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Globalisation and diplomacy

by on May 10, 2014

Diplomacy of sorts can be traced back to as far as the Ancient Greek era with interactions being conducted between groups largely as conflict resolution. However, the term Pubic diplomacy as we now understand it was first coined in 1965 by Edmund Gullion. This Modern Public Diplomacy is traditionally concerned with managing relations of states with one another and with other actors and with growing a state’s “soft power”. From a state-centric perspective the diplomacy is intended to help in shaping, advising and in the implementation of foreign policy. These forms of public diplomacy are largely associated with the relations between a state’s diplomatic personnel or foreign minister, however this paradigm is now largely considered outdated.

Some consider the twenty-first century to have brought with it changes to the way in which public diplomacy is conducted. Following developments due to globalisation and in terms of the media, public diplomacy has been subject to change, with the way in which states communicate in the international political landscape needing to reflect theses global developments. More traditional concept of public diplomacy has now evolved. In this globalised environment numerous western leaders now communicate directly through means such as SMS (text messaging) for example. In a regional summit meeting the head of government from one Southeast Asian state sent text messages to three other leaders in the same room regarding a new proposal he had just considered and before his own officials had any realisation of this proposal and without any kind of official recognition of exchanges between leaders a new initiative had been passed. This shows how more traditional public diplomacy has changed and the speed to which interactions between states in now able to happen.

Developments in information technology communications have changed the way state interaction have happened and to a great extent have narrowed the gap between states in their ability to communicate with many embassies and foreign ministries now using social networks for interstate communication. Canada has been amongst the leaders in technological public diplomacy. Embracing the technological advances globalisation has brought with it Canada uses technological means for domestic public outreach, net-based public diplomacy communications, export promotion and diplomatic training. These changes have not only changed the way in which diplomacy is carried out but also the speed to which it is now required. Foreign ministries for example are now expected to react to an event as soon as it occurs, as they largely have the means to. This has also led to interstate communication being far more frequent than it once was along with being far more diverse in nature.

More traditional diplomacy also was largely concerned with political interaction and negotiation however; globalisation has also brought a change to this. The changing content of public diplomacy is now not only encompassed by political negotiations but those concerning a states economy’s which has coined terms such as “oil diplomacy” and “resource diplomacy”. From the 1970, following greater economic dependency from states to one another economic diplomacy has emerged as a key part of external relations. The diplomatic system is now also concerned with the negotiations of issues such foreign direct investment and export promotion between states. This can be seen Prime Minister David Cameron’s three day trip to china in December 2013 which was the biggest business delegation the UK has had in China. Negotiations were had with the three most senior members of the Chinese government regarding investment in the forthcoming High Speed 2 rail line from the Chinese and future foreign direct investment. This highlights the development in motives behind state negotiations and diplomacy.
Globalisation has caused various changes to the way states communicate. States are now able to communicate far more frequently, far more quickly and by different means. Negotiation between foreign misters have in some, cases been by passed by text messages and web based communications. Furthermore, the content of diplomacy has also been subject to change. It seems politics led state negotiations have been joined by more economic led negotiations due to the more economic interdependency states have with one another. What largely remains the same however is aims. Modern diplomacy can still be seen to be concerned with conflict resolution and as a means of a state growing its “soft power”.


Barston, R (2006). Modern Diplomacy. 3rd ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited. 1-8.
Pamment, J (2013). New Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century . Abingdon : Routledge. 20-26.
Rana, Kishan S. (2011). 21st Century Diplomacy : A Practitioner’s Guide. London: Continuum International Publishing. 13-24.
Stacey, K. (2013). David Cameron calls for China investment in UK’s HS2. Available: Last accessed 30th April 2014.


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One Comment
  1. I like the historic approach to the topic that you took, assessing how it changed over time however it felt a little bit impersonal for a blog post and more essayish.

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