Tuesday, 7 February 2012


Thursday, 7 October 2010

New blogs on the New Diplomacy

The students posting their thoughts on this blog have now completed the module. I have set up a series of new blogs for the students who are about to start the module this week. Please follow and comment on their work at:


Thursday, 6 May 2010


The integration of NGOs in diplomacy has increased the field for many players,

many NGOs will respond to local and global dynamics in a way that is distinct from local social actors and community based organizations, employing different strategies.

According to the US Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott, "[I]n Bosnia, nine agencies and departments of the US government are co-operating with more than a dozen other governments, seven international organisations and thirteen major NGOs...to implement the Dayton Accords."

"multilevel involvement of NGOs (non-governmental organisations) in 

every aspect of international negotiations has revitalised many debates with new approaches and new options, but also stifled the ability of traditional sovereign actors to operate unimpeded in their own system. In almost every instance, the state must "share the stage with sovereignty-free actors", as Lewis Rasmussen negatively defines them"  




Nye divides the purposes of public diplomacy into three distinct dimensions.

"....requiring different relative proportions of direct government information and long term cultural relationship:

The first and most immediate dimension is daily communication, which involves explaining the context of domestic and foreign policy decisions...The day to day dimension is strategic communication, in which a set of simple themes is developed, much like what occurs in a public campaign...The third dimension of public diplomacy is the development of having relationships with key individuals over many years through scholarships, exchanges, training, seminars, conferences and access to media channels....Each of these three dimensions of public diplomacy plays an important role in helping to create an attractive image of a country and this can improve its prospects for obtaining its desired outcomes."

Therefore as Nye defined public diplomacy has mainly three interpretations, which are "firstly information: information management and distribution with an emphasis on short term events or crises. Secondly influence: longer term persuasion campaigns aiming to effect attitudinal change amongst a target population( sometimes referred to as 'moving the needle') and Thirdly engagement:  building relationships, also over the long term, to cultivate trust and mutual understanding between peoples( be they groups, organizations, nations, ect.)"(JRKelley)

A good example of use of public diplomacy:

After the 9/11and war in Iraq as USA gained a bad reputation, they were seen as bullies by the other states.

However as Obama was opposed to the war in Iraq and with his reliance on communication and dialogue rather than coercion and power. As well as his speech in Cairo, where he address the tension between the United States and Muslims around the world. "I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings."(Times)


President Obama Speech to Muslim World in Cairo- http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/04/us/politics/04obama.text.html


Monday, 3 May 2010

Diplomacy and My Understanding of It

Looking back at the beginning of this module and what I had written in the first lecture has made me realise, that what I wrote was relevant but it was very narrow. I had only basic knowledge of diplomacy. Throughout this module, my understanding of diplomacy has grown and deepened.

Diplomacy was used in the past in high politics and was secretive. Diplomacy was thought to be associated with a group of elites and influential people. Even though this was the case in the past, diplomacy has evolved and there are more actors involved in the present. Diplomacy does not involve states and official representatives alone, it has become more inclusive. This is what is called the ‘New Diplomacy’.

Diplomacy is a term which encompasses different factors. There is that of the practice of diplomacy (the negotiations and communication) and the mode of behaviour (the way of behaving when dealing with states and officials). Diplomacy is also an art as tact and protocol are key factors to keep in mind.
To be an official diplomat is no easy task as one has to be always aware of what one is saying and how one is saying it. The information disclosed should be that which is necessary, never too much or too little. And one should always talk on behalf of the state and never give one's own opinion.
Diplomacy is the political interaction between states in the international system. But it is no longer between states only, with the increasing role of emerging NGOs and non-state actors nowadays, this has changed.

Diplomacy is concerned with the low politics in the present as well. Often, these issues are brought to the table by NGOs. Especially with the issue of the environment in the present, NGOs have had a big influence. Climate change has been put on the agenda because NGOs have shed light and emphasised its importance. The activeness of NGOs was seen on the road to the Copenhagen Summit in December 2010.

Apart from this, I was not aware of the different opinions on diplomacy among scholars. Such as the debate about when is it that diplomacy first started and whether non-state actors and NGOs play an important role in diplomacy. There are no wrong answers, just different perspectives.

Also it is incredible how significant the role of the media is in public diplomacy nowadays. An example of this is embassies having Youtube accounts. The flow of information nowadays is unbelievably quick. As soon as something happens, the news of this can be accessed on the internet anywhere in the world. This is sometimes said to undermine the embassies and the official staff required to report back. But one can never substitute the credibility of an official staff by that of a news channel. When negotiations take place, the information and the outcome is available to the public, forming a so called ‘Open Diplomacy’. But this does not mean that issues are no longer discussed behind closed doors. It has tried to be more open, but it cannot be completely.

Diplomacy has definitely changed in the last few decades and public opinion has become quite important. It no longer deals with the sole interest of the states; this is again due to the media and how quickly the flow of information is. Diplomacy has evolved during the past decades and will continue to do so due to globalisation and the advancement of technology.

In the end, no matter how much diplomacy has evolved, the core of the essence is still the same. To get your way done and achieve what it is you want.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Diplomacy Today

In the beginning, diplomacy in my understanding was just a tactful and peaceful way of dealing with issues and getting what you want. I associated diplomacy with the “high-profile” diplomats dealing with foreign governments to create friendly relations between their respective states in order to promote one or another cooperative dealings, whether economic, political or cultural. However now, it is possible to see that diplomacy is not simply an interaction between professional diplomats with the hosting state, but it is a complex net, which is composed of many different actors and arenas of interaction. In other words, diplomacy grasps complex web of actors, issues and ways of dealings with issues. In particular, diplomacy involves negotiating and cooperating in different arenas, such as in multilateral diplomacy, where diplomats have to deal with several states at a time in a complex structure of international organizations such as the World Bank, IMF (International Monetary Fund), UN (United Nations) and etc. Diplomats have to compete with or deal with different sources of information for credibility as well as promulgating their interests, such as the press, media, Internet and other independent sources of information such as the BBC. Also, the role of the Non-Governmental Organizations in diplomacy further complicates the way diplomacy works. Their interaction can be either cooperative or competing and conflicting. Cooperative in a matter where government can use NGO’s as a “catalytic diplomacy”[1] where they operate through and within NGO’s since they have the credibility, specialization and the trust of the public, or their interests can be conflicting where they come to opposing each others intentions, whether on moral basis or political purposes. Moreover, issues that go beyond the state boundaries such as the environment takes diplomacy into a higher, more demanding nature, where it comes to a point that it becomes simply impossible to come to any agreements since there are so many actors such as NGO’s, pressure from the press and the public to deal with, as well as many different issues that need to be considered of such as the economic factors and political power as well as general concern with future damages of the climate change for example that shapes diplomacy as the most complex game of chess, where moves have to be planned in advance by considering all the possible options from both sides, ones own as well as the opposite with various outcomes. Therefore, in my opinion diplomacy today is more complex and intermingled. However, even though I think that diplomacy is more complex in nature, I still think that no matter where diplomacy takes place, with who it communicates and interacts and how it operates, it is still conducted for the national interests of the states, whether in promoting their image, getting their way, promote their interests, gain economic cooperation, all in all it is always and only in the name and for the sake of the national interest of the states.

[1] *“Catalytic diplomacy” does not refer to operation of governments within and through NGO’s only, it is conducted on a more inclusive basis. As Riordan states: “not simply on a narrow foreign ministry level, but at a higher, more encompassing level”. (2003, p,127).

1. Riordan Shaun (2003) The New Diplomacy Polity Press, Cornwall

Friday, 30 April 2010

Diplomacy and me

When we started this module, I was not aware of a distinction between diplomacy and foreign policy. I used to think diplomacy is about always immaculately presented and well organised diplomats enjoying their "high-class" lifestyle while representing their state. Indeed, it seemed to be as an exclusive club. I had a classical state centric approach to diplomacy. I was not fully aware of the development of diplomacy. I hoped this module would help me to understand what does it require to be a diplomat and what is all that communication, negotiation and representation about. I found many definitions of diplomacy but I did not understand what they really mean.

First of all, we were discussing when diplomacy started. Some of us argued that it started with the emergence of a state. I would say that diplomacy started with the formation of the first proto-state systems. I have learned that it is rather difficult to draw a clear line between an 'old' and 'new' diplomacy. We were arguing when the new diplomacy started- was it after the Second World War when groundbreaking social changes occurred as the demise of the aristocracy or with the emergence of world summits and international organisations? We looked at bilateral diplomacy and the role of an embassy. It was interesting to watch how its role evolved especially with the emergence of the Internet. Thanks to this module, I had an opportunity to visit the Swedish embassy. It was a great chance to put my theoretical knowledge into practice. I can say that diplomats are fully aware of the way diplomacy is evolving and what implications it has on their job. I knew they had to be excellent communicators but I was surprised at the range of issues they have to deal with. They have to be experts at many things. Their role does not require only being fully aware of the situation in the country they are staying in and their national situation. They have to lobby for their national businesses, promote investments and tourism in their country and build a massive network of contacts. This had made me more aware of commercial and consuming diplomacy. Having assessed the importance of technological change, public diplomacy seems to me the most important aspect of the new diplomacy and also the topic I enjoyed the most. It is crucial for diplomatic actors to present a good public imagine of the state/organisation they represent as it serves their interest. They can achieve it through blogs, YouTube channels or official websites. Nation branding is very popular. Public diplomacy is also about listening to other actors in international relations and reacting to their criticism. It is about a dialogue. States even create public diplomacy strategies (you might like this video about the future of public diplomacy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PC1b8XZpy8c&feature=related). Another issue we discussed was the emergence of non-state actors in diplomacy. As mentioned before, I had state centric approach o diplomacy and I did not think non-state actors have a significant role in the conduct of diplomacy. I know that I have to consider that there are also many non-governmental organisations, international organisation, multinational corporations, interest groups and even terrorist groups that conduct their own form of diplomacy. For example, non-governmental organisations lobby state decision makers and try to influence how they develop their domestic policies. They also participate in international negotiations. Celebrities can also conduct some kind of diplomacy and they are good at attracting attention to global issues (The Live 8 concert tries to set up the global call action against poverty). I was also interested in environmental diplomacy as I had previously participated in environmental project in my home country. Lately, we discussed international negotiations on environmental issues. In my opinion, they are mostly ineffective because environmental policies are not among the main goals of states' foreign policies. The states obey "soft-law" that encompasses principles and guidelines and they seem reluctant to implement treaties into their policies. I also learned about the paradox of coercive diplomacy. This diplomacy is built on an assumption that an international actor/ state which represents a threat to an international society will behave rationally once confronted by a potential military intervention. However, this method has to be used rather sensibly as a state/ aggressor could also think it has nothing to lose and start waging a war. To sum up, I especially enjoyed themes public diplomacy, environmental diplomacy and diplomacy of the European Union.

Following the readings of scholars specialised in diplomacy, I would say that diplomacy has a dominant position in world politics.
Diplomacy is usually connected with a term "soft-power". As we all know, soft power is always contrasted with hard power- use of military force. Therefore, I hope that diplomacy will keep its position and it will be the first and hopefully the last solution when dealing not only with conflicts but a whole set of issues as it does nowadays.

I think that the success of this module reflects the fact that lot of us is taking another 'diplomatic' module next year: Public and Cultural diplomacy.

Thank you.