How relevant is Track II Diplomacy?
1. What is Track II Diplomacy?
The concept ‘Track II Diplomacy’ was ‘coined in 1981 by Joseph Montville’ (Jones 2008). The concept was used to refer to the growing number of unofficial dialogues taking place with respect to conflict resolution. Montville defined Track II Diplomacy as being: …unofficial, informal interaction among members of adversarial groups or nations with the goals of developing strategies, influencing public opinion, and organizing human and material resources in ways that might help resolve the conflict (Montville 1992). Similarly, McDonald (1991) defined Track II Diplomacy as ‘unofficial, non-governmental, analytical, policy-oriented, problem-solving efforts by skilled, educated, experienced and informed private citizens interacting with other private citizens.’ The participants of Track II are usually expected to have access to government officials so that their thinking is not far off track (Kaye 2005). In this case, the outcomes of Track II can have the prospect to be accepted in the official policy making process (ibid.). 2. How relevant is Track II Diplomacy?
The question as to the relevancy of Track II Diplomacy can be answered by examining its rationale. Track II Diplomacy is resorted to for several reasons; four of which are examined in this essay. It is resorted to when official communication between conflicting parties is ‘tense or non-existent’ (ibid.). A case in point is the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict which saw no official dialogue between the two parties (Leguey-Feilleux 2009). However, through the use of Track II, an official Georgian-Ossetian negotiation process was established (ibid.). Track II is also resorted to when official communication between conflicting parties may be controversial (ibid.). For example, a government may want to open communication with another that it may not have officially recognized, and therefore, any official contact is likely to attract severe...
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