Modern World Affairs

Topics: International relations, Diplomacy, Diplomatic rank Pages: 6 (2187 words) Published: April 17, 2013
In Modern world affairs, diplomacy is less and less important in shaping relations between political actors. Do you agree? If so, why? If not, why not?

The process of globalisation has affected the role of traditional diplomacy, which was originally confined to predominately deal with issues of war and peace between two political bodies. Traditional diplomacy is as a result, in a state of anachronism and is deemed losing its influential power in post-modern international relations (Leguey-Feilleux 2009, pp.1-2). Despite this, traditional diplomacy is still relevant in that it is capable of broadening and deepening the content and conduct of its role in current international affairs and in shaping the relations between different political actors. The art of diplomacy has undergone an evolution in scope and dimension in order to be used as a versatile tool to adjust to the current global environment, despite being a useful tool even in its traditional capacity (Leguey-Feilleux 2009 p.14). Therefore, although the narrow classical mode of diplomacy is being challenged, diplomacy in the modern world is as important as ever, if not more so, and has developed the ability to adapt to today’s turbulent modern world. This paper firstly defines diplomacy with a brief historical evolution of the art and investigates how globalisation impacts on diplomatic roles. It then discusses and analyse the importance of diplomacy in the modern sphere.


The conventional definition of diplomacy, that is, “the peaceful way of relations between political entities with their accredited representatives such as envoys and ambassadors by communication, interaction and negotiation” (Siracusa 2010, p.2), has been around for many centuries and has been evolving over time. Traditional diplomacy was primarily considered to be “the art of managing bilateral relations between states” (Siracusa 2010, p.6) and was viewed as a very rigid institution. Although diplomacy is still holding to the traditional practical grounds in the current international political realm, diplomacy is no longer limited to war and peace as in previous centuries and needs to been extended to deal with many issues which would be difficult to do under traditional diplomatic methodology. The traditional institution was characterised as bilateral diplomacy, and greatly focused on making treaties between two sovereign-states with its diplomatic norms typically embodied by professional diplomats (Sirasa 2010, p.6). This diplomatic method was particularly recognised during the periods of the Italian city-states in the fifteenth century when Italy appointed the first permanent ambassadors (Saner & Yiu 2003, p.9). A sovereign state would traditionally send an envoy to other political entities that had equal powers to conclude treaties and prevent wars (Rana 2007 p. 23). Then came the modern era of diplomacy, which is said to have started with the Peace of Westphalia, the Westphalia peace negotiations, at the end of the Thirty Years War in 1648. This event saw diplomacy officially recognised as a profession (Siracusa 2010, p.2). The major turning point in diplomacy however, was between 1914 and 1918, when many nation states began to proclaim that ineffective traditional sovereignty such as the bilateral and secret system of diplomacy was a major cause of the First World War (Siddiqui & Alam 2010, p. 28). Woodrow Wilson, as a result of these claims, insisted that diplomacy should be more open and democratic in order to involve multiple states, which led to the emergence of a new style of diplomacy embedded in an open and multilateral system under the League of the Nations (Siddiqui & Alam 2010, pp. 28-29). These changes allowed new international institutions to emerge (Pigman 2010, p. 23). Diplomacy since then has further evolved as a result of globalisation and can no longer be considered...
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