Sunday, 16 January 2011

My understanding of diplomacy today

Before doing this module, I had a very basic understanding of diplomacy and a lack of insight into the multi-dimensional dynamics of contemporary diplomacy. I assumed that a diplomats job was basically to spy in a foreign country and safeguard their national interests. It is true that diplomats safeguard their national interests but I now know more about the complex nature of the job and the crucial role it plays in foreign relations. I've learned that with the evolution of diplomacy, contemporary diplomacy requires new methods of approach to achieve the objective of peace and and the idea of peace has changed to mean much more than just the absence of war. For example, I mentioned in my earlier blog that Obama recorded a Diwali message for Indian's celebrating the festival all over the world and it was very well received. But some of the new approaches aren't necessarily good for diplomacy as we have seen recently with UN Envoy Jan Pronk in Sudan over comments he made about the Sudanese government on his personal blog. He wrote "The morale in the government army in North Darfur has gone down. Some generals have been sacked; soldiers have refused to fight... Security Council resolutions which forbid armed mobilisation are being violated." The Sudanese government accused him of psychological warfare and he was ordered to leave the country. This situation also shows how much diplomacy has changed from when it was a discrete profession. The BBC said of his blog “His blog was startlingly detailed, the kind of information that is normally sent back, encoded, only to national capitals. Sometimes in a one-on-one talk, a journalist can get something similar from a lively envoy, but to get it in the raw on the internet is an innovation.” I also learned that more multi lateral diplomacy is carried out than on a bilateral basis and that this has allowed for new actors such as Non Governmental Organisations to play an important role in international organisations and this also meant that the exclusivity of overseas knowledge to the old diplomats came to an end.Overall, I have learned a few interesting things and especially that being a diplomat isn't all about champagne receptions.

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