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old issues which are now presented with fresh arguments and new concepts, since new situations cannot be handled with outdated techniques and methods unsuitable for the present.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

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