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The Theoretical Foundations of the Old Diplomacy Are Outdated - Essay Example

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The Theoretical Foundations of the Old Diplomacy are Outdated. History and Political Science Outline Introduction Theoretical foundations of the old diplomacy The Decline of the ‘old diplomacy’ New Realities Conclusion Reference List Introduction Diplomacy has been described as: ‘the peaceful conduct of relations amongst political entities, their principals and accredited agents’…
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Download file to see previous pages ..’ Its practice dates back to the earliest known civilizations, beginning, according to Hamilton & Langhorne (2011, p.7), when early human societies realized that it makes for much better peace and harmony to listen to a message rather than to eat the messenger. Political entities, even in those times, recognized the need to co-exist with one another, as well as to enter into unions and forge alliances - in defence or offence - against common threats and perceived enemies. Early diplomatic practice, which may have begun in the ancient Near East around the middle of the third millennium B.C. (Hamilton & Langhorne, 2011, p.8) provided the framework for this. The practice of diplomacy has evolved over time, with two broad classifications emerging: the ‘old diplomacy’, practiced up to the early part of the twentieth century and the ‘new diplomacy’, which succeeded it. Theoretical Foundations of the ‘Old Diplomacy’ The gradual evolution of early political entities (clans, villages, tribes, etc.) over millennia gave rise to the birth of sovereign nation states. The need to maintain an orderly structure of international relations in order to secure the growing prosperity of the nation states, in other words, the necessity for diplomacy between expanding political entities with often competing interests saw the emergence in Europe of what has been loosely described as the ‘old diplomacy’. It had, according to Nicolson (1954, p.73-77), five principal features, as follows: 1. Europe was conceived as the most important of all the continents. The greatest nations of Europe (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, France and Britain) were regarded as the ‘Great Powers’ while other nations had to wear the toga of ‘Minor’ or ‘Small Powers’ No war, it was believed, could become a major global threat unless one of the five great European powers got themselves embroiled in it. Thus Europe was seen as holding the balance between war and peace on a general scale. 2. The ‘Great Powers’ were seen as pre-eminent over the ‘Small Powers’, having wider responsibilities, holding more prominent and sophisticated interests and possessing greater resources, whether in money or armaments. The ‘Small Powers’ were ranked in order of their strategic importance and position, their value as markets or sources of raw materials and their relation to the balance of power. 3. The ‘Great Powers’ arrogated to themselves the common responsibility for exercising oversight functions in regard to the conduct of affairs between the ‘Small Powers’ and the preservation of peace and amity amongst them, considering themselves invested with the authority to intervene directly and by force of arms where necessary, in disputes and disagreements between these ‘Small Powers’. 4. To secure and uphold the hegemonic structure thus put in place, there was the need to establish in every country a professional diplomatic service and an associated diplomatic corps built on a more or less identical model, with common standards of professional conduct. This made it possible for Ambassadors of various countries to relate to each other with mutual respect and confidence, even when the nations they represented were engaged in acrimonious disputes or warfare. 5. Following from the above, the rule was also established that negotiations between states should be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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