Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The most important aspect of the new diplomacy

We could consider that certain period of time is required for the new diplomacy to expand to its modern characteristics, allowing its further evolution. However, there was not a natural or neutral evolution: it was evolved by the forces of political, social, and cultural dynamic conditions, few to mention: rise of the resident embassies, changing diplomatic agenda shifting from the ‘high’ to ‘low’ politics, the dominance of global imperialism, the end of Napoleonic Wars, the global states – system emerging form the European state – system, the explosion of multilateral conferences with its origins mostly devoted to peace settlements between the great powers, extend of bureaucratization, the First World War, formation of the League of Nations, and the Second World War, the United Nations, the period of Cold War, the European Economic Community, and the European Union, the role of
telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals) in modern information technology, the globalisation, etc. The new characteristic procedures associated with what in the earlier periods were, inevitably, the factors which transformed the ‘old diplomacy’ to the ‘new diplomacy’. (Berridge, 2005: 151-3)

History has shown the complex changes in political and social sphere which gradually affected the diplomatic agenda. The most important aspect of the new diplomacy is likely to be changing practises and perspectives of traditional (bilateral) institutions; the multilateral conferences and evolving nature of embassies and foreign ministries; the social and technological change such as the revolution ICT and increasing operations of summitry and shuttle diplomacy, the significance of the 'public diplomacy' and the growth of the international organisations and the NGOs, which involved public engagement in diplomatic practises. All in all, the new diplomacy shines out with a democratisation aspects and the need, more than ever before, for the international cooperation which is crucial for the new global system of high interdependence - globalisation. The fast modernisation has boosted the pressures on the value of the traditional diplomacy.

More detailed analysis below:

Furthermore, as already mentioned, the important aspect of new diplomacy is its multilateral properties , which not only promoted and helped to secure the prestige of the great powers and gave the opportunity to influence over the subjects of immediate concern, but also it advertised the other aspects of consideration like global climate change, etc. (Berridge, 2005: 154)

It suggested that the new diplomacy offers the significant concerns towards non-state actors (economic and social wealth), which have increased the growth of the IGO and the NGOs. It also perhaps suggests the fading of bilateral diplomacy in global perspective; however, it would not mean its elimination from the diplomatic practice or its shading value.

Nevertheless, the new diplomacy fallowed the indications above, gave roots to the increasing practise of public diplomacy with its aims to provide information, construct relations and prestige of the nation - states, and maybe the most importantly, to influence domestic and foreign public. However, it has also improved opportunities for propaganda provided by the revolution in mass communications.
Although, the new diplomacy considered to be an open diplomacy, which might look as a necessity in globalised world with a high extent of common interests and interdependence, yet, there also seem to be the extend of new difficulties in the modern diplomatic practise, especially concerning the security issues, such as difficulties to handle, seems ‘unlimited’, ICT and to prevent its damages on diplomatic missions, including the fact that globalisation widens the possibilities of terrorism, migration, labour exploitation and inequalities among states.

All in all, the few elements mentioned above, indeed have brought the democratisation into the diplomatic value which certainly provided the significant outcomes on the changing diplomatic practise. It started in the early years of the twentieth century by the questioning the liberal thought:
“If government were to be democratically accountable in the domestic
sphere, it fallowed that it should be similarly accountable in the international
sphere.” (Berridge, 2005: 155)

The key feature for achieving this was ‘open diplomacy’ which by practical procedures allowed some formal influence, however, limited to the smaller states. In this matter, even the 'new diplomacy' or the 'open diplomacy' can’t be recognised as fully democratic, although, equality is not fairy recognised in the global politics, which indeed, is dominated by the ‘realist’ approach. Fair or not, the ‘open diplomacy’ might be the only way in which each state has a right to be heard, however, it can’t guarantee the fair outcomes.

Comment: I do agree that in my blog I have not stated my position towards the major important aspect of the new diplomacy evidently. Nevertheless this is for the reason that I do believe there can not be one particular aspect which is of more importance than others. I think it involves few collective aspects creating the disposition of new diplomacy, such as multilateral, public diplomacy, revolution of ICT, and growth or increasing importance of NGO's and globalisation. Firstly, I tried to analyse history behind theses aspect before concluding, and secondly, I tired to conclude that those characteristics are interconnected in the new diplomacy, which finally have evolved into democratisation. I do believe that that is the most important aspect of new diplomacy.

Berridge, G. R. (2005), Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 3rd edition, (Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills)
Riordan, S. (2003), The New Diplomacy, (Polity, Cambridge)
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)

Monday, 29 November 2010

What New Aspects did the New Diplomacy introduce?

The structure of the international system has been significantly altering in both the 20th and 21st centuries. The changes that the impact of globalisation, and the growing relevance of international bodies, brought about structurally changed diplomacy. The foreign policy is also conducted differently. It now considers the public involvement, the conduct of the foreign policy is no longer secret, and is exercised on a larger scale. All of these aspects have contributed to the introduction of what we call today the ‘New Diplomacy’.

Prior to the World War I, the prevailing opinion was that states had the right to pursue their own interests at whatever cost to the international order. The independently formulated foreign policy could be conducted through diplomacy or military action (Steans, J. 2001: 21).

The first major shift is from the widespread use of hard power to the soft one as a means of negotiation.

The “carrots and sticks” paradigm has proved ineffective. Taking America as an example, Saddam Hussain had managed to resist the impact of economic sanctions for over a decade, and even the outcome of the military action did not live up to the expectations of the American (and international) public (Nye, J. 2004: 99). This has been giving way to the emphasis on the growth of cultural and public diplomacy.

Even the military service per se seems to have become obsolete. There is indeed a debate over what tasks should the troops perform in the host countries at times of intervention. They rebuild airports and schools, train the foreign police and deprive the territory of landmines (the NATO troops in Eritrea 3 years ago is a good example).

As Bob Woodward point out, the U.S. NSC is considering a similar approach to the war in Afghanistan (2010: 17, 42-43).

The second major shift is the impact of media and non-state actors.

Globalisation opened the borders, allowed a fundamental mixture of cultures, and set most of the people to move freely. It all made media stronger and gave journalists even a greater power to either help to or to deter governments from winning people’s ‘hearts and minds’. Governments now depend on media as a means of creating the public opinion as never before.

The structure of the anarchical international arena became more complex with the raise of international institutions. As a more secure way to pursue peace, after the Second World War most of the countries recognised by the Treaty of Westphalia started creating unions, signed treaties, and opted for cooperation. This led to the increase of legitimacy and power that international bodies possess. Due to this private companies and businesses amalgamated or expanded over their home countries borders. And thanks to their financial independence and multinational character, many NGOs and MNCs now have the ability to contribute to the process of creating and applying different policies (Leguey-Feilleux, J.-R. 2009: 114-118).

It is true that some major international actors (the U.S. for example) still opt for a rather unilateral approach than a multilateral one (Jetleson, B. 2010: 287). But there are two crucial points against this. First, the world is changing and those lagging behind can only lose. Leading figures such as Henry Kissinger (2002: 31) and Joseph Nye point out the necessary changes that even America should apply.

Jetleson, B. W. (2010): American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century,4th ed., London: W. W. Norton & Company Ltd.

Kissinger, H. (2001): Does America need a foreign policy? Toward a Diplomacy for the 21st Century, 2nd ed., London: Simon & Schuster

Leguey-Feilleux, J.-R. (2009): The Dynamics of Diplomacy. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc.

Nye, J. S. (2004): Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. New York: Public Affairs

Steans, J., Pettiford, L. (2001): International Relations: Perspectives and Themes. Essex: Pearson Education Limited

Woodward, B. (2010): Obama’s Wars. London: Simon & Schuster

The New Diplomacy

The most important aspect of the new diplomacy is peace-keeping and prevention of war using negotiation as an instrument to find resolution of international crisis.

White argues: “The agenda of the new diplomacy contained a number of new issues as well as a reinforcement emphasis on military security.  The avoidance of war now became a priority as the ‘new’ diplomats sought to make the First World War ‘the war to end all war’, but diplomatic activity also began to focus more on, economic, social, and welfare issues relating to material well-being.”(White, 2005, 392).

One of the most important functions of diplomacy is communication between states to find an optimal way of international relations and collaboration.
In case of a crisis it is role of crisis diplomacy to prevent a war conflict and to find resolution of a crisis.

White points out: “Crisis diplomacy refers to the delicate communications and negotiations involved in a crisis.  A crisis may be defined as a short, intensive period in which the possibility of war is perceived to increase dramatically.”(White, 2005, 392).

For peace-keeping is important the Balance of Power. This principle of foreign policy is nothing new in international relations. For example, Nicolson describes this phenomenon in diplomatic theories of a French diplomat Francois de Callieres. He served, first as a secret agent and then as an accredited envoy, in the Netherlands, Germany and Poland. Later he was appointed Secretary to the Cabinet, or Conseil d’Etat.  In his early manhood the principle of the Balance of Power represented an equilibrium, which might well have been rendered a just equilibrium, between the strength of the Austrian Empire and the strength of France.
The successive partitions of Poland were not merely unjust in themselves, but they also did lasting damage to the principle of the Balance of Power. It required almost half a century and a series of terrible wars before the statesmen of the C ongress of Vienna were able to re-establish the Balance of Power as a credible principle of foreign policy and to found a system that preserved the world from major war for exactly one hundred years. (Nicolson, 1954, 62-69).

Negotiating power depend on many circumstances. For success is important intelligence gathering.

Melissen points out: “Negotiations are carried out by people who usually act for organizations.  Diplomats, the official representatives of their countries, bring all the power and prestige of their countries to the negotiating table.  This puts the negotiations under extra pressure.  It also brings risks with it which must be limited.  Serious loss of face for diplomatic negotiators can result in serious loss of face for the country, which can lead to unforeseen consequences.”(Melissen, 1999, 86)

Melissen,J. (1999). Innovation in Diplomatic Practice, Palgrave, Basingstoke
Nicolson,H. (1954). The Evolution of Diplomatic Method, Constable and Company Ltd, London
White, B in Baylis & Smith (2005).The Globalization of World Politics,3rd edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Sunday, 28 November 2010

The most important aspect of the new diplomacy

Bilateral diplomacy is an old institution that has adapted to an increasingly globalised world and the importance of multilateral diplomacy has increased dramatically. Multilateralism took off after the First World War with the League of Nations which demonstrated the expectation that public diplomacy and a united response could lead to a more peaceful world.

The League of Nations was a response to international affairs increasingly involving several countries and a need to establish a group of states collectively addressing their challenges. The founders of the League believed that diplomacy conducted in public was likely to preserve peace more than the traditional secret diplomacy.

In order to achieve mutually beneficial solutions, multilateral organisations have been formed and a culture of collective cooperation has become pervasive in contemporary world politics as we have seen countries unite in the fight against the economic recession, terrorism and climate change. There have been multilateral trade agreements such as the World trade Organisation; states have formed alliances with multilateral common policies like the European Union and institutions like the World Bank have been set up to fight poverty.

Nongovernmental organisations also have an important role in multilateral diplomacy due to the technological advances in communication which means they can focus the attention of individuals, the media and governments onto their issues. They are committed to fighting poverty, maintaining economic stability and peace and claim to represent the interests of groups of people, normally separate from the state although these days they have become so effective that governments sometimes channel their aid money through them.

They use soft power to change the public perceptions of what governments and firms should do. For example, firms can become the targets of NGO campaigns that ‘name and shame’ companies that mistreat their workers in poor countries and because they can attract so many supporters, governments and firms have been forced take them into account.

The process of globalization in our time and the resulting problems require a united response and although governments remain the major actors in international politics, when they get it wrong, NGOs act as pressure groups and call issues to the public’s attention.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Most important aspect of New Diplomacy!

Most important aspect of New Diplomacy!

As I mentioned before Public Diplomacy really is “soft diplomacy” and looks to persuade, but unlike propaganda it uses subtle subconscious techniques. So one country’s propaganda is other country’s Public Diplomacy.
Conference Diplomacy and Public Diplomacy form constituent parts of New Diplomacy. As opposed to Public Diplomacy, Conference Diplomacy organises meetings at a government level. For instance the Congress of Paris resolved issues of the Crimean War in 1856. That touched many European countries and made them realise the importance of Conference Diplomacy. Another Conference in Berlin on behalf of Christian interests resolved unpleasant and offensive disagreement between so-called “Eastern” and “African” questions in 1878 and 1884-85. These are just few of aspects of New Diplomacy.
By looking at these two individual diplomacies which form part of New Diplomacy it is clear to me that the most important aspect of New Diplomacy, is the fact that its divided into a lot of different Diplomacies.
It is amazing that we can relate to these because each are very different. But yet they come together to form a body of diplomacy. Diversity within diplomacies means they do different jobs and with some overlapping, as a group, together, they help the governing bodies and citizenry move forward to achieve goals.
To me to be made up of different diplomacy’s gives New Diplomacy its power and is ‘the’ fundamental aspect.


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).

Public Diplomacy

Public diplomacy is very important because provide necessary information and help to build relationship and positive image in a particular country.

Leonard points out: “The purpose of public diplomacy is to influence opinion in target countries to make it easier for the British Government, British companies or other British organisation to achieve their aims.” (Leonard, 2002, 1)

British institutions, such as the British Council collaborate with institutions abroad and help to develop long-term relationship though scholarship, exchanges of experts, support training activities where are involved British lecturers etc.

Leonard argues: “In fact public diplomacy is about building relationships: understanding the needs of other countries, cultures and peoples; communicating our points of view; correcting misperceptions; looking for areas where we can find common cause.  The difference between public and traditional diplomacy is that public diplomacy involves a much broader group of people on both sides, and a broader set of interests that go beyond those of the government of the day.”

The importance of public diplomacy is possible to demonstrate on the terrorist act on 11th September. Public diplomacy was necessary and important not only during days after 11th September but also before war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Leonard points out: “In the immediate aftermath of the September events, NO 10 took over direct control of news management, working closely with the FCO to create an incident room to manage the day to day control of crisis.
Within hours, BBC World Service started a 45 hour news programme their longest ever.
Within three months, the British Council had identified £2m saving and developed initial ideas for Connecting Futures, a programme of action specifically aimed at connecting the Muslim and Christian worlds.
Over the next three months, the British Council continued to operate in Pakistan and processed 20,000 exam candidates and 5,000 Chevening scholarship applications.

The US Public Diplomacy Reaction to September 11th was next:
From September 12th, every key government speech and policy statement was produced in six languages on the day of publication and in up to 30 languages by a few days later.
‘Leaflet bombs’ dropped on Afghanistan, each with 100,000 flyers depicting, e.g. Taliban beating a group of women and bearing the message, “is this the future you want for your children and women” in Pashtun and Dari. (Leonard, 2002, 34-35)

Increased importance of public diplomacy is seen also on increased expenditures for public diplomacy after 11th September.
Leonard next points out: ”Planed US public diplomacy expenditure for FY 2003 is $595,711,000, which represents a 5.4 per cent increase over the FY 2002 funding level, and from this amount $287,693,000 is for public diplomacy activities within the Diplomatic and Consular Programs.” (Leonard, 2002, 36)

White argues: “The war against terrorism after 11 September 2001 has posed a major challenge to the role of diplomacy in global politics. This challenge has been framed within a debate about the appropriate relationship between hard and soft instruments of power.”(White, 2005, 396).

Importance of public diplomacy is seen also on visit of Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State of the US, in Pakistan where she met with Community leaders to build better relationship with the Muslim world.

In addition, President Obama during his recent visit of Indonesia proclaimed an interest of the US to improve relationship between the US and Muslim countries.

“Mr Obama finished his visit to Indonesia, where he spent four years as a boy, by acknowledging the hard work America had to do to repair relationship with Islam.
A crowd of more than 1,000 cheered as Mr Obama spoke at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta. The President used Indonesian words and phrases, and said: “Indonesia is a part of me.”
His speech was an update to the address he gave 17 months ago in Cairo, when he declared a “new beginning” in US-Muslim relations to overcome tensions over the 9/11 terror attacks and the Bush government’s response.” (Bull and Zengerle, 2010, 22).
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - During its two-year wait for a visit from President Obama, Indonesia found other ways to celebrate the country's most famous former resident. Indonesian authors produced dozens of Obama books, one of them 5,400 pages. (WASHINGTONPOST, 2010)

Building relationship is important to prevent possible terrorist attacks. For example, British Prime Minister David Cameron as a response at recent Cargo bomb plot proclaimed in the Commons:
“It is clear that we must take every possible step to work with our partners in the Arab world to cut out the terrorist cancer that lurks in the Arabian Peninsula.” (Higginson, 2010, 4)

To sum up, public diplomacy is very important for creation of positive image and building relationship not only to prevent possible terrorist attacks but also to make it easier for the British Government, British companies or other British organisation to achieve their aims.

Leonard,M. et al (2002). Public Diplomacy, The Foreign Policy Centre, London
White, B in Baylis & Smith (2005).The Globalization of World Politics,3rd edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Bull,A. and Zengerle,P. (2010), “We must heal rift with Islam Says Obama as he visits childhood home”, The Evening Standard, November 10th,22
Higginson,J. (2010), “Terrorist cancer ‘cannot be left to spread in the Arab Peninsula’”, The Metro, November 2nd, 4
Further Resources - Websites
(WASHINGTONPOST, 2010). Obama’s visit to Indonesia mixes pride with a dose of reality, available at: <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/connect/article/2010/11/08/AR2010110805103.html> [13 November 2010]

Friday, 12 November 2010

A Saving Face of Public Diplomacy

The public diplomacy is a powerful tool which constructs international relations for better or for worst. It is considered to be the 'soft power' in political practise, indeed, a smart way to gain self interests and strengthen national influence in international system; promoting national culture, values, and development. It might be observed as far more open, peaceful, democratic diplomacy, however, at the same time, it can be very manipulative performing in the direction of nation state's interests, or emerging need to mislead vulnerable society, gaining support for the governmental actions.

The public diplomacy could be widely disregarded. From one hand, it could give a bad name to diplomatic practise, on the other had, it may be suggested, perhaps it is inevitable knowing that politics is likely to have a strong origin of nationalism, which spreads 'disease' in international relations.

This blog will try to look at one element of the public diplomacy – individual representatives and their importance in shaping world politics.

If the public diplomacy is to one side of the ‘soft power’, the US President Barack Obama perhaps the best representative of its practise:

Obama jokes at White House Correspondents' dinner:


President Obama plays a key role in the US foreign policy making, which is more or less successful from side to side building effective public diplomacy.

Like most of the world leaders, with goals to be a good representative of the nation, promoting its culture and values, building good international relations, and negotiating for the best deal of the state interests, indeed, public diplomacy is a significant, essential tool in modern diplomatic practise.

However, the public diplomacy is seemed to be very diverse in the sense of who is behind the scene and what a purpose of use is. For instant, diplomats or elected representatives can be seen as the public ‘face’ of the state or organization chosen for specific purpose to fill needed role. In this matter, individual representative can’t be detected as the ‘body’ of the organisation and this suggests the possibility of being manipulative organism, which doesn’t illustrate the true leaders behind the action.

Although, extraordinary individual qualities of President Obama have helped to aid the US international relations and increase trust of American government among people home and abroad, especially after the end of the Iraq War, reminds that personality matters shaping diplomatic cooperation, building prestige and peace. However, successful outcomes come to straight decisions making of the agreed strategy, not just attractive, sympathetic talking.

Few issues:

  • "Outcome of G20 summit in Seoul in doubt after talks between US and Chinese leaders to end tensions over trade…The Beijing leadership criticised the Obama administration as pursuing policies harmful to free trade and today stepped up the attacks.”



· There are many questions on the will Obama face a primary challenger on expected re-election campaign in 2012 - “The guessing game goes on President Obama, weakened by his midterm “shellacking,” has to worry both about the newly empowered Republicans and about the possibility of a primary challenge from his left.”


The public diplomacy could help to increase international cooperation, fairer understanding of the international issues and the common interests, open negotiations with NGO's and other non-sate actors, also increase public awareness and engagement in politics, and perhaps the most importantly it is more open diplomacy with en area of the certain level for criticism towards decision making, etc.. However, it also raises production of the international propaganda, which weakens international security and relationship between sates, spreads competition, and ‘game strategy ’using media and other tools to influence international society wining public support or the best seat in international 'market'.

My point is that public diplomacy can be very diverse with conflicting outcomes. It might suggest that in the end, the building international reputation and prestige is not the most important aim of diplomacy. Finally, it might be, that to the day diplomacy will keep its practise based on national interests and ‘zero-sum' game, without effective actions working on international common goals and minimization of nationalism, there will be lack of encouraging transformation in international system, what it may be the major goal of diplomacy in its nature.

To end, just a suggesting idea, not a fact:


Thursday, 11 November 2010

Public diplomacy

The BBC's director of global news, Peter Horrocks, has delivered a warning about the impact of government cuts on the BBC World Service, which operates in 32 countries. According to Horrocks, reduction of 25% could have bad consequences,as "the importance of communications, as a component of public diplomacy and 'soft power', has risen commensurately.( http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/oct/12/bbc-world-service-peter-horrocks)

This blog will examine the question of how important public diplomacy is in world politics and what consequences the reduction of investment in ‘soft power’ may have.

The conflict in Afghanistan between NATO and Taliban troops has shown , that modern wars can not be won solely by using hard power anymore . NATO forces have been for almost ten years in Afghanistan now, but the great instability and anarchy remain the reality of the state. Bombs and guns are simply not effective enough, because, as D.Hofman notices, “the more force is used to retaliate, the more fuel is added to terrorists” ( Hofman,83, 2002). Many people in the Muslim world still consider O.bin Laden to be “a holy man” . (Hofman , 83, 2002). Meanwile , USA remains an evil enemy. Unless these perceptions are overcomed, the victory against fundamentalism is impossible. Therefore the outcome of the war on terrorism depends not on the successes or failures in the battlefield, but on ability to win people hearts and minds.

The solution is using “soft power”, which is about changing people minds and perceptions. It is about getting others to want same outcomes you want. “Soft power “ can be exercised in many different ways, such as supporting democracy, civil society and economic growth in the Muslim world. H. K . Feinn argues , that cultural exchanges and reforming educational systems in Arab states are of paramount importance( Feinn, 16-17, 2003) . Nye argues, that many Arabs misunderstand , fear or oppose American policies, but they share values such as religious belief, family and desire for democracy( Nye,121, 2004). In other words, all the necessary conditions to exercise “soft power” in the Arab world exist.However, USA failes to use this opportunity.

In order to shape positive image of USA and Western world , words are no less important than actions. In 1930’s Roosvelt administration realised that “ America’s security depended on its ability to speak to and to win support from other countries”( Nye, 101,2004) . As a result intstitutions , responsible for public diplomacy were established ; Radio American Voice and Radio Free Europe were set up . After 9/11 G.W. Bush attempted to revive this policy , but he failed. Firstly, G.W. Bush Administration’s public diplomacy was based on counterpropaganda (Hofman, 85, 2002). However, propaganda may have been effective in the Cold War era, but not in “the age of information” anymore. Secondly , President’s words differed from his actions( hard power). Finally, the President’s Administration failed to understand that public diplomacy is a two-way process, which involves not jus talking, but also listening. On the whole, public diplomacy was used as tool to support government’s policy. The fact, that in the eve of the invasion to Iraq, 88% of Americans believed that Baghdad supported terrorist organizations is a shocking proof…( Dumbrell,2005, 36).

However , media remains the vital tool to pursue “Soft power”. According to Hoffman , the key in the fight against terrorism is supporting open media( Hofman, 88, 2003). Thefore , USA should support independent media in all Muslim states, including Afghanistan . These channells may not be very friendly to the USA. However, objective and independent journalism is able to refute anti- American propaganda, which is created by some Muslim states’ national televisions . Besides, the freedom of expression and independent media creates conditions for democracy, or at least reduces extremism. It encourage people to think critically , and to get rid of ideological indocrination. Also , the USA should broadcast its own programmes such as American Radio, which would be free of open counterpropaganda.

Note: All three scholars , who were cited in this blog(J.S. Nye in the book “Soft Power: the means to success in world politics” , D.Hoffman in article “ Beyond public diplomacy” and H. K. Finn in article “Case for cultural diplomacy - engaging foreign audiences ) agree, that USA has reached so little progress on the war on fundametalism because it failes to use the opportunities of “soft power” and public diplomacy. One of the reasons why it failes is lack of financial investment after the Cold War.

Even though the blog examined the policy of USA , the conclusions can be applied to every state, including the United Kingdom. Every pound spent on public diplomacy today, may help to save hundreds of pounds on military budget tomorrow, as the one may help to prevent wars.Therefore UK government should think very carefully before making decision to cut expences on BBC World Service.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Public Diplomacy

Public diplomacy refers to government efforts to promote their national interests through direct outreach with the citizens of a foreign country. The United States government used the United states Information Agency (USIA) to help combat soviet propaganda during the cold war but after the Soviet Union dissolved, the USIA’s role dwindled and eventually was abolished in 1999 and then merged into the state department. After the 9/11 attacks, the United States strengthened its public diplomacy efforts when it waged war on international terrorism. In recent years there have been many calls upon the U.S administration to improve its public diplomacy. The Public Diplomacy Council says, “Effective public diplomacy is vital to a successful American foreign policy. In the war on terrorism, public diplomacy can play a critical role combating misinformation, enabling us to better understand our world, providing accurate information about the U.S. and helping people around the globe to understand this nation, our values and our policies.” - (http://publicdiplomacycouncil.org//uploads/Call_for_Action_2d_Ed_Oct_05.pdf).

However, U.S diplomacy isn't all about the war against terror. President Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, began a ten day trip to Asia on 6 November 2010 to encourage India to open its markets and thus create more jobs for America. During their stay they were taken on a tour of the Taj Mahal and Pictures appeared all over the newspapers and internet of the president and his wife dancing with children at a high school in Mumbai during Diwali celebrations.

Obama paid his respects to victims of the terror attacks, praised India on their economic rise and backed India’s bid for a UN permanent seat.

The President was clearly determined to win the trust and respect of India and conveyed this in his speeches. At one point he made a reference to one of India’s most influential figures, Mahatma Ghandi saying, "I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as president of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared and inspired with America and the world." It is not the first time the president has made an effort to reach out to the Indian population. In a speech that demonstrates the revolutionary changes of communication, in 2009 the white house posted a video message of Obama wishing a happy Diwali.

Public Diplomacy

According to the definition of public diplomacy it is the political knowledge of America. To promote the good things about America and represent it to other countries. In my opinion the television show ‘Friends’ is a good example of public diplomacy. The amazing creators are David Crane and Marta Kauffman. The story between six friends and every day social life. The actors who played in the sitcom are :

Jennifer Aniston
Rachel Green (238 episodes, 1994-2004)

Courteney Cox
Monica Geller (238 episodes, 1994-2004)

Lisa Kudrow
Phoebe Buffay (238 episodes, 1994-2004)

Matt LeBlanc
Joey Tribbiani (238 episodes, 1994-2004)

Matthew Perry
Chandler Bing (238 episodes, 1994-2004)

David Schwimmer
Dr. Ross Geller (238 episodes, 1994-2004)

In this series there is a lot of political undertones relating specifically to public diplomacy. The theory is shown by the use various techniques giving opinion on what America thinks about other counties like Russia. It also gives underlying opinion on different faiths including Judaism, Catholicism and various traditions like “Thanks Giving and Christmas”. It is really worth to watch.

Public diplomacy really is ‘soft diplomacy’ and looks to persuade but unlike propaganda it uses subtle subconscious techniques.

The reason I’ve mentioned friends is because Communist dictatorships such as North Korea would see a TV show such as this as pure propaganda and would think it was created by the American capitalists to spread their agenda and disrupt the communist rule, therefore taking the power away of the dictatorship, which of course is what a dictatorship fears most. Loss of power.

So one country’s propaganda is another country’s Public diplomacy!

To illustrate the point, even recently it was widely reported that the North Korean dictatorship told it’s citizenry that North Korea won 3-0 against Brazil in the world cup, when, in fact, they lost. Could this be viewed as Communist Public diplomacy??

Out of the two, I know which type of public diplomacy I prefer.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

A diplomatic historical event...

Since appearing, the League of Nations has been the gateway of diplomacy since 1919. Before the league of nations Old diplomacy or traditional diplomacy was the usual political intercourse between governments.
Ambassadors or ministers were given tasks as both intermediaries and informants. As an informant, the ambassador or minister had to talk about the internal conditions of the country he was in. As an intermediary, ambassador or minister he had to present the interests of his hosts and the country he was in.

It was and still is a very prestigious job to be a diplomat. Diplomats of traditional diplomacy often came from a good, well-mannered schools. Although a criticism of such diplomacy could be that only rich people can become diplomats. Also, the Old diplomacy had characteristics of being behind closed doors and secret. They usually held conferences between great powers in Europe.

There were two international conferences in 1899 and 1907 in the Hague which changed the course of international diplomacy.

Critics charged that the conferences were a failure and the implementation of the “Hague System” was prevented by the war but some of its elements can be seen in the League of Nations.

There was another organisation created after the outbreak of war in 1914. A group of prominent public leaders such as William Howard Taft, founded the League to Enforce Peace in 1915. The League to Enforce Peace pressed for the submission of future international disputes to arbitration and for sanctions against those countries who refused to submit their disputes to the pacific settlement. Citizens in Great Britain organised other similar organisations, like the League of Nations, which were in the interests of the Fabians. They were many other organisations developed also.
It purely says that League of Nations were a victim of Old Diplomacy. I do think the old or traditional diplomacy has a contemporary relevance judging by the outcome of United Nations.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Would there ever be an egg without the chicken?

Explaining the contemporary relevance of the Old Diplomacy.

Due to the rapid wide development and consequent changes of our lives introduced throughout the 21st century, the conduct and character of Diplomacy as such has naturally changed. Globalisation, IT progress, summitries, international organisations, NGOs, journalists and secret agents performing a sort of low diplomacy work instead of the actual diplomats, the threat of a global cyberwar - those are just a few factors that have had impact on the traditional diplomacy.

But are really resident missions over? Do states no longer need embassies in the form of official physical buildings? Is the once widely used diplomatic secrecy policy obsolete?

Looking at the historical evolution described by Berridge and Leguey-Feilleux in their textbooks, one can clearly see that diplomacy has been altering since the very first day it appeared. Yes, significant adjustments appeared over time, such as the replacement of the envoys by permanent embassies in the second half of the fifteenth century (Berridge, G. R. 2005: 109). As Berridge clearly points out, ‘The transformation of diplomacy into a profession was a slow and fitful process’ (2005: 112). However, there was no point in the history where diplomacy completely changed its character, leaving all tradition and original rules behind.

Let’s have a look at the features the ‘New Diplomacy’ has retained from the ‘Old’ one.

First of all, the protocol. Needed as a basic procedure to make meetings easier and enable the officials to concentrate on problematic issues, the protocol is still necessary and therefore commonly used. Here comes an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8VRLEPWnyY&feature=related.

In addition, as special envoys and later resident diplomats in the medieval times were expected to be of a certain social status in order to represent the prestige of the prince, we have well-trained and in case of the US Ivy League Schools-educated diplomats today.

It emerged naturally that as the number of nation states increased, bilateral diplomacy shifted to a ‘multilateral’ one, after the First World War in particular (Berridge 2005: 114). On the other hand, bilateral diplomacy cannot be viewed as completely forgotten. Even if unsuccessful, bilateral diplomacy is still used. The Arab-Israeli conflict is a good example.


Another retained factor is immunity. As set by the VCDR (Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations), diplomatic agents still remain immune from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving state. One of the examples would be the case of the former KGB official Andrei Lugovoi, who is believed to cause the polonium poisoning and consequent death of Alexander Litvinenko. In attempt to end the sanctions imposed by the Labour Government 4 years ago, as well as heavy visa restrictions on Russian officials visiting London, Russia has recently proposed William Hague the honour of direct talks with Dmitry Medvedev. The Crown Prosecution Service is demanding the extradition of Lugovoi, whom it wished to charge over murder. Russian response is that would be against their constitution. Here comes the link:


Berridge points out the argument that the technology of travel and communications has advanced to a degree where resident embassies are no longer needed. The international mass media, internet and phone calls might be sufficient. The counterargument to this is the role of local representatives, diplomats who acquire the local culture, language, and become familiar with domestic issues that have impact on a country’s foreign policy. The personal relationship, which career diplomats create between them, often influences the negotiation process. This can be clearly viewed for instance in Leonard Woodcock’s career.


At last but not at least, the secrecy within diplomatic relations comes to mind. One could argue it has disappeared and is no longer used. But do/will we not need secret talks in case of a webwar? The cyber threats become more dangerous with every little IT advance. How about the blast in Siberia in 1982; the penetration of Central Command in late 2008 (wars in Iraq and Afganistan); or the online violations performed by Russia during the conflicts with Estonia and Georgia? In fact, it is not precisely known what capacities such attacks may have and who would win a hypothetical cyberwar. Iran, Russia, China, American CIA, or...someone else (The Economist, “War in the fifth domain”, July 3rd 2010)?