Archive | January, 2013

12. The forms of diplomacy

14 Jan

The forms of diplomacy

1. Diplomacy, conceptualised as the channel for excellence in executing foreign policy in the context of their proper implementation, usually has an influence on the choice of the appropriate strategy to enable the proper course to make the best decisions for the interests of the nation.

2. It is clear that no strategy can ignore the density of international networks and exchange information. Therefore, there must be adequate technical capacity to put at the service of diplomatic agents. The new procedures of information processing provide governments with the possibility of a continued understanding of the changing international environment, including fundamental data of interest, which are particularly important for the effective formulation and monitoring of the actions of foreign policy.

3. All concepts of diplomacy must be integrated into the economic, legal, political, historical and even geographical and social and cultural course of the day. The evolutionary process of diplomacy has created a considerable number of forms, some of which are the result of contemporary requirements.

4. One form of diplomacy that has recently attracted great interest, both in terms of international practice and the academic field, is called public diplomacy, whose development has helped several countries, according to their particular studies, research, analysis and experiences.

5. In essence, the public diplomacy refers to a series of initiatives to basically influence public opinion abroad. It also extends its work with special adaptations in the internal sphere of the respective States. Its main objective is to build, promote and disseminate an appropriate image and opinions of the country, including the projection of its values and the effective dissemination of its views.

6. Under the development of the public diplomacy is “cultural diplomacy” which promotes aspects of the country’s image by explicitly articulating the country’s business and economic goals, and showing that development and cooperation can contribute to them both directly and indirectly. The new strategy is basically to use the cultural potential of the nation for the benefit of its external relations, involving for that purpose the creation and development of a “country brand” project.

7. Currently, in international relations, the traditional methods of coercion through the use of force (economic, military or other), called “Hard Power” are losing space to the more subtle art of persuasion and effective influence (“Soft Power”). This is the consequence of a number of factors that have essentially been identified as the complex interdependence, the empowerment of public opinion, the revolution in the means of mass communication, the flow of ideas and information through electronic means, and prominently the phenomenon called “cultural globalisation.”

8. These factors are elements that require States to reformulate its foreign policy structures and implement and develop the so-called mass diplomacy or “cyber diplomacy” as a new focal point in international efforts. The importance of the “cyber diplomacy” lies in their effective actions and consequent benefits for the effective implementation of foreign policy of the State.

9. Historically there have been methods of diplomacy were the result of private international situation, which are “secret diplomacy” (survived until the enactment of the UN Charter); the “Machiavellian diplomacy” (i.e., the pursuit of national objectives by sinister tactics) whose implementation was provided in the past by the characteristics of secret diplomacy which then prevailed; “open diplomacy” (in force since 1945); the “dollar diplomacy” (replacing the bullet by the “civilizing” US dollars), the “diplomacy of the club” or the “big stick” (“talk softly, but  wield the big stick”); and “parallel diplomacy,” which refers to the efforts made abroad by state institutions without the direction, control or knowledge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the state institution officially recognised by the international community for the implementation of foreign policy and the assumption of obligations between States.

10. Currently, international political organisations such as the UN and OAS also talk about “preventive diplomacy” through which they should be able to assess if and when a problem situation could arise in a particular country and implement action to alleviate any such situation. Many of the more powerful countries also attempt to utilise this form of diplomacy.

© by Odeen Ishmael


11. International Arbitration

14 Jan

International Arbitration

1. In the contemporary international scene the peaceful settlement of disputes between States is a supreme imperative of international law, which is usually projected in the law of nations. In this regard, the Constitution of many countries has the commitment (both domestically and internationally) to apply, when the circumstances warrant, methods of peaceful settlement of disputes. Such procedures in its implementation and development must take into account the adjustments imposed by the new international realities, such as the fact that societies have now become interdependent and interconnected (and computerized) in many areas, particularly in the financial and commercial fields.

2. Arbitration has been established as a procedure for peaceful settlement of disputes by which the contesting states voluntarily submit the matter to one or more judges (referees), agreed to by both parties, and to whose decision they undertake to abide. Arbitration is part of the so-called peaceful legal methods of applying Article 33 of the UN Charter whose judgements are binding on the parties.

3. On the other hand, in bodies like the WTO, arbitration procedures themselves rely on to the resolution of disputes between its members. Similarly, inter alia, free trade agreements usually establish procedures for peaceful settlement of disputes. For instance, Central America Free Trade Agreement and the Dominican Republic entered in its Article 20.6 the option of a “Request for an Arbitral Panel” as a means of resolving disputes between its members.

4. In essence, in international law, arbitration is essentially a legal solution issued through an award by a person or a court to officiate as referees to end a dispute between States. The principles or legal rules to guide the intervention of the referees are general international law, unless the contesting states authorise the judge to act as a “conciliator.”

5. The so-called Permanent Court of Arbitration is not a court in the traditional sense. It consists basically of a list of arbitrators, to be able eventually to choose the judges for a particular arbitration case.

6. The nomination of arbitrators can be done either by the an agreement between States. They can also agree upon the rules or principles that the arbitration court will apply, the nature and timing of evidences, the site of the court, the language to be used, the time to produce the sentence, the application of the sentence, and, of course, to be bound by its ruling.

7. Similarly, the nomination of arbitrators may be the consequence of a treaty that provides for the arbitration mechanism for settling disputes that arise between the States. No doubt, the arbitration is a formal agreement that is perfected by means of a treaty. Its nature may be general (when there is agreement to submit all types of disagreements to arbitration); or special (when only certain cases are submitted).

8. Arbitration is different from international jurisdiction which operates through permanent courts with uniform rules. Arbitration is useful to resolve a particular dispute or a series of similar disputes or other isolated cases.

9. Arbitration differs from mediation in that the arbitrator must issue a decision in a matter of law, while the mediator proposes a compromise or recommend the best and fairest method to do so. Unlike mediation, arbitration judgements are binding on the parties. Ultimately, the effectiveness of arbitration, as in other methods of peaceful settlement, rests in the good faith of the States concerned.

10. Ultimately, international order also requires that the decision of an arbitration must be accompanied by the responsibility of both States to uphold it. The more complex, uncertain and fluid the external environment, the more it will require solid diplomacy, ethics and sense of responsibility by both States not to renounce the decision of an arbitration to which they both initially agreed.

© by Odeen Ishmael