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Concept of Representation in Diplomacy - Essay Example

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Representation is an integral part of the theory and practice of modern diplomacy. That notwithstanding, the concept of representation is not always easy to articulate given that it has so many interpretations as well as varying methods of implementation by different countries…
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Concept of Representation in Diplomacy
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Concept of Representation in Diplomacy

Download file to see previous pages... In the past, literature in the field of diplomacy has defined representation in various ways, some of which are even conflicting when it comes to its role in international relations in contemporary and future society. However, the importance of diplomatic representation in diplomacy would depend on the meaning attributed to this concept. As a result, the relevance of diplomatic representation has become the centre of a major debate about the importance of diplomacy in a fast evolving world. It's hard for us to picture what ancient diplomacy was all about. However, the diplomacy in the Greek and Roman civilizations was intermittent and generated no permanent in situations.1 (Hamilton and Langhorne 995: 7)
"In order to dispense with diplomacy, that is with the methods used by independent governments to work out their own relations with one another, mankind would either have to let independent governments exist without the diplomatic dialogue, or else dispense with independence and 'sovereign states' altogether. They would not be able to conclude peace settlements or treaties with their neighbours, for such settlements are the essence of diplomacy. Each would have to stand alone against a more powerful and aggressive neighbour. They would not be able to get into touch with one another, to band together or form leagues and alliances for mutual protection."2 (Watson 1991:22)

In the ancient days, representation was not so strong in diplomacy. Niccolo Machiavelli was a great ruler of his time. He is quite famous for his political theory. However, little is known about his reflections on diplomacy. Machiavelli emerged when diplomacy just began its transformation that saw the creation of resident embassies. (Berridge 2001:7-8)
In order for us to assess the role of diplomacy in today's world, some scholars argue that residential bilateral diplomacy is gradually becoming irrelevant. However, other scholars continue to uphold this type of diplomacy. These debates have been initiated by the changes that are occurring in the international system. Some scholars believe that the practice of diplomacy needs to adjust in order to adapt to the new environment, meanwhile others feel that the traditional methods still the answer the question today. (Berridge 2001:136) In the past, debates over globalization and global governance claimed that the role of governments decline over the years. But that hasn't happened. We are now witnessing different trends that prove this argument wrong.
There is still much government participation in the ways in which government agencies operate. The structures of contemporary diplomacy now operate in such a way that they do not only go out to articulate the international goals and policies of the state. Today's diplomatic structures also tend to represent components of the increasing network of global governance. The transformations in the structures of diplomacy strongly depict the ways in which governments are responding to the changes in the international system. (Manojlovic and Thorheim 2007:12)
Changes in the practice of diplomacy began with the introduction of the principle of self-determination, and then later proceeded into the era of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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