A crisis in diplomacy…

One of the important roles that a diplomat undertakes is the role in a crisis in the practice of diplomacy. Learning this side of diplomacy has simply provided me the insight into the process of the gruelling diplomatic missions behind closed doors in a time of crisis and what are the characteristics of it.

As I covered the multilateral diplomacy in the previous blog post, in a diplomacy even  during a crisis, it is often where you witness ‘multilateral’ cooperation. In recent times, there has been the various kinds of complicated crisis all over the world, some of them have shown improvement, some have exacerbated to the never-ending conflict. For example, the recent significant crisis diplomacy in Syria since the outbreak of the civil war. Over the time, We have seen many countries being involved in the strife-torn country militarily and diplomatically. The devastating war has caused the country the biggest refugee crises of our time and malfunction in the diplomatic mission, moreover the great threat is spread globally as the war on terror intensifies. These confusions have been destabilising the security of the US and its allies. It has been argued that the chances for the US to archive their goal seems very slim. The United States try to pursue the diplomatic agreement to reduce the intensify of the conflict between the regime and the opposition. The negotiation took place in Vienna (Vienna Peace Talks for Syria) in October and November 2015 between all the parties involved (including international organisation the UN and the EU) And It was the first time, key countries in the war including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia gathered and negotiated regarding the cease-fire and the collapsed political situation in Syria.  it was the first great step for a diplomatic mission as the participants resulted in the agreement of the basic principles for peace plan, however, the US and Russia remained divided concerning the future political participation of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.  The negotiations seemed to have shown the potentiality but the US is in need of another negotiations with Russia, owing to the fact that Russia is backing the regime and carrying out the air strikes on the opposition which the US and others support for, without negotiations between two countries, the war will never end.


As I noted on the previous post ‘multilateral diplomacy’ it is more complicated to reach to the agreement in multilateral diplomacy. In a crisis, it is even trickier.  As I mentioned about Vienna peace talks above, after the first talk, Saudi Arabia showed strong disapproval of the participation of Iran in the future talks. Not to mention the tension between Russia and the US over the leadership. Given the collapsed nature of the opposition without an authority in control alongside with fighting against terrorist organisation, it is a diplomatically extremely challenging situation even if agreement is made it requires gruelling process which no one knows whether it is possible to obtain the goal in the future. Yet State department spokesman Mark Toner said “If we do walk away from this diplomatic process, as … moribund as it is, what are the options?” (7)


    1. Cooper, A, Heine, J and Thakur, R. (2013), ‘The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy ‘Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    2. George, A (1991). ‘Forceful Persuasion: Coercive Diplomacy as an Alternative to War.’  United States Institute of Peace.

    3. Kassab, Y, R.(2016) ‘Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War ‘ London, Pluto press.

    4. Kerr, P and Wiseman, G. (2012),’ Diplomacy in a Globalizing World ‘New York: Oxford University Press,

    5. Richardson, L, J (1994)’Crisis Diplomacy The Great Powers since the Mid-Nineteenth Century‘.  Canberra, Australian National University.

    6. Rozen, L. (2016) ‘US presidential transition adds turmoil to Syria diplomacy’ Al-monitor http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/en/originals/2016/12/us-transition-trump-turmoil-syria-diplomacy-kerry.html

    7. Solovyov, D. (2016) ‘Syria conflict: Diplomacy over crisis ‘on life support’ as fighting continues in Aleppo‘   http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-conflict-civil-war-aleppo-bombing-fighting-russia-us-assad-a7340396.html  Independent]

    8. Yusupov, A. (2012) ‘A crisis in Modern Diplomacy‘ The Jerusalem Post http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/A-crisis-of-modern-diplomacy


One thought on “A crisis in diplomacy…

  1. stevencurtislm February 4, 2017 / 6:35 pm

    This post presents a fair overview of the diplomacy related to the conflict in Syria and you make an interesting point regarding the inefficacy of multilateral diplomacy. As the post tends to skim over the surface of a number of issues, perhaps you might have focused in more depth and detail on this point and rooted your account in the debate in the academic literature (for example, see Berridge’s rather scornful dismissal of multilateral/conference diplomacy).

    I suppose there is also the issue of whether this is really a case of crisis diplomacy. We talk of humanitarian and refugee/migration crises, but do they constitute crises in the narrow sense we usually mean when using the term in IR? For example, are US and Russian vital interests at stake? Are these states on the brink of war? It may be that you think we should stretch our understanding of crisis to encapsulate the terrible conflict in Syria. Perhaps you could explore this issue in more detail when you revise the post for inclusion in your portfolio at the end of the module.

    In terms of referencing, you include a significant number of texts on your bibliography, yet only refer to one newspaper in the text of the post. Please work to link your case study more closely to the academic concepts, arguments and debates.

    There are a number of grammatical errors and some odd turns of phrase (e.g., what do you mean by “malfunction in the diplomatic mission”? Be careful how you use the word mission, as it has a particular meaning in the practice of diplomacy). And there are some typographical errors (I think you mean ‘achieve’ rather than ‘archive’, although the latter term is increasingly appropriate in this situation).


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