47. Secret diplomacy and “Raison d’Etat”

31 Oct

Secret diplomacy and “Raison d’Etat”

1. The field of international relations split into two stages the historical trajectory of diplomatic procedures, taking into account actual motivations rather than the fundamental concepts that underpin this exercise. These two stages are secret diplomacy and open diplomacy.

2. One could consider that the path of diplomacy from its origins has corresponded practically to secret diplomacy, which survived until the First World War. A secret diplomacy opposes open diplomacy, commonly practiced today, which has been the result of an intense and complex evolutionary process in the field of international relations which led to the enactment of the Charter of San Francisco which became the Charter of the United Nations Organisation.

3. It is worth noting that secret diplomacy has been the characteristic of this procedure for the duration of the exercise and was considered normal and desirable at the time. Actually, international commitments (treaties, agreements, covenants, among others) were not known by other nations, nor by public opinion nationally and internationally.

4. Secret diplomacy invoked the to justify many of the actions of both foreign policy and domestic policy. “Raison d’Etat” (state reason) is the historical foundation of a political theory by which the State’s interests take precedence over all others. It became an intrinsic decision based on genuine interest of the nation.

5. The invocation of “Raison d’Etat” usually occurs when a conflict arises as a result of political action and the State will place its resources in handling this particular issue at the expense of other national issues which may also be demanding attention. Through “Raison d’Etat” many dishonest operations have been conducted by governments. In despotic regimes, particularly, many unjust actions have been covered up or justified through the explanation “Raison d’Etat.”

6. “Raison d’Etat” has been invoked for centuries in order not to give account or explain a governmental decision, or cases of human rights violation or the miscarriage of justice. It has also been conceptualised the modern version of an old Machiavellian rule of thumb attributed to propose that government actions can only be judged by their success. “Raison d’Etat” actually proclaims that “the end justifies the means,” viewed as a landmark feature of the so-called “Machiavellian politics” which proclaims that “the Prince is the State.”

7. The era of secret diplomacy had its greatest diplomatic development mode which could be described as “Machiavellian diplomacy” which consisted of sinister techniques in pursuing national objectives. With the advent of open diplomacy it is now more difficult to implementation such actions.

8. The first half of the twentieth century was marked by two world wars. The world forged by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 was destroyed in World War I (1914-1919), and a few years after the society of nations was powerless to prevent the Second (1939-1945). Everything was affected as a result of these two great calamities suffered by humanity and next to the reconstruction plans of countries and their economies, it was necessary to revise the existing principles of international coexistence. It was in this context that the so-called open diplomacy arose. This type of diplomacy begins with fundamental changes in the diplomatic procedures that include the publication and registration of international treaties.

9. With the implementation of open diplomacy, global multilateral diplomacy has now become institutionalised. Before the development of global multilateral diplomacy, bilateral relations played the main role in diplomacy. Now, multilateral diplomacy has become a key factor in international relations.

© by Odeen Ishmael 

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