Diplomacy-International Relations-Lecture Handout, Exercises for International Relations. Alagappa University

International Relations

Description: This course talks about approaches to IR, balance of power, colonialism, neo-colonialism, imperialism, arms control, international organizations, integration in IR, national interests, international economic order, cold war, global divide, nation state system. This lecture includes: Definitions, Multilateral, Diplomacy, National, Interests, World, Trade, Organization, Environmental, Agreements
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International Relations-PSC 201 VU

© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 25


Definitions of Diplomacy

Diplomacy is the management of IR through negotiations or the method by which these relations are adjusted or managed. Diplomacy tries to achieve the maximum objectives (national interests) with a minimum of costs in a system of politics where war remains a possibility.

There are two major forms of diplomacy. The simplest and the oldest is bilateral diplomacy between two states. Bilateral diplomacy is still common with many treaties between two states, and it is a main concern of embassies. The other form of diplomacy is multilateral diplomacy involving many states.

Formal multilateral diplomacy is normally dated to the Congress of Vienna in the nineteenth century. Since then, multilateralism has grown in importance. Today most trade treaties, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), arms control agreements, such as the Partial Test Ban Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and environmental agreements, such as the Koyoto Accord, are multilateral. The United Nations (UN) is the most important institution of multilateral diplomacy.

Diplomacy from a Historical Perspective

The ability to practice diplomacy is one of the defining elements of a state, and diplomacy has been practiced since the first city states were formed millennia ago (around 5th BC). For the majority of human history diplomats were sent only for specific negotiations, and would return immediately after their mission concluded.

Diplomats were usually relatives of the ruling family or of very high rank in order to give them legitimacy when they sought to negotiate with the other state. Envoys eventually became negotiators rather than being just messengers. During the Middle Ages (6th to 18th century), the scope of diplomacy did not grow much and diplomats were mostly confined to maintaining archives rather than negotiating them.

In the late Middle Ages, in Genoa, the Duke of Milan established the first foreign mission. But this was still diplomacy of the court rather than that of the people.

After the American and French revolutions, diplomacy became more democratic and less aristocratic. The Congress of Vienna (1815) laid down procedures for diplomatic immunities and defined diplomatic hierarchies.

How Diplomacy Functions

Diplomacy functions through a network of foreign officers, embassies, consulates, and special missions operating around the globe. Diplomacy is bilateral in character but as a result of growing international and regional organizations, it is becoming increasingly multilateral in character.


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