Essay on Diplomacy: The Changing Scenario
Protocol may not be the most exciting area of international relations, but every foreign ministry maintains a protocol department. Protocol goes as far back as there have been contacts between states, with evidence of diplomatic protocol being found in reliefs at Persopolis. The twentieth century has witnessed a growing informality in the practice of diplomacy, though there is always the underlying necessity, in the existing Westphalian system based on the sovereign equality of states, that states must see that they are being treated equally.(1) The trend towards informality in the treatment of individuals as representatives of their state is underpinned by the evolution of formulas which assure that all states are, and are seen to be, treated as equals. Protocol concerning permanent diplomatic missions between states is now well established, but the area which is seeing the most innovation is that involving meetings between leaders.(2) Historically, personal meetings between rulers of states were infrequent before the nineteenth century, the logistics of travel making such meetings difficult.(3) Developments in technology and transport have made meetings easier and safer to arrange, and there has been a vertical rise in summitry since 1960. Little changed in the protocol of meetings between leaders until the twentieth century boom in summitry, when protocol has had to evolve in order to facilitate political leaders’ desire to meet. The result has been, for the most part, a further relaxation in protocol. Venue
The problem of where to hold meetings is often caused by the implied prestige conferred upon the host, as well as the opportunities provided by the host to utilize this role. The problems of venue are not new. Initially, neutral areas were used because of the mutual suspicion of leaders. The fifteenth-century meeting between Edward IV of England and Louis XI of France on a bridge is symptomatic...
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