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Diplomacy in politics - Essay Example

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Even the idlest professor may say something of value on a topic which has been his main means of livelihood for a long period of time. But such technical…
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Diplomacy in politics
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Download file to see previous pages No less a person than Mr Gladstone, it is recorded, was of the opinion that the University Common Room was as bad as the Bank of England Parlour in narrowing the point of view. It seemed to me, therefore, that I might best, perhaps, speak on a subject which throws some light on the complexity of human nature and which I have had some opportunity to observe at close quarters. I am sure you will acquit me of any undue estimate of the importance of the role which I myself played in a subordinate position during the two great wars, if I illustrate my theme occasionally from my own experience. For it is by action that a man is made most vividly aware of the limitations which human nature imposes on the conduct of policy. It is no accident that the two most scolding pens amongst British historians today are wielded by two who have had no practical experience of political or military affairs.
The subject of diplomacy has of course been expounded by a long array of writers. They have, however, often considered it in the wider aspect of policy rather than in that of the method by which policy is implemented. But today I intend to speak of the tactics of diplomacy, not of its strategy. There is, it is true, as in war, a vital connexion between the two. The most magnificent conceptions of policy are useless unless there is a means of putting them into effect. In the last war immense devotion, skill and energy and a wealth of economic and statistical information and analysis were devoted to the elaboration of plans by which the war against Germany could be quickly won by a bombing offensive. Their only weakness was that it was impossible to carry them out. Similar situations often arise in the formation of foreign policy. For this reason even in this field a subordinate may be able at times to make a contribution to great events and no Foreign Minister has ever touched greatness unless he was ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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