Archive | June, 2013

34. Globalization influences on diplomacy

11 Jun

Globalization influences on diplomacy

1. The profound changes in international relations, evident in its orientation, design and implementation, are often the result of the speed and intensity of changes from the globalization process and the increasing inclusion and participation of Heads of State, and also of the multiplicity of simultaneous and different forums of negotiation in the international arena.

2. The impact of the changing global economy is also felt in the evolving international relations.  Further, the limitations that the international environment “imposes” on the traditional sovereignty of States now force these States to deal with new approaches.

3. The ongoing tension between continuity and change illustrates the inherent characteristic of the international system, and it has now reached a level of complexity hardly comparable with previous historical periods. In many cases the so-called new processes do not stop dealing with the old issues which are now presented with fresh arguments and new concepts, since new situations cannot be handled with outdated techniques and methods unsuitable for the present.

4. The contemporary diplomat, in addition to his core responsibilities, should know how to properly address the implications of globalization, and deftly handle issues relating to foreign investment and the increasing influence of international standards set by international organisations with competence in that area.

5. These are some of the essential aspects to be taken into account when organising the multidisciplinary training required for diplomats which will result in the proper selection of diplomatic representatives. There is no room for inconsistency, since mistakes or improvisations during negotiations often produce damage and unpredictable consequences for the respective State.

6. One of the newer developments in international relations is the acceptance of steps and processes taken by regional or provincial (or sub-national) governments within a unified State to establish, among other links, contacts for cooperation with foreign governments or with counterpart sub-national governments in other unified States. These steps and processes often deal with foreign trade, investment, research, environmental protection, tourism and cultural and sports exchanges. However, these relations do not move into the area of foreign policy which historically is the preserve of the central government.

7. The danger of this developing form of diplomacy or “proto-diplomacy” conducted by regional or provincial governments within a unified State is that it promotes separatism since a particular regional or provincial government may use such international activity as preparatory work for a future secession and international recognition.

8. There is also the concept of “post-diplomacy” which refers to international action taken by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) within a particular State to promote their positions through their contacts with foreign governments. Their views may conflict with those of the State which also has diplomatic relations with the governments contacted by the NGOs.

9. Another mutation in international relations, though not widespread, is the is the idea of “anti-diplomacy.” This term refers to the sinister and unsettling action of international terrorism, drug traffickers and the transnational organised crime, and political and economic espionage.

© by Odeen Ishmael


33. Multilateral preventive diplomacy

4 Jun

Multilateral preventive diplomacy

1. One of the great challenges of international organisations and states themselves is to effectively prevent through peaceful means of conflict and disputes that may threaten international peace and security.

2. In the relentless search for effective ways to consolidate peace and security, reinforced by the enactment of the Charter of San Francisco (1945), the international community gradually began structuring what has become known as preventive diplomacy.

3. At present, the role of preventive diplomacy, as its name suggests, is essentially to prevent the dangers of confrontation, ruptures, and the abuse of dominance. This type of diplomacy is committed to becoming a tool designed to eradicate the deep roots and iron out the complex issues that characterise the conflict. A prominent part of the strategy of this diplomacy is aimed at creating the awareness to avoid hasty and aggressive actions.

4. Conflict resolution involves more than implementing effective diplomatic action.  In conflict prevention, aspects to be considered particularly in the developing nations include reinforcing the pillars that support peace, such as the promotion and development of democracy, respect for human rights, promoting equity in distribution of resources, consistently raising the educational, economic and social development of the population, and the creation and strengthening of national institutions. Further, international organisations and NGOs should help in increasing the role of “civil society.” Implementing such actions often contribute to preventing conflict or, at least, reducing its intensity.

5. This is a long-term process, which is applied in three areas: the structural causes of conflict; institutional capacity to address the tensions; and specific solutions in the context of specific countries. Thus, the main issue is to strengthen peace and security.

6. To achieve the goal of preventive diplomacy, that is, in essence to avoid a crisis, it is necessary to take into account specific measures to try to establish a climate of mutual trust between the disputing parties (potential, current or past). These measures entail improving research systems and strengthening early warning mechanisms responsible for determining the existence of a threat to peace. If the situation in a specific country requires it, the international community can authorise the preventive deployment of United Nations forces (as authorised by the UN Charter) to prevent cross-border attacks and prevent hostilities, even within the country itself.

7. The term “preventive diplomacy” was coined by Dag Hammarskjöld, when he was UN Secretary General, when in 1960 he introduced the term in the Security Council Report on South Africa. However, the inclusion of the concept of preventive diplomacy effectively developed relatively recently, when through the “Peace Programme” then UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1992 proposed that the concept should be applied globally.

8. Two issues are related to preventive diplomacy. These are the so-called “preventive action” and the “right to intervene.” This latter action is applied in cases of breach of peace and security, human rights violations and attacks on democracy.

© by Odeen Ishmael