The New Diplomacy

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The functions of diplomacy can be broken down into six vast areas: ceremonial, management, information/communication, international negotiation, duty of protection and normative/legal. Ceremonial are about protocol, representation and visits. Management deals with day-to-day problems, promotion of interests (political, economic, scientific, military, tourism), explanation and defence of policy, strengthening bilateral relations, bilateral coordination, multilateral cooperation. The third area – Information and communication is about assessment, reporting, and monitoring.

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The significance of each and every area will vary from state to state. For some, diplomacy may be largely devoted to ceremonial representation; others may allocate resources to high-level roving envoys or in support of an established role in international rule making. The functions of diplomacy are also particularly closely related to evolving events and issues such as international crises, human and natural disasters or outbreaks of violence, which shift the diplomatic spotlight on to previously remote geographic areas or issues.

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The most significant dimension of the new diplomacy is the evolution of it. I believe that it is the change of technology and communication that we have seen in the last 20 years that’s one of the most symbolic, momentous things. We experienced the huge development in flexible andf fluent passage of information and knowledge.

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We have a much more accessible access to knowledge, information and reports, that previous diplomats, ambassadors never had. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, email, Skype, Messenger, Instragram and Snapchat even, we can find out what’s happening on the other side of the globe. We can actually follow the events, celebrations, happenings minute by minute.

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All of these platforms build a vast technological evolution and progress in the diplomatic service, negotiations and International Relations. That’s one of the things that make the relations and alliances much, much easier to create, uphold and promote.

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References:
– The changing nature of diplomacy. PDF.
– Merym1. Diplomacy old and new 2016c. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.
– (“Pertinax”), André Géraud. “Diplomacy, Old and New.” Foreign Affairs. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.
– “The Contrast between Old & New Diplomacy.” The Contrast between Old & New Diplomacy. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.
– Moomaw, William R. “New Diplomacy.” 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.

US-China: fight or flight?

Okay, so we all read the news or at least heard that there is a real threat about a possible conflict between US and China. That is a huge issue [use Trump’s way saying huge] and a thing to be a tad afraid or at least it’s good to know what’s happening. We are all hearing different kinds of news about China’s building of the artificial islands, Russia’s being accused of trying to damage the campaign of the other presidential nominee, in other words – Trump’s rival, Hilary Rodham Clinton and other interesting stories.

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The questions surrounding Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia are grim and compelling. But they are distracting from a more important and a far more dangerous story: the expanding signs that the Trump administration is heading for a confrontation, clash with China — one that could even lead to a military conflict.
The latest indication came last week at the confirmation hearings of Rex Tillerson, who is Mr. Trump’s nominee to be US Secretary of State, signaled a serious hardening in the US attitude to the artificial islands that Beijing has been building in the South China Sea. He compared the island-building programme to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and said that the Trump administration intended to send a clear signal to Beijing – your access to those islands is not going to be allowed. 1

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That sounded like an American threat to blockade the islands, on which China has been building military installations. China would almost certainly attempt to break such a blockade, by sea or air. The stage would be set for a modern version of the Cuban missile crisis. The Chinese state-sanctioned media reacted ferociously to Mr. Tillerson’s statement. The Global Times, a nationalist paper, warned of “a large-scale war”, while China Daily spoke of a “devastating confrontation between China and the US”. It is certainly possible that Mr. Tillerson went further than he intended in his Congressional testimony. His statement seemed to contradict the formal American position that its sole concern is freedom of navigation in the Pacific and that it takes no position on Chinese sovereignty over the islands. But Mr. Tillerson has done nothing to withdraw or clarify his statements. And the Tillerson testimony is not the only indication that the Trump administration is bent on confrontation with China. Changes in US policy on Taiwan and trade point in the same direction. 1
Since 1979, when the US and China normalised relations, the US has respected Beijing’s One China policy, which could say: ‘’that Taiwan is a mere rebel province’’. As a result, no US leader has spoken to a leader of Taiwan for decades. But in December, Mr. Trump broke with this precedent by taking a phone call from President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan. As is usual with Trump surprises, some suggested that the president-elect may simply have gaffed. But last week, Mr. Trump gave an interview in which he underlined that his administration might indeed abandon the One China policy, unless Beijing makes concessions on trade. Since China has repeatedly insisted that it will go to war rather than accept Taiwanese independence, this too is a high-risk policy. For Mr. Trump, the real bottom line is probably trade. During the election campaign, he fumed that – “We have a $500bn deficit with China… We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country.” There is already talk of America imposing tariffs on Chinese goods and of a new import tax. 1

Put together the three Ts — Taiwan, Tillerson and trade — and there seems little doubt that Trump’s America is steaming towards a confrontation with China. In reality, China is putting increasing military, diplomatic and economic pressure on America’s allies in Asia. Countries such as South Korea and Singapore had got used to the idea that they can enjoy very close economic relations with China, while still looking to the US for their security. But that may be changing. The Chinese government is now threatening to discriminate against South Korean companies unless the government in Seoul reverses its decision to deploy a US missile shield on its territory.

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Singapore, meanwhile, is coming under increasing pressure to break ties with Taiwan, where its troops have long carried out military training. China has signaled its displeasure by impounding some Singaporean troop carriers, which were passing through Hong Kong en route from Taiwan.

Last week China sent an aircraft-carrier through the Taiwan Strait, prompting the Taiwanese air force to scramble its fighter planes. Earlier in the week, the Japanese and South Korean air forces had also been scrambled in response to Chinese maneuvers.

So far there have been no similar confrontations between the US and Chinese navies. But if Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi stick to their current positions, that may only be a matter of time.

Any such confrontation will pose agonizing choices for America’s allies in Asia and farther afield. During the Obama years, the US could count on discreet support from its security partners in Asia in any face-off with China. But it is much less clear that America’s traditional allies will be willing to line up with an erratic, unpredictable and protectionist Trump administration that seems to be actively pushing for confrontation with Beijing. If Trump’s America goes after China, it cannot take the world’s sympathy for granted. 1/2

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  1. Rachman, G. (2017) Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/a396bbf8-dbcf-11e6-9d7c-be108f1c1dce (Accessed: 16 January 2017).
  2. HOOKWAY, J. (2017) Available at: http://www.wsj.com/articles/china-u-s-rivalry-spurs-vietnam-to-look-for-new-comrades-1484549386 (Accessed: 16 January 2017).
  3. (2017) Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38621025 (Accessed: 16 January 2017).

Multilateral Diplomacy – What Is It?

 

We define ‘multilateral diplomacy’ as the practice of involving more than two nations or parties in achieving diplomatic solutions to national, international or global problems. Working in a multilateral diplomatic context is in many ways very distant from traditional bilateral diplomacy. Multilateral diplomacy requires very specific forms of networking, information gathering, alliance building and coordination among partners. 1

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There are many Conferences that we can view as examples of multilateral diplomacy, for instance: UN Conference on the Human Environment, World Summit on Sustainable Development, G20, T20 and others. 2

The G20 summits are conferences held at various different levels. Those can be meetings between heads of state or heads of government, but also ministerial-level meetings01.png

Let’s focus on the G20.

The Group of Twenty is an international forum that brings together the world’s leading industrialized and emerging economies. The group accounts for 85 per cent of world GDP and two-thirds of its population. The G20 lists Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea. Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, China and South Africa.

The final member is the European Union, represented by the European Commission, rotating Council presidency and the European Central Bank (ECB). Spain as a permanent non-member invitee also attends leader summits.

Other countries also attend summits at the invitation of the host country, while it has become customary for the Chair of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and representatives of the African Union and NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) to be present at leader summits.

 

The difference between the G8 and G20:

The Group of Eight (G8), established as the G7 in 1976 but renamed after the admission of Russia in 1998, is an international forum for the eight major industrial economies. It comprises: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

However, since 2014 Russian membership has been suspended following the country’s annexation of Crimea.

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The G8 seeks cooperation on economic issues facing the major industrial economies, while the G20 reflects the wider interests of both developed and emerging economies.

 

Initially attendance at G20 summits was limited to the finance ministers and central bank governors of members, when it was established 18 years ago.The first G20 summit occurred in Berlin, in December 1999 and was hosted by the German and Canadian finance ministers. Since then there have been 18 G20 meetings between finance ministers and central bank governors, and 10 summits between heads of state or government of G20 economies. 3

The most recent summit of G20 leaders happened in Hangzhou (the capital of China’s Zhejiang province, sitting south west of Shanghai), from 4-5 September 2016. It was the first to be hosted by China, only the second in Asia, and has been hailed as a “milestone” in the country’s development and symbolic of its growing importance as a major power.

There were five economic statements of the summit:

  • Fight against tax evasion (asking the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development for a black list of tax havens)
  • Favour international trade and investments and opposition to protectionism
  • Fiscal incentive and modernization to improve economic growth
  • Battling “populist attacks” against globalisation
  • Strengthen support for refugees

 

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  1. Mayr-Harting, T. Multilateral Diplomacy in Practice.
  2. Mahbubani, K. (2015) Multilateral diplomacy. Available at: http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199588862.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199588862-e-14 (Accessed: 10 January 2017).
  3. Mustafa, J. (2016) What is the G20 and how does it work? Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/0/what-is-the-g20-and-how-does-it-work/ (Accessed: 10 January 2017).

Progress of Diplomacy – From being absent for 18 months to instant DMing 1

[1] To send a Direct Message on Twitter

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Diplomacy – in other words negotiation – is an important means by which states throughout the globe pursue their foreign policies, to secure peaceful relations and alliances. Another popular term that is used when explaining diplomacy is ‘foreign policy’ or ‘international affairs’. However, those two terms vary significantly from ‘diplomacy’. Whereas foreign policies are the programs, affairs of the countries, diplomacy is the means to achieve and accomplish them. The main purpose is to enable states to secure the targets of their foreign actions without retreating to force, violence, or fighting. Diplomacy is an interdisciplinary field that is a blend of history, ancient history, anthropology, sociology, geography, architecture and other humanities and social sciences. It aims to protect human rights and peaceful settlement of disputes.

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Diplomacy has existed since the founding of the city states of Greece, which were previous centers of power that dealt with each other on an official basis. We can find the origins of diplomacy even in ancient Egyptian, and Roman city states, where at the time the negotiations were dependent on communications through messengers, nobles, and even merchant carriages. Although it was not called upon too often as the correspondence was “stagnant, laborious, unstable and insecure”[2]. It was in Northern Italy, in the early Renaissance, that many of the traditions of modern diplomacy began, with the first embassies being established in the thirteenth century.

[2] Berridge, G. R. Diplomacy: Theory and Practice. Fifth ed. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Print

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That’s why in my opinion the single most significant change in the nature of diplomacy is the change of technology and communication lines that take place within the nations. Back in the day diplomats were a representatives of monarchs, that had much more power and authority. The sole fact that diplomats can’t disappear for 18 months at a time proves that there was a significant change within that area. There was an enormous development in fluent and flexible passage of information and data. Diplomacy became refined, institutionalized and professionalized over time. We have a much easier access to information, knowledge and reports, that our ancestors never had or even dreamed of. As people we set up a number of different sources to stay in touch with each other. We can talk with people, find out what’s new around the world, everything that is happening, right here, right now – we can see that through other people’s eyes – even if you’re in an office in London, you can be a part of a Brazilian carnival in Rio de Janeiro. We use Facebook, Twitter, email, Skype, Snapchat and Instagram even. All of those social platforms make up for an enormous technological development and progress in any discipline there is, and even more so in diplomatic service. Thanks to that and what makes the relations and alliances much, much easier to form and create, uphold and run smoothly.

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Globalization made our world a bit more of a straightforward place when it comes to politics, foreign affairs and international relations – or at the very least we can hope so and continue on bettering our planet and the relationships we hold with other countries.

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References:

  • Berridge, G. R. Diplomacy: Theory and Practice. Fifth ed. N.p.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Print.
  • “Evolution of Diplomacy.” By Mohamed Osman Akasha. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.
  • “FROM CLAY TO DIGITAL TABLETS: What Can We Learn from Ancient Diplomacy? | DiploFoundation.” N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.
  • “ABC of Diplomacy.” Publisher Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), 2008. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.