Diplomacy as a practice can never lose its poise but does it come with the charisma? The course to diplomacy was a choice I made to get an insight on how global diplomacy can really impact the world in the age of today when it is required the most. The ambition of this course is to dig into the true meaning of diplomacy which common people cannot possibly fathom. What causes its success and failure, qualities of a good diplomat and the various forms in which diplomacy is seen in action are such intriguing areas that entices youngsters to jump into the bandwagon of learning about diplomacy and eventually, making it a profession. It is a constant learning process which draws new challenges everyday with the changing scenarios worldwide.
|Picture courtesy: memeshappen.com |
It is considered as that vital key with the help of which a state attempts to open several locks of negotiations at the toughest of situations that result into world peace. A democratic state does not only include its representatives but also the common people of the state. As a matter of thought, diplomacy isn’t something that should be adopted by just the political entities, it is something that needs to be adopted by every single person of the state for the better good. The evolution of the state on the path of development and peace is possible only when the public and the political entities share a diplomatic relationship. Now, a diplomatic relationship may have the backdrop of something negative but it doesn’t necessarily cause any harm. It sets an example for non-democratic ones on how to be able to share ideas and work on them despite clashing ideas and irreconcilable differences between communities.
Who faces all the brunt? Diplomat! A diplomat is someone who carries the accreditation of their head of state, their sovereign to another entity. Diplomats are agents, advocates, informants and counsellors of their governments. The major task of diplomats is linking their government’s decision-makers to the foreign counterparts and commending the government of ways to defend its interests. Diplomats should have the necessary insight to formulate plans of action in favour of the interests of their country. The basic skills for diplomats requires them to be mutually supportive and to establish facilitative relationships with the officials of the other nation. As agents of their governments, diplomats must excel at the art of negotiation and reach a common ground with the other diplomats through conciliatory discussion. As advocates, diplomats must represent the credibility that comes with their commitment to the interests and policies of their government and help the other nation redefine its interests to be compatible with those of their own government. As reporters, diplomats must be observant, smart, adaptable and discreet about the policies of their government. As counsellors, diplomats must selflessly dedicate themselves to their own nation’s interests and be well-informed about how policies are made in their own government. International relations are preserved and administered only when diplomats engage in continuous dialogue and make equal efforts to maintain cordial relations with each other’s governments. Knowing the right balance between when to get involved and when to step back is also essential. It is a major responsibility and a thankless job!
The balance is struck with the perceptive knowledge of the three basic elements of diplomacy, which are, communication, representation and negotiation. Communication is important because in a diplomatic space it is necessary for people to be able to portray their message and ideas in the right manner and be good at heeding to opinions of others. Representation is important as it is not only about representing a point of view but the ideas of the people who elected us. Negotiation is significant for its caliber to deliberate without any restriction to be able to reach to an agreement. Now, the success and failure of diplomacy revolves around these 3 elements. Successful diplomacy is about engaging in continuous dialogue and where, in effect, some kind of agreement or compromise is reached through negotiation. Everybody represents their point of view and the constraints and harm of the agreement is contained to some degree.
Diplomacy exists in various forms around us and it involves the representatives as well as the common people of the state. It is practised in conventional and unconventional ways. Conventional ways would be the state and foreign ministry affairs where representatives of states skilfully manage international relations, engage in dialogue, conduct negotiations and help the other nation redefine its interests to be compatible with those of their own government. Unconventional ways would be diplomacy in intelligence cooperation, military relations, the enmeshing of computer networks and databases and business, or even the daily routine affairs.
Today, we are experiencing a shift in the civilizational paradigm, which affects the affairs of the states and shines light on the other factors related to international relations. The private sector, religious groups, immigrants, media and other entities of the civil society have become a very influential part of the modern diplomacy, which has led to the decline of the role of the governments in the society. These sectors demand from the government that their interests be taken into consideration and that they have a say in making and implementing foreign policy like how Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) have brought about modern diplomacy, maybe dangerous, may be not. (Perhaps, that’s for another time to discuss!) But they participate in the diplomatic process and aim to promote and discuss issues of human rights and environmental protection.
|Picture courtesy: AkshayChander.blogspot.in|
So, diplomacy is in action everywhere, be it the affairs of the state, public or the environment. It is an art and there is an artist in all of us, there is a diplomat in all of us. You can keep screaming that you DO NOT WANT WAR, but the real question will always remain, DO WE REALLY NEED DIPLOMACY?! Cause Diplomacy has always sown seeds for war.
Author: Ritu Jha