'rather Than Being In Decline, Diplomacy Is Still An Essential Mechanism In Managing International Crises And Conflicts.' Discuss In The Context Of The Post Cold War Developments In Global Politics.

2205 words - 9 pages

In order to answer the question of whether diplomacy is "still an essential mechanism in managing international crises and conflicts', we first need to know what diplomacy is and what diplomats do. We then need to ask ourselves whether diplomacy and diplomats are adequate to the task of meeting post cold war diplomatic objectives for international peace and security. In this essay, I will demonstrate the continuing relevance of diplomacy and its essentialness to the successful resolution of international conflicts in the post-cold war era. Diplomacy, according to Brian Hocking (2001, http://www.cisp.org/imp/july_2001/07_01hocking.htm ) can be seen as both a "process through which international relations are conducted" and "a set of mechanisms through which these processes are enacted". This involves the process of negotiation, both between the representatives of nation states and between those representatives and other non-state actors, such as the United Nations (UN) who are becoming increasingly important to the diplomatic process and its success. The United States' (US) State Department offers a more specific definition, describing diplomacy as "an instrument of power essential for maintaining effective international relationships . . . the principal means through which the United States defends its interests, responds to crises, and achieves its international goals". This definition would equally well apply to any nation state or representative group in international relations. Diplomats are the physical manifestation of that process, the men and women who present the ideas for discussion, negotiate the treaties and agreements and work to resolve conflicts that, left unchecked, may lead to war.Moving away from simple definitions, diplomacy can be viewed in different ways, depending on which school of thought you follow. For Realists, such as Morgenthau, diplomacy is a "symptom of the struggle for power" in an anarchic system of nation-states (Morgenthau, in Unit 5, 2002, 6). In such a system, states use diplomats to pursue their own self-interest. The diplomat is, therefore, intrinsically biased and unreliable as a guarantor of fair play. Cosmopolitans, on the other hand, view diplomacy as an intrinsic part of the developing international community. Diplomatic relations are seen as being above the narrow confines of nation states and stretching into the global sphere of human interest, covering areas of general concern such as human rights, the environment and world population. The third school of thought, rationalism, sees diplomacy and diplomats as fitting in somewhere between the two extremes. Rationalists agree that states act out of self-interest, and that since most diplomats represent states, the corollary is a positive one. At the same time, rationalists view this interest in a benign light, with diplomacy taking on a more altruistic hue and diplomats working, not just for the state, but for the general welfare of all.If the aim of...

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