What is the role of diplomacy in contemporary international politics?

Topics: International relations, Diplomacy, Diplomatic rank Pages: 5 (1658 words) Published: October 6, 2009
What is the role of diplomacy in contemporary international politics?What is the role of diplomacy in contemporary international politics? There is little doubt that diplomacy has changed vastly from its humble origins of fifteenth century Italy however the question remains; does diplomacy, in the truest sense still have a place in our modern world and if so how has diplomacy so dramatically changed from 'a diplomatic culture' that at the time underpinned international society' to still play a role in international affairs.

'The word diplomacy is derived from the Greek diploma, meaning a folded document, and is linked to the study of official handwriting and the idea of credentials confirming the claims of the bearer' To truly understand the role of diplomacy in a modern context one must first define the scope and parameters of the term.

What essentially is needed is and up to date definition which characterize diplomacy as it is, a many dimensional form of political action, and thereby draw a sharp focus both on its limitations and its potential. In this way, with and acute understanding, diplomacy can be utilised to effectively as a medium to potential military conflicts between nations, namely war.

For the purpose of this argumentative essay, diplomacy will be defined in the broad sense as the entire process through which states conduct their foreign relations. Diplomacy is the art and science of international relations. Diplomacy is a discrete human practice constituted by the explicit construction, representation, negotiation and manipulation of necessarily ambiguous identities. Diplomacy is essentially a quest for power of spheres of influence. Gathering and dispensing information, reporting, and negotiating, along with other means, simply serve as a means to these ends. On this understanding, diplomacy covers not only the traditional diplomatic functions-representation of sovereigns, negotiation with other sovereigns, collection of intelligence, conveying of messages and perhaps the minimisation of friction, but also most if not quite all of the processes of foreign policy formulation by state governments.

Diplomacy has two faces. On the one hand it is the vehicle through which a state asserts itself and represents its concerns to the world. However, diplomacy is also one of the principal means for conciliating, competing national interests. Thus diplomats must walk a dangerous line, balancing the need to protect their indigenous state's interests against the wish to avoid conflict with other states. In modern times some aspects of diplomacy have flourished and indeed become less conflictual and more cooperative. States who are members of NATO and the EEC are growing closer, with closer ties between nationsThe growth of interdependence amongst states and the expansion of the old Eurocentric state system into a global international society, has brought in its wake the emergence of an increasingly multilateral style of diplomacy. 'If the role of the resident ambassador has been substantially modified in the course of the twentieth century, this is at least in part because of the explosion in the number of conferences attended by three or more states, an explosion that is to say in multilateral diplomacy' . The role of the resident ambassador and his mission has declined in relation to that of other conductors of international business. The resident ambassador, in modern times has been frequently bypassed by heads of state and other ministers, who meet frequently in direct encounters. Multilateral management is essential for many issues that involve cooperative arrangements among governments. This being the case with such exemplars as arms control and perhaps the more poignant ever present threat of terrorism from paramilitary organisations. More states and new actors have required representation and subsequently gained greater power in terms of global politicsIn terms of modern diplomacy, the example this...
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