (ed.), (2009), Satow’s Diplomatic Practice, 6th edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
White, B. (2005), ‘Diplomacy’ in J. Baylis and S. Smith (eds.), The Globalization of World Politics, 3edition, (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Changes in diplomacy

Diplomacy is a class sociality. Any individual can be diplomat. She or he has to have characteristics such as truth, knowledge, charm, courage, tact, patience and intelligence. In my research I came across the article “ Diplomacy changes dramatically as Ambassadors become lobbyists”.
In the article, former Austrian ambassador Helmut Tuerk Remembers the highlights of his time in Washington. He had been travelling a lot, visited all 50 states and promoted homeland products and tourism.
His style of diplomacy shows that ambassadors are cultural and commercial emissaries who often perform the functions of public relations officials and one-person chambers of commerce. As a result of his visit, Ohio, Idaho and Virginia sent trade delegations to Austria and Austrian tourists flew to the U.S. to celebrate the new year. Helmut comments that more and more, traditional diplomacy is changing to economics-oriented diplomacy.
It is my view that diplomacy is closely related to the wellbeing of the citizens. Increasingly new diplomacy understands the needs of citizens because it is formed by citizens. It tries to make changes to benefit all.
New diplomacy introduces new principles such as openness, transparency and rough consensus into global negotiations. This can be seen in the article A new diplomacy :-

Monday 18 October 2010

The Evolution of Diplomacy

'The structure and behaviour of the diplomatic machine has always been a response to the needs of the players on the international stage.' (Hamilton, K. & Langhorne, R. (1995) The Prtactice of Diplomacy: Its Evolution, Theory and Administration. p. 67. London: Routledge.)

In their book, What is Economic Diplomacy?, Bayne and Woolcock (2003) use two definitions of diplomacy:

'The conduct of relations between states and other entities with standing in world politics by official agents and by peaceful means.'


'Diplomacy is concerned with the management of relations between states and between states and other actors.'

Bayne and Woolcock (2003) refer to the first definition as 'the classical concept of diplomacy', while they are describing the second as 'a more recent definition'. Today it is commonly accepted to distinguish between the 'new' and the 'old' diplomacy. The 'old' diplomacy is commonly characterised as being secretive, exclusive, and about high politics, and the 'new' as being open, inclusive, and with no distinction between high and low politics.

I believe that this division of diplomacy into an 'old' and a 'new' diplomacy is very vague and unsatisfying. I think that the evolution of diplomacy is an ongoing process and this process has happened and still does happen in accordance to the evolution of the international system. I therefore find it difficult to argue that one change in the nature of diplomacy is more significant than another. I actually think it is misleading to talk about a 'nature of diplomacy', as I think diplomacy is an ever-changing and unique practice. I therefore believe it is more important to look at different historical events and periods within the international system, which have affected how diplomacy has been and is conducted:

(1) 1815 (The Congress of Vienna): 5-6 great powers dominated the affairs and diplomatic practices opf Europe. There existed 'an orderliness in the conduct of international politics (...)' (Hamilton & Langhorne, 1995:89).

(2) Woodrow Wilson's fourteen points. The first point shows how diplomacy became open and inclusive: 'Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.' (Hamilton & Langhorne, 1995:154).

The first of the two above points is often seen as the beginning of the 'old' diplomacy, while the second point is seen as the beginning of the 'new'. I believe there exists many more historical happenings and periods, which have influenced the practice of diplomacy. Firstly, because the practice of diplomacy dates further back than 1815, and it is therefore necessary to have at least one other period before the 'old' diplomacy. Secondly, I think it is possible to divide the so-called 'new' diplomacy into more than just one period. I believe so because I think, hence the quote at the top of this blog entry, the nature of diplomacy changes in accordance to the changes in the international system.

My suggestion for a division of the 'new' diplomacy will therefore be as following:

(1) First World War --> Second World War: shock after the First World War, League of Nations, attempts to avoid war from happening again, etc.

(2) Second World War --> Post-Cold War: A bipolar world with the USSR and the US as superpowers, clashes but never war, NATO, The Warsaw Pact, etc.

(3) Post-Cold War: uni- or multipolar world, 9/11 terrorist attack, internationally organised enemies with no state behind them, a rise in power of NGOs, transnational cooperations, etc.

I do appreciate that the division I have produced can be divided into even more points. I believe that there exist countless events, which affect the way diplomacy is conducted. I will therefore, as mentioned earlier, suggest that there is not one 'nature of diplomacy'. I believe that diplomacy is dependent on a lot of different factors, and every single diplomatic practice differ in one way or another. This is because of the differences in details of negotiations, the relationship between states and/or other actors, the personality and ability of the diplomats, etc.

With this blo0g entry, I wanted to stress how I believe that diplomacy is an ever-changing practice which is dependent on changes within the international system.

Sunday 17 October 2010

The New Diplomacy : doors are opened

The term "New diplomacy" is complicated itself, as there is no universal agreement which kind of actors can be called 'diplomats', neither the line between 'old' and 'new' is clear . The formal view suggests that diplomacy can only be excersised by small number of officials such as ambassadors, envoys, etc. Meanwhile , the broader approach, which is used in this blog, regards foreign ministers, state leaders and even some non-state actors as diplomats. The question of the origins of the "New diplomacy" is even more complicated. For example, Satow argues that "modern diplomacy" was born in the 17th century with theTreaty of Westphalia and was finally codified in the Congress of Viena in 1815(Roberts,10, 2009) . Liberals argue that the creation of The League of Nations after WWI was the most significant change in the nature of diplomacy, which started the era of "New Diplomacy".

However, the most significant changes in the nature of diplomacy occured after WWII and, especially, after the end of the Cold War. The progress of technology and the participation of non- state actors are of paramount importance. The Mine Ban Treaty in 1999 and the creation of International Criminal Court proves that NGO's in some circumstances can achieve their goals even against the will of powerful states(Davenport,21,2002). Apart from these developments, there is one , which I regard as the most significant one. It will be illustrated below

1939/08/23, Moscow. One of the most shameful agreement in diplomatic history is made. Soviet foreign minister V.Molotov and German foreign minister J. von Ribbentrop sign the Treaty of Non-Agression between Germany and the Soviet Union. The treaty also includes secret protocol , dividing the East and North Europe to the spheres of influence of these powers. One week later Germany will attack Poland, which is in Reich's "sphere of influence". WWII will start...

1990/11/29, New York. United Nations Security Council votes for the Resolution 678. The Resolution authorize Member states to use all necessary means to make Iraq stop the occupation of Kuwait . "All necessary means" in diplomatic language means use of force. However , Iraq still has the opportunity to avoid the war , if it leaves Kuwait in six weeks time. But Sadam Hussein will not use his chance . UN authorised coalition, led by USA and United Kingdom , will launch an attack against Iraqi forces...

Now these two different cases of diplomatic practice can be compared. In the first case , despite the fact, that the agreement affected at least several states in Eastern Europe, the treaty was made only between two states. Besides , both negotiations and the final agreement remained "behind closed doors" . Even the majority of German and Soviet government members knew nothing about the negotiations. Finally, secret protocol was kept in secret so carefully, that the world found out this doccument really existed only after the WWII.

In the second case , which could be called an example of the "New Diplomacy",the decision to use the force against Iraq was made by UNSC which consisted of 15 states. Only Cuba and Yemen voted against the Resolution . The coalition wich launched an attack consisted of 34 states. Besides , the diplomatic process was open at all the time. All UN Resolutions( about 10 of them) were announced publicly. Iraq was given an opportunity to avoid the war. Finally, because of global TV channels( technology progress!) the public of the world had information about what was happening in the Persian Gulf at that moment.

Conclusions. Some states, especially powerful ones, still very often prefer secret and bilateral diplomacy. Therefore "Old diplomacy" and "New Diplomacy" coexist together in contemporary world , and both historic examples are relevent today. However, diplomacy today is more open ,public and democratic than has ever been before. That is the most significant change in the nature of diplomacy.
A clip from the BBC documentary series "Behind Closed Doors" :