Multilateral diplomacy and bilateral diplomacy - Coursework Example

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Diplomatic effort as a sub-discipline of international relations aimed at building relationships between a pair of countries to address a host of prioritized issues ranging from sovereignty, security, food, and energy to culture, health, media and education in simple terms is…
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Bilateral and Multilateral Diplomacy – A Review Diplomatic effort as a sub-discipline of international relations aimed at building relationships between a pair of countries to address a host of prioritized issues ranging from sovereignty, security, food, and energy to culture, health, media and education in simple terms is termed bilateral diplomacy, though its origin is traceable to the practice of promoting trade and investment through mutual agreements. It is the basic building block for creating a network of external ties to advance each other’s interests, with an ever evolving pattern of political behavior. Traditional bilateralism also hinged on the premise that physical presence and diplomatic interaction is an essential prerequisite for acquisition of knowledge, understanding and appreciation about each other’s history, culture and environment. Establishing of permanent embassies with missions, ambassadors and consulates for exchange of diplomatic representation between national governments had been precisely to demonstrate bilateral diplomacy through internal adaptation of the geopolitical realities of domestic and regional pressures, external to the participant countries. In the spirit of “each for himself, and God for us all” stated aptly by the erstwhile British Foreign Secretary Canning, the justification for the existence of its structure lies in the continuing significance of states as entities, for keeping interstate relations alive, aided by modern day technology. The bilateral negotiation of a nuclear test ban between the Cold War compatriots, Soviet Union and the U.S at the Conference on Disarmament led to the CTBT -Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which was formulated having positive multilateral overtones on several other nuclear nations that got roped in subsequently. This outcome in the nuclear domain substantiates Thomas Nowotny’s first comment that multilateral diplomacy with widespread ratification indeed, not only turned out to be an adjunct to bilateral diplomacy between the two super powers, but also their inseparability for troubleshooting of critical problems.
The limitations of bilateral diplomacy when viewed globally get exposed in the modern context of seeking solutions to complex problems have far reaching consequences to the vast comity of nations. The problematic Human Rights (HR) issue is one, which encompasses women, children, disabled persons, elderly persons, migrants, minorities, refugees, HIV/AIDS afflicted persons and HR defenders to name a few, with its manifestations unique to each country. Growing involvement of experts from different nations, NGO’s and citizens groups has provided the teeth for multilateral diplomacy to succeed in the HR domain. With 192 member states, the HR Council of the United Nations (UN) is the creation of the UN General Assembly mandated for addressing situations of HR violations and make appropriate recommendations for remedial action. Multilateral diplomacy in conflict resolution and prevention has seen to be far more effective in offering policy solutions at the macro level with consensus building in such situations, at times even with legal remedies; e.g. the well known and internationally significant case emphasizing the applicability of Economic, Social and Cultural Human Rights is the South African Grootbroom Case involving housing rights, which was adjudicated in a court of law to legally remedy the HR violations through UN intervention for compensating the victims rendered homeless; it need however be stressed that bilateral state diplomacy at the micro level also played a complementary role in resolving the matter. The UN role to support reconciliation and transitional justice after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda is yet another famous HR case of providing succor to the affected masses. South Africa and Rwanda cooperating with the multilateral diplomatic effort of the UN in working out acceptable solutions, endorses the second half of Thomas Nowotny’s statement that the function of bilateral diplomacy being inherent in the multilateral diplomacy effort is not only apparent, but once again highlights their inseparability.
1. Esther, Brimmer. The Role and Relevance of Multilateral Diplomacy in U. S Foreign Policy. 11 Jan. 2011. Web. 23 Oct. 2011.
2. “UNDP-OHCHR Toolkit for collaboration with National Human Rights Institutions”, (n.d). Web. 24 Oct. 2011. Read More
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