Why do we need diplomats?
Diplomats are members of a profession developed over many centuries. But why do we still need them in a world transformed by electronic communications? This course examines the nature of diplomacy; when it is appropriate; the advantages and disadvantages of different diplomatic methods; and the lexicon of diplomacy.
By the end of this course, participants should be able to:
- Describe and explain with clarity the shape and functions of the contemporary world diplomatic system.
- Identify and describe the different stages of negotiations, the objectives for each stage, and techniques for securing agreement, providing examples from diplomatic practice.
- Compare and contrast the various missions, offices, conferences, techniques and procedures of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy.
- Analyse what contributes to successful mediation.
- Justify the role of summits and their place in the negotiating arena.
- Defend the value of diplomacy with authority and enthusiasm.
Excerpt from course materials
Following the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia in October 1917, Leon Trotsky was appointed People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the new government. The prophet of permanent revolution, with much writing and party work to preoccupy him, Trotsky famously assured a comrade that as head of the foreign ministry he would simply 'issue a few revolutionary proclamations to the peoples of the world and then shut up shop'. In fact, of course, within weeks of the revolution the Bolsheviks found themselves having to begin negotiating first an armistice and then a peace treaty with the Germans, the latter being duly signed at Brest-Litovsk in March 1918. Sensibly enough, Trotsky left the Narkomindel (the Russian acronym for the Bolshevik foreign ministry) at this juncture...
- The Diplomatic Moment: diplomacy: a specialised activity; the diplomatic moment: the conditions that encourage diplomacy; diplomatic systems and diplomatic styles; the world diplomatic system in outline.
- Negotiations: pre-negotiations, formula, and details stages; the objectives sought in each and the difficulties peculiar to them; techniques for securing agreement, for example 'linkage'.
- Diplomatic Momentum: how the momentum of negotiation can be maintained and, if lost, regained; deadlines, metaphors of movement, publicity, and raising the level of the talks; packaging agreements and following up.
- Telecommunications: forms, uses, and limitations of telecommunication in diplomacy, including particular reference to telephone diplomacy in crises (including “hot lines”) and video-conferencing.
- Bilateral Diplomacy: embassies, consular posts, and unconventional resident missions such as interests sections and representative offices; why they are the major part of the modern counter-revolution in diplomatic practice.
- Multilateral Diplomacy: ad hoc and standing conferences; questions of procedure: venue, membership, agenda, transparency, and above all decision-making; the triumph of 'consensus-decision making' and its various techniques, for example, NATO’s silence procedure.
- Mediation: good offices, conciliation, and mediation; the motives of mediators (track one and track two); multi-party mediation; is there an 'ideal' mediator? The ripe moment and whether there is such a thing as a premature mediation.
- Summitry - The Diplomatist’s Bane: the case for the defence: serial summits, ad hoc summits (including funeral diplomacy), the high-level exchange of views; secrets of summit success.
17 Feb 2020