Gone are the days when the only means of resolving conflicts between countries were long blood smeared wars with no talks about finding a peaceful way out. As the world grows into a compact village where every country is dependent on the other for its sustenance, resolving conflicting interests, reconciling ructions and pursuing peaceful relations, knowing Diplomacy at its best is of sheer importance and irrevocable: something a country cannot exist without. Today, Diplomacy is being heavily banked on by every state for a peaceful way of pursuing its means without creating a pre-war condition. However, the way Diplomacy works and exists now is not the crude form it was born with.
Diplomacy dates back to being as ancient as human existence itself, ever since man came into being, his need to settle matters to his benefit became of utmost importance, and states are the best representation of human nature when it comes to settling matters to one's advantage(s) as Henry Wotton (1568 -- 1639), who served as the English ambassador to several foreign government in 1604 puts it:
"An ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country."(Patrick 1223)
Though this statement might sound harsh and cynical for some -- and it is indeed, to some extent -- but the reality lies in the fact that a person who's been sent as a diplomat to the receiving state can and will not put his own country's welfare at stake for another. In today's world, however, no one's a fool and subterfuge and lies do not help as much as they used to do when this statement was given. The notions centering on what and how Diplomacy ought to be; have evolved much since this definition to Diplomacy was given.
Rivalry between states and the thrust for power and security has been there since long. Diplomacy's formal birth, therefore, could be traced in 15th century (Renaissance) when Italian city-states were sending their representatives to the other cities to negotiate and harmonize matters.
"The diplomacy of this period assumed its characteristic form between 1420 and 1530 in a time which we all call the Renaissance, however we may differ about the limits of the term. Resident embassies, the distinguishing feature, was an Italian invention. They were fully developed in Italy by the 1450s and spread thence, like other Renaissance innovations, to the rest of Europe around 1500. And like other Renaissance innovations, they continued to develop along the lines laid down throughout the period which ended in 1914, so that their first stage may also properly be called the beginning of modern diplomacy." (Mattingly 12)
But how modern is this modern diplomacy? There have been changes in the way diplomacy was perceived before the Cold War period and that marks the answer that diplomacy practiced in the early 20th Century needed amends, which gives way to the question as to how well fitted these changes were and in what strategic ways did they effect the outcomes of relations between states from that time on.
The Diplomacy being practiced in the 19th century is now called the 'Traditional/Classical Diplomacy' having the core features: Formality, flexibility and secrecy. Since diplomats were the representatives of their country, their own demeanor was to represent the character their states had. Communication then, was not as advanced as it is now and therefore a country's fate was much dependent on how a diplomat dealt with a certain conflict or an issue. Secrecy was to be maintained at all costs which gives us a fair idea of what limitations there were in the Classical Diplomacy era and what possible reasons gave birth to 'New' Diplomacy.
It is believed by many that Secret Diplomacy and dictatorial governments acted as a catalyst to the hostility between the two rivals of the Cold War, i-e, Russia and the United States. However, it is debatable as to how accurate this accusation is.
But by the end of the 19th Century a growing need to bring evolution to the ways of the existing diplomatic notions stood facing the states as nationalism and democracy began to seep through the international system. Diplomats were expected to do more than just mould a situation to achieve a goal. Conflict is inevitable, but how to best avoid it began to be the question of a vital importance. It was quite obvious that secret diplomacy did not promote the openness as was required for dealing with the issues between states:
"Intellectuals analyze the operations of international systems; statesmen build them and there is a vast difference between the perspective of an analyst and that of a statesman. The analyst can choose which problem he wishes to study, whereas the statesman's problems are imposed on him. The analyst can allot whatever time is necessary to come to a clear conclusion; the overwhelming challenge for the statesman is the pressure of time. The analyst runs no risk. If his conclusions prove wrong, he can write another treatise. The statesman is permitted only one guess; his mistakes are irretrievable. The analyst has available to him all the facts; he will be judged on his intellectual power. The statesman must act on assessments that cannot be proved at the time that he is making them; he will be judged by history on the basis of how wisely he managed the inevitable change and, above all, by how well he preserves the peace." (3) (Grossman)
The above statement by Henry Kissinger reemphasizes that peace should be perused above all and a diplomat must put a peaceful negotiation before his goal. One wrong decision could lead to a situation of war and hostility between states and achieving a goal in this condition would not amount to anything.
Diplomacy as we know it these days focuses on a greater openness than that of the Classical one. It also centers on shunning out conflicts as much as possible and establishing legal equality of all the states. Beginning from the end of the World War II, it serves to the purpose of the centralization of foreign decision making (also made a lot easier due to the growing means of communication and technology), summit diplomacy and multilateralism.
Centralized decision making has advanced, as aforementioned, due to the considerate rise in the communication, a diplomat (after he/she has been selected by the host state and approved by the receiving state and made Persona Grata) can stay in touch with his/her home state through email, telephone, fax and can even travel and discuss matters of pivotal importance and avail them to make the best possible decision, since a diplomat's residence is not subjected to government jurisdiction of the host country. This gives each state and its diplomat a wide birth to decide upon the best outcome to a problem, but on the downside decreases the power of a diplomat, bestowing more rights of decision to the diplomat's state than to the diplomat himself.
Summit diplomacy -- as an offshoot of the diplomat's state intervention -- is also becoming an increasing act in the world of contemporary diplomacy. Summit Diplomacy is the face-to-face negotiations between the leaders of the states to get a better understanding of each other's state issues and to bring out a solution in the light of these discussions.
"Some diplomatists may wish to do without summit diplomacy; perhaps because they fear that the leaders of states would not do as good a job of negotiating on behalf of the interests of the country as would professional diplomats themselves. Avoiding summit meetings is no longer possible, however; the supposedly risky seances take place with considerable frequency and many, if not most, of them are now multilateral events. Thus, meetings of the heads of state or government of the Group of Seven (G-7), plus Russia, 3 are now at least annual events, as are summits of the members of NATO, the European Union, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to name only a few. The passing of the Cold War accelerated this process, as bilateral summits became less common than those involving three or more states. During the Cold War, a "summit" inevitably referred to a meeting between the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States, while the rest of the world waited and watched. By the mid-1990s, however, multilateral summits were the norm rather than the exception. (Muldoon, Aviel, Reitano, and Sullivan 204)"
As mentioned in the above, summits are becoming more of a norm than an exception; they are also branching off into summits not just pinpointing political affairs between countries but also problems in regard with the economical relations between states, also called Economic Summits.
Another name for Economic Summits is the Group of Eight (G-8) which includes the leading economic states seeking to promote economic coordination and friendship among themselves.
Summit diplomacy has its pros, such as that it seeks to regulate peaceful cohabitation and understanding between two/more states, highlighting…