Diplomacy is a normal means of conducting relations. It consists of techniques and procedures for conducting relations among nations.
(3) Diplomacy is machinery for action:
In itself diplomacy is recognized as official machinery for the conduct of relations among nations.
(4) Diplomacy acts through Settled Procedures:
Diplomacy functions through a network of foreign offices, embassies, legations, consulates, and special missions all over the world. It always works according to definite and settled procedures and protocol.
(5) Bilateral as well as Multilateral in Form:
Diplomacy is commonly bilateral in character. However as a result of the growing importance of international conferences, international organisations, regional negotiations, it has now also developed a plural character. It is concerned with all issues and problems among nations.
(6) Diplomacy handles all types of Matters:
Diplomacy may embrace a multitude of interests—from the simplest issues to vital issues to that of war and peace.
(7) Breakdown of Diplomacy always leads to Crisis:
When diplomacy breaks down, the danger of war, or at least of a major crisis develops.
(8) Diplomacy operates both in times of Peace as well as War:
Some writers hold that diplomacy operates only in times of peace and when war breaks out diplomacy comes to an end. However, this is not a correct view. Diplomacy continues to operate even when war breaks out. Of course, during war its nature undergoes a change; from peace diplomacy it takes the form of war diplomacy.
(9) Diplomacy works in an environment characterised both by Conflict and Cooperation:
Diplomacy works in a situation involving both cooperation and conflict. A certain degree of cooperation among nations is essential for the working of diplomacy because in its absence, diplomatic relations cannot be maintained. Similarly when there is no conflict diplomacy becomes superfluous because there is no need for negotiations. Thus existence of cooperation as well as conflict is essential for the working of diplomacy.
(10) Diplomacy always works for securing national interests of the nation it represents:
The purpose of diplomacy is to secure the goals of national interest as defined and specified by the foreign policy of the nation. Diplomacy always works for the nation it represents.
(11) Diplomacy is backed by National Power. Diplomacy is backed by national power:
A strong diplomacy means a diplomacy backed by a strong national power. Diplomacy uses persuasion and influence as the means for exercising power in international relations. It cannot use force and violence. However, it can issue warnings, give ultimatums, promise rewards and threaten punishment, but beyond this it cannot directly exercise force. “Diplomacy is the promotion of national interest by peaceful means.”
(12) Test of Success of Diplomacy:
Success in Diplomacy is measured in terms of the amount of success achieved towards the fulfillment of the goals of national interest in international relations.
All these characteristics highlight the nature of Diplomacy. One can describe Diplomacy as an instrument of national interest and a tool of foreign policy.Objectives of Diplomacy:
Broadly speaking, Diplomacy seeks to secure two types of primary objectives for the nation it represents. These are:
(i) Political Objectives, and
(ii) Non-political Objectives.
(1) Political Objectives of Diplomacy:
Diplomacy always works to secure the goals of national interest as defined by the foreign policy. It always works for increasing the influence of the state over other states. It uses persuasion, promises of rewards and other such means for this purpose. Through rational negotiations, it seeks to justify the objectives of the foreign policy of the nation. It seeks to promote friendship and cooperation with other nations.
(2) Non-political Objectives of Diplomacy:
The interdependence among nations is the most important and valuable fact of international living. Each nation depends upon others for economic and industrial links and trade. Diplomacy always seeks to promote the economic, commercial and cultural links of the nation with other nations. Diplomacy depends upon peaceful means, persuasive methods for promoting the interests of the nation and this is indeed an important non-political objective of Diplomacy.Means of Diplomacy:
For securing its objectives, Diplomacy depends upon three major means: Persuasion, compromise and threat of use of force. Diplomacy has to depend upon several tactics or techniques. The chances of the success of diplomacy are directly related to the ability of using appropriate means through appropriate tactics. In the main diplomacy uses six technique, which have been defined by the Hostile? A selection of a method or means is done on the basis of the time and circumstances of the situation. Any wrong decision in this respect can lead to a failure.
Six Main Devices of Diplomacy:
Through logical reasoning, Diplomacy seeks to convince others of the justification of the goals which it is trying to uphold or promote.
Diplomacy can offer rewards for securing acceptance of desired view of a particular international dispute or issue or problem.
(iii) Promise of Reward and Concessions:
Diplomacy can promise matching rewards and concessions for securing a particular change or maintaining a particular view in the policies of other nations.
(iv) Threat of use of Force:
Diplomacy cannot use force or violence in promoting the national interest. However, it can use threat of use of force—ultimatums, symbolic boycotts, protest walkouts or even threat of war etc., for securing its objectives.
(v) Non-violent Punishment:
By depriving a promised reward or concession, Diplomacy can inflict non-violent punishment on other nations.
(vi) Use of Pressure:
By using pressure tactics Diplomacy can force other nations to accept the desired view or policy or decision or goals that it represents. Besides these, Diplomacy also uses propaganda, cultural links, exploitation of situations, creation of particular scenes and situations, rigidity or flexibility in negotiations etc. Kautilya, in his Arthashastra, suggests “Sam, Dam, Danda Bheda and Niti” as the tactics of Diplomacy.Functions and Role of Diplomacy:
In performing its tasks and securing its national objectives, Diplomacy has to undertake a number of functions.Major Functions:
(1) Ceremonial/Symbolic Functions:
The diplomats of a nation are the symbolic representatives of the state and they represent their state and government in all official ceremonies and functions as well as in non-official, social and cultural functions held in the place of their postings.
A diplomat formally represents his country in a foreign state. He is the normal agent of communication between his home office and that of the state to which he is accredited. His representation is legal and political. He can vote in the name of his government. Of course, in doing so he is totally bound by the directions of his home office and the foreign Policy of the nation.
To conduct negotiations with other states is a substantive function of diplomacy. Diplomats, observe Palmer and Perkins, are by definition negotiators. They are the channels of communication which handle the transmission of messages between the foreign ministries of the parent state and the host state. Along with the nature of the message, the manner and style of delivering the message greatly influences the course of negotiations. It is mainly through negotiations that a diplomat seeks to secure agreements and compromises over various conflictual issues and problems among states.
The role of diplomacy in conducting negotiations has, however, declined in our times because of the emergence of multilateral diplomacy, personal diplomacy political diplomacy, summit diplomacy and the direct communication links among the world leaders and top statesmen. The diplomats today do not play as great a role in international negotiations as used to be previously played by them. Nevertheless, they continue to be the legal and formal channels of negotiations in international relations.
Reporting involves the observation of the political, economic, military and social conditions of the host country and the accurate transmission of the findings of the diplomat to his home country. The political reporting involves a report about the assessment of the roles of various political parties in the politics of the host country. It seeks to assess the friendliness or hostility of the various political groupings towards the home state, and the power potential of each party or organisation.
Economic reporting involves sending of reports to the home office containing general information about the economic health and trade potential of the host country. Military reporting involves an assessment of the military might, intentions and capabilities, and the strategic importance of the host country.
The level of social and cultural conflicts among the people of the host country and the level of social harmony and cohesion are assessed for determining the level of stability of the host country. Thus reporting is an important and valuable function of diplomacy.
(5) Protection of Interests:
Diplomacy is always at work for protecting and promoting the interests of the nation and its people living abroad. Protection of interests is the “bedrock of the practice of diplomacy.” It works to secure compatibility out of incompatibility through accommodation, reconciliation and goodwill.
A diplomat always attempts to prevent or change practices which he feels are discriminatory to the interests of his country. It is his responsibility to protect the persons, property and interests of such citizens of his country as are living in the territory of the state to which he stands posted.
Through all these functions, diplomacy plays an important role in international relations.Change in the Character of Diplomacy: From Old Diplomacy to New Diplomacy:
In contemporary times the nature of Diplomacy has undergone a big change. From its traditional dress (Old Diplomacy) it has come to acquire several new features. This change has earned for it the name New Diplomacy.
Diplomacy in its traditional form is known as Old Diplomacy and its main features have been:
(i) European Diplomacy:
Old Diplomacy was primarily confined to Europe. Being an imperial continent which controlled and ruled the continents of Asia and Africa, Europe was the centre of all international activities. Old Diplomacy had its origin in Europe and continued, till 1914, to handle the relations among the European states.
In Old Diplomacy, the conduct of foreign relations was considered to be the prerogatives of the kings or rulers and their trusted ambassadors. The diplomats used to be selected by the monarchs and were responsible to their ‘lords’. Diplomacy was conducted by a class of professional diplomats and was characterised by an air of aristocracy, nobility and class consciousness. It was both formal and elitist in nature and approach.
(iii) Special Emphasis upon Virtues:
The Old Diplomacy was aristocratic and hence regarded several well defined and accepted principles as cardinal principles or virtues of diplomats. Honesty, integrity, truthfulness, politeness, fairness, strict conformity to protocol, secrecy and total commitment to national interests were considered to be the essential qualities of diplomats. However in actual operation, the Old Diplomacy was characterised by ‘honest lies,’ integrity in appearance, qualified truthfulness, outward politeness, self- satisfying fairness and strict observance of protocol and secrecy.
Secrecy was considered to be the hallmark of Old Diplomacy. Complete secrecy in respect of the negotiations as well as about the outcome of these negotiations was considered to be a vitally important condition of old diplomacy. Diplomats communicated only with their counterparts in other countries. Secret negotiations leading to secret undertakings, agreements or treaties or alliances were considered to be the ideal ways of conducting relations for the preservation of peace and problem solving.
(v) Freedom of Action for the Ambassadors:
Within the broad limits of agreed policy, the diplomats handling diplomatic negotiations used to enjoy freedom of action. During the era of Old Diplomacy, the ambassadors enjoyed considerable freedom in matters of negotiations. Lack of speedy and continuous means of communications made it essential for the state to give wide powers to its diplomats.
The inability to maintain continuous speedy communications with the ambassadors made it essential for the ruler of the state to give freedom of action and full power to his ambassadors. Ambassadors always used their authority freely without much fear of the ‘home office.’
Old Diplomacy continued to remain in operation till the middle of the 20th century. Thereafter, it had to change due to several big changes in the international system as well as because of the development of fast and comprehensive means of transport and communications. It now came to be a New Diplomacy.
New Diplomacy and Distinction with Old Diplomacy:
New Diplomacy has the following salient features which have been totally different from the features of Old Diplomacy.
(i) New Diplomacy is Global, Old Diplomacy was mainly European:
The New Diplomacy is truly global in nature and scope. The rise of Asia, Africa and Latin America and the emergence of a large number of sovereign independent states changed the character of post-war international relations. From mostly European relations these came to be truly international relations involving all the sovereign states. Consequently, diplomacy had to abandon its European character and to become truly global in nature and approach.
(ii) New Diplomacy is mostly Multilateral, whereas Old Diplomacy was mostly Bilateral:
Multilateral negotiations in international conferences, institutionalized diplomacy at the United Nations and the emergence of direct personal contacts among the statesmen and leaders of various states, have all combined to give a new look and content to New Diplomacy. Old Diplomacy was mostly bilateral and limited; the New Diplomacy is mostly multilateral and global.
(iii) New Diplomacy is less formal than Old Diplomacy:
New Diplomacy is not as much formal and rigid in respect of rules or procedures as was the case with the Old Diplomacy. Presently, there exist quite informal and direct contacts among the leaders and diplomats of various states.
(iv) New Diplomacy is mostly open and Old Diplomacy was mostly secret:
In New Diplomacy the negotiations are open and the results are, invariably always, made public soon after the reaching of agreements or treaties or alliances or settlements. Diplomatic negotiations are given full coverage over the Radio, Press, Television and other means of mass-media. Old Diplomacy favoured secrecy as its governing principle.
(v) Democratic Nature of New Diplomacy versus Aristocratic nature of Old Diplomacy:
The New Diplomacy is democratic, whereas Old Diplomacy was aristocratic in nature. In the era of the latter, a special elitist class of diplomats, who were professionals to the core, used to conduct diplomatic negotiations and relations.
However, at present the increased influence of public opinion, political parties, pressure groups, world public opinion, the rise of a more democratic and less aristocratic class of civil servants, have all given a new dimension and look to diplomacy. Modern ambassadors and consoler’s are democratic in their outlook towards diplomacy. A degree of informality has come to characterize their functioning in international relations.
(vi) New Diplomacy depends more on Propaganda than Old Diplomacy:
The use of propaganda/publicity as an important instrument of political warfare in international relations is accepted and used by New Diplomacy as a means for securing the goals of national interest that it represents. Old Diplomacy was mostly secret and hence avoided propaganda. It concentrated upon legal and formal communications as the means for conveying its wishes, desires and objectives.
(vii) Under New Diplomacy, the role of a Diplomat has suffered a Decline:
In the era of New Diplomacy, the role of diplomat has suffered a decline. Due to the development of speedy means of transport and communications, it has become possible for the political leaders of the states to develop and maintain direct, continuous and active contacts with one another.
This development has reduced the role of an ambassador as a link between his home state and the host state. In Old Diplomacy, diplomats were regarded as the most important vital links among the states and were full representatives of their nations in international relations.
They enjoyed a lot of discretion and freedom of action. New Diplomacy has reduced the role of diplomats to glorified representatives who really act as highly dignified messengers and actors with the responsibility of faithfully carrying out the instructions of the foreign office and political leadership of their states. The control of the foreign office over the diplomats has considerably increased in this real of New Diplomacy.
Thus, the features of New Diplomacy are almost entirely different from the features of Old Diplomacy.Secret Diplomacy and Open Diplomacy:
(A) What is Secret Diplomacy?
The term Secret Diplomacy is used to designate the diplomatic practice of conducting secret negotiations and making secret pacts, decisions, alliances and treaties. In Secret Diplomacy no attempt is made to take the people into confidence, and little information about diplomatic activity is provided to the public. Secrecy is considered vital for the success of diplomacy.
(B) What is Open Diplomacy?
Open Diplomacy is the opposite of Secret Diplomacy. In the age of democracy, it is argued that the people have the right and duty to know and to participate in foreign policy decision-making. As such, it is considered essential that diplomacy must take into account popular wishes and public opinion. It is expected to inform the public about the nature and progress of all diplomatic negotiations as well as about the final agreement or disagreement resulting from such negotiations.
Diplomacy must be accountable and for this it is essential that people must know as to what diplomacy is doing and what are its achievements and failures. People and their groups should have the opportunity to influence the working of diplomacy.
(1) Arguments in favour of Open Diplomacy or Arguments against Secret Diplomacy:
1. It is the natural right of the people to know everything about the affairs of their government.
2. It is the right of the people to keep the government responsible for its acts.
3. It is the duty of the people to keep Diplomacy under check and prevent it from leading the nation into an environment of tensions, strains and war.
4. Open Diplomacy is the best way of involving the people in the process of securing national interests and making them politically conscious.
5. Secret Diplomacy leads to deceit, double dealings, and irresponsibility on the part of diplomats.
6. There exists no justification for making secret treaties and alliances because every such instrument has a direct bearing upon the future of the people of the state.
(2) Arguments against Open Diplomacy or Arguments in favour of Secret Diplomacy:
1. Secrecy in the interest of nation is an absolutely necessary condition for the success of diplomacy.
2. Secret negotiations help the diplomats to be free and frank in expressing their views.
3. Open Diplomacy can be misleading in practice, because the need for securing public sympathy for an essential state act can make the diplomats practise window- dressing and false propaganda.
4. General public has neither the ability nor the time to participate constructively in diplomatic debate that may emerge as a result of public access to all information regarding diplomatic negotiations.
Use of both Secret and Open Diplomacy:
Thus, there are arguments both for and against Open Diplomacy. Open Diplomacy is democratic and hence can be helpful in securing international peace. However, it can lead to unwanted and harmful popular decisions and reduce efficiency. Secret Diplomacy on the other hand can be more active and efficient. However, it appears to be undemocratic in this age of democracy as it can lead to certain unpopular and aristocratic or elitist negotiations and decisions.
The best way, therefore, can be the middle way— Open Diplomacy in respect of the facts of treaties, alliances and agreements which a nation makes with other nations and some Secret Diplomacy in respect of diplomatic negotiations. The ideal is to let the public know what is considered good for the protection and promotion of national interest. Sharing of all details and negotiations can have an harmful effect on relations with other nations and can hinder the process of attainment of national goals.
The guiding principle in determining whether a particular diplomatic negotiation is to be kept secret or made public, should be the considerations for national interest. If national interest demands secrecy, it must be maintained otherwise it is always better to make things public.Decline and Future of Diplomacy: Decline of Diplomacy:
In this age of science, technology and IT revolution, Diplomacy has suffered a substantial decline. Its role has suffered a big setback. It no longer performs that spectacular role which it used to perform in the 19th Century.
Four Factors Responsible for the Decline of Diplomacy:
(1) Speedy means of Communication:
Previously, in the absence of speedy means of communications, the governments of the states used to be forced to depend upon their diplomats stationed in foreign countries for conducting negotiations and maintaining relations with one another. Presently, the technological revolution has made it possible for the governments to maintain direct and continuous contacts with their diplomats as well as among themselves. The dependence of the government upon diplomats has sharply decreased.
(2) The Deprecation of Diplomacy:
The feeling that diplomacy is a source of secret, underhand, double-dealing and undesirable power politics has been the second factor responsible for a decline of diplomacy. Many people, today believe that diplomacy is an ineffective instrument of world peace. Some even go to the extent of describing it as a dangerous device which endangers peace. Diplomacy emerged in the era of the rise of nation-state and hence it is a means of power politics and nationalism, which needs elimination in this age of internationalism.
(3) Advent of New Diplomacy:
The emergence of New Diplomacy, more so Parliamentary Diplomacy, Conference Diplomacy, and Personal Diplomacy, has led to a decline of diplomacy. Love for open democracy and open negotiations has forced the transformation of Old Diplomacy into New Diplomacy.
These changes and the trend towards public parliamentary procedure instead of traditional diplomatic negotiations have adversely affected the role of diplomacy in international relations. The New Diplomacy offers a middle way of combining secrecy with openness, formality with informality, deliberations with leisure and business with increased personal contacts, and hence, it has made traditional diplomacy unpopular.
(4) The Nature of International System and Role of Diplomacy:
The nature of international relations of cold war period (1945-90) acted as a hindering factor for diplomacy. The presence of cold war, two super powers, nuclear weapons, end of balance of power, transformation of war into total war, birth of new states, alliances and counter alliances, rise of the United Nations and other international agencies etc., all combined to produce a big change in the nature of post-war international relations.
These changes adversely affected the role of diplomacy as a device of power management in international relations. In the era of cold war “persuasion tantamount to trickery, compromise meant treason and threat of force spelled war”; and all this discouraged the use of diplomacy for conducting relations.
As such, due to several factors, a decline in the role of Diplomacy took place in the 20th century. It had to become open and tolerate direct personal diplomacy among political leaders and power holders of various states.
Diplomacy had to undergo a change under the impact of several big changes in the international environment and relations among nations. In the process Diplomacy suffered a decline of role. Its popularity as a means of conflict-resolution registered a fall. This situation prevails even today.Future of Diplomacy:
Despite a change in its role and functions, Diplomacy still continues to be a valuable instrument of international relations. It continues to be an important element of both National Power and Foreign Policy. A change or decline in its role does not mean that Diplomacy stands rejected as an instrument of international relations.
Diplomacy in its new form, the new diplomacy, continues to be regarded as one of the most important means of securing national interest as well as for preserving peace against war. So long as the need to eliminate, or at least to reduce the chances of war remains, Diplomacy as a mean for the conduct of relations is bound to be used by all the nations.
With its new dress, Diplomacy can be successfully used as a valuable instrument for the resolution of conflict and crisis management among nations. Diplomats have been trying to help the international community to overcome some of its problems and to secure a resolution of international disputes.