International Relations

Topics: Diplomacy, International relations, Diplomat Pages: 7 (2225 words) Published: April 29, 2014
The Functions of Diplomacy
Diplomacy has existed since the beginning of the human race. The act of conducting negotiations between two persons, or two nations at a large scope is essential to the upkeep of international affairs. Among the many functions of diplomacy, some include preventing war and violence, and fortifying relations between two nations. Diplomacy is most importantly used to complete a specific agenda. Therefore without diplomacy, much of the world’s affairs would be abolished, international organizations would not exist, and above all the world would be at a constant state of war. It is for diplomacy that certain countries can exist in harmony. There has not been a documented start of diplomacy; however there have been instances ranging back to the 5th century where diplomacy arose in certain nations. Dating back to 432 B.C, the Congress of Sparta was an “illustration of diplomacy as organized by the Greek City States” (Nicolson 1). The origin of the word “diploma” comes from different sides of the earth. In Greece diploma meant “folded in two”, while in Ancient Rome the word was used to describe travel documents. Often times the word diplomacy is given many meanings. Many times will the words “policy” and the word “negotiation” be seen as synonyms; hence the word “diplomacy” and “foreign diplomacy” are deemed to be similar (Nicolson 3). These “synonyms” of diplomacy are all faulty. While they may be very similar in some cases, they are not the exactly the same. Sir Harold Nicolson who was an English Diplomat born in Tehran, Persia, states that: “Diplomacy is neither the invention nor the pastime of some particular political system, but is an essential element in any reasonable relation between man and man and between nation and nation” (Nicolson 4). For the upkeep of the International System, diplomacy is used in every corner of the world. Without it many nations would not be able to conduct successful negotiations. While many are not able to find a clear beginning or creation of diplomacy, modern diplomacy has become much more advanced and many aspects have changed over the years. The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 created the first modern diplomatic congress in addition to creating a new world order in central Europe based on state sovereignty. Much of Europe began to change after the introduction of modern diplomacy. For example, “France under Cardinal Richelieu introduced the modern approach to international relations, based on the nation-state and motivated by national interest as its ultimate purpose” (Kissinger 17). The New World Order began to bloom in all of Central and Western Europe. Great Britain argued for the “balance of power” which kept European diplomacy alive for the next 200 years (Kissinger 17). Every country in Europe contributed a little to the diplomacy the world has today. The balance of powers theory that many famous realists such as Francsesco Sforza, Machiavelli, and Guiciardini argued was and still is an essential component of modern diplomacy. Many could argue that diplomacy is a product of society and history itself. As countries progress different aspects are added to diplomacy. Separation of powers, national interest, and a country’s sovereignty are only a few elements that were added to modern diplomatic history. Therefore, diplomacy can be seen as an ever-changing concept, the same way International Relations between countries fluctuate. Author of The Pure Concept of Diplomacy José Calvet De Magalhães stated that “continuity of the diplomatic institution throughout thousands of years and in all known civilizations shows that diplomacy is an institution inherent to international life itself, one that may undergo transformations or may be used with more or less intensity, but cannot be dispensed with” (Szykman). As Henry Kissinger states “By pursuing its own selfish interests, each state [is] presumed to contribute to progress, as if some...

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Berridge, G. R. Diplomatic Theory From Machievelli to Kissinger. New York: Palgrave, 2001.
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Written for: Dr. Houshang Ameri
Date Written: October 9, 2009
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