A Critical Analysis on Importance of Diplomatic Relations
Authored by - Mohan Kumar N
Department of Political Science
Vidyavardhaka First Grade College, Mysuru
By promoting the interests of the state, nation, or organization it serves, diplomacy aims to strengthen the state, nation, or organization it serves in relation to others. In order to achieve this, diplomatic activity seeks to maximize a group’s advantages without using force or causing resentment and at the same time without incurring any costs or risks. The purpose of diplomacy is to execute the foreign policy of the sending state in the host country, as well as to foster order and peace in anarchic societies. In addition, diplomacy is responsible for communication, negotiation, intelligence gathering, image management, and policy implementation. A specific agenda can be accomplished through diplomacy most effectively. In other words, without diplomacy, much of the world’s affairs would be lost, international organizations would cease to exist, and the world would be at constant war above all else. In order for certain countries to exist in harmony, they must be able to communicate. Diplomatic missions are responsible for representing the sending state in the receiving state; protecting the interests of the sending state and its nationals within the limits permitted by international law; negotiating with the government of the receiving state; and so on. This article discuss about importance of diplomatic relations, role of diplomats to create good relations between sending and receiving state.
In the 21st century, diplomacy is more proactive, multidirectional, and innovative than ever before. As a result of external issues, our world is becoming increasingly interconnected, and new topics are crowding the international agenda. The international affairs of many actors are discussed at home and abroad. Diplomacy is the vessel which nations use as a compass to dialogue, negotiate, influence, build cohesion in relationship with other nations with a view to promote and advance their national interests in every dimension of national endeavour - security, economy, trade, politics, religion, culture, technology. Diplomacy is non- confrontational strategic approach in international relations.
Diplomacy is an area of specialty in International Relations that focuses on the study of tactical inter-governmental relationships aimed to advance national interests without being confrontational between/among nations. Those who are graduates of the discipline and carry out its functions on behalf of their country are called diplomats.
1. Diplomacy is the vessel for peaceful cooperation, dialogue, negotiation, cohesion and harmony between/among nations.
2. Diplomacy is the governmental channels for economic/trade, social, cultural, political and technological knowledge anchored on mutual relationships between/among nations.
3. Diplomacy is a veritable means for conflict resolution, peace-building in crisis situations between/among nations.
4. Diplomacy facilitates information, communication and knowledge exchange/sharing between/among nations.
Diplomacy helps quicker access to parties with which we need to communicate some issue, crisis etc. compared to other governmental officials that need to follow a longer protocol to access same parties. Another great benefit of diplomacy is that it serves as a professional and unique way of systematically communicating in 'international relations' instead of sending officials from different departments here and then.
Diplomacy is a key area of International Relations. If we want to achieve our foreign policy goal or objectives and overall our international interest, we need to know how to achieve it. Diplomacy is the way of achieving foreign policy goal. In another word, diplomacy is a tool to achieve foreign policy objectives. A country needs efficient diplomats for its strong international relation with other countries. Often, diplomacy refers to representatives of different groups discussing such issues as conflict, trade, the environment, technology, or security.
People who practice diplomacy are called diplomats. Diplomats try to help their own country, encourage cooperation between nations, and maintain peace. A group of diplomats representing one country that lives in another country is called a diplomatic mission. A permanent diplomatic mission is called an embassy. An ambassador is the lead diplomat at an embassy. A large diplomatic mission may have representation besides a single embassy. Other places of representation are called consulates.
The art of diplomacy began in ancient times. Treaties between different cities in Mesopotamia, in what is now Iraq, date back to 2850 B.C. Leaders of Egypt and Canaan (an ancient country in the Middle East) exchanged diplomatic letters in the 14th century B.C. Writing on the walls of ancient Mayan buildings in what is now Mexico indicate that Mayan cities exchanged diplomats. Embassies were first established in northern Italy in the 14th century.
For most of history, diplomacy was concerned with bilateral relations, or negotiations between two nations. A country or region often had dozens of trade or border agreements, each limited to a single other country or region. Bilateral relations are still a very common.
In the 20th century, diplomacy expanded. Today, the United Nations (UN), an international organization that works to promote cooperation and settle conflicts among nations, plays a large role in diplomacy. The General Assembly, the main body of the UN, has 195 members.
Diplomacy also grew to include summit meetings. Summits are meetings between top government officials. Summits can be between national leaders, such as presidents or prime ministers. Economic summits often involve business leaders, as well as treasury secretaries or trade ministers.
The United Nations Conference on Environmental Development, for instance, was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. More than a hundred heads-of-state attended the conference, in addition to thousands of professional diplomats and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Diplomats at Rio’s so-called “Earth Summit” reached an agreement to limit carbon emissions.
Diplomacy is accomplished by negotiation, or bargaining. Usually, each group in a negotiation will ask for more than they expect to get. They then compromise, or give up some of what they want, in order to come to an agreement. Often, an outside diplomat will help with the negotiations. For example, Martti Ahtisaari, a Finnish diplomat working for the UN, helped Namibia gain independence from South Africa in 1990.
Sometimes, one side in a negotiation refuses to compromise. When this happens, others involved in the negotiation may use diplomatic sanctions. Diplomatic sanctions involve the reduction or removal of all embassy staff from the offending country. Lighter diplomatic sanctions may involve the refusal of a president to visit the offending country or meet with its leaders. Nicaragua cut off all diplomatic relations with Israel, for instance, in 2010. Nicaragua was protesting Israel’s attack on a shipment of aid to the Gaza Strip, part of the Palestinian Authority, with whom Israel has conflict. Countries may also threaten to use economic sanctions, or penalties. In 2006, many countries agreed not to trade with North Korea in an effort to stop the country from illegally testing nuclear weapons.
Other times, diplomats threaten to use force if a settlement is not reached. In 1990, Iraq invaded the neighbouring country of Kuwait. When Iraq refused to leave Kuwait, the United Nations approved a military response. A coalition, or group of nations working together, fought the Iraqi army, forcing them out of Kuwait.
Successful negotiation results in a diplomatic agreement. The most formal kind of an agreement is a treaty, a written contract between countries. The Treaty of Versailles, for instance, formally ended World War I. It was signed in Versailles, France. Diplomats from the Central Powers, including Germany and Austria, were not allowed to negotiate the treaty.
Some treaties require years of diplomatic negotiation. The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the United States and the Soviet Union began in 1969. The talks continued through 1979. The treaties that resulted from these diplomatic negotiations (named SALT I and SALT II) reduced the number of nuclear weapons being produced.
Diplomacy as a tool of international relations can be defined as the practice and process of conducting negotiations, holding discussions and meetings between or among accredited representatives of countries and intergovernmental organizations (Bossman E. Asare, 2018). It could also mean the processes in which government on behalf of its citizens interrelate and cooperate with other governments overseas to come up with policies which seems to be of interest of the mass or constituent states. In international relations, representatives are sent from countries to another to hold meetings on behalf of their countries since the full populations of several countries cannot be engaged in discussions held among countries internationally. These representatives are known as Diplomats, they are mobile personnel who carry information from their country to other countries and from other countries to their country. The following are the importance of Diplomacy in relation to international relations in our contemporary world.
Firstly, diplomacy in international relations serves as the channel for representation. States through the practice of diplomacy expose and position themselves in the international system. Most sovereign states are represented by accredited diplomats in the international system to voice out the views, policies and objections of these countries as participators of the international system. These representations set legal paths for recognition in the system and also provide the chance to offer and to be offered any kind of assistance globally. For instance, since Ghana is being represented at the international level, it is recognised and opened up to be offered any assistance from other countries, in cases there are challenges such us famine, war, political and economic instability among others.
Again, in international relations, diplomacy has been one of the major trajectories to of transferring values to (or assimilating values of) different countries in order to maintain coherence among territories. In international politics, diplomacy allows countries to portray or practice the values of other countries which are considered as satisfactory and decent as well as profitable. This is called soft power because, these values are not imposed forcefully on countries but they rather inculcate the habit of practicing them if only it is considered helpful to the economic, social and political state of the countries.
Moreover, diplomacy in international relations helps in gathering relevant information from constituent states in the international system. Diplomats involved carry on information from their country into other countries and from other countries to their countries to generate a cordial relations or agreement between their countries and the countries in which they are accredited to work in. They may also inform their native countries if they find out that the state in which they are working is planning of malice against their countries or even against the international system as a whole. For instance, The Ambassador from Ghana to United States of America can inform Ghana if he finds out that USA is in the process of manufacturing perilous weapons which may one day cause hazard internationally. In other words, diplomats relatively serve as the mouthpiece of their countries which circulate information in the international system.
Furthermore, diplomacy has been a significant tool in international relations by aiding the expansion of political, economic and cultural ties between countries in the global system. States somehow interfere positively in the affairs of other states through diplomatic paths, for instance, countries may hold meetings or negotiate on political issues such as importation and exportation, cooperative defence and marketing. This activities of inter states governments interference contribute to the dilation of the coasts of politics and culture in the international system.
Diplomacy in other words is said to facilitate the observation of international law. International law is the rules which guides or shape the policies of countries towards other countries, or a body of legal system that that regulates the actions of individuals and entities with global or international personality. This law is recognised and obeyed by the individual constituent states in the global system. It regulates their policies within the states in some areas such as protecting the rights of vulnerable individuals within the states, ensuring sovereign equality, that is ensuring that all countries irrespective of territory size or economic state or even population are equal in supremacy or sovereignty, maintaining extraterritoriality, which is the maintenance of jurisdictions over diplomatic missions in other countries and peaceful government-to-government relations to facilitate coherence among countries in the global system.
In other ways, diplomacy in relation to international relations is a crisis managing tool in the global system. This is one of the major roles diplomacy performs as far as the global system is concerned. A crisis is any event that is going (or is expected) to lead to an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, community, or whole society.
Diplomacy allows countries to hold meetings to negotiate and make vital decisions on how to curb crisis in the global system. Countries by diplomacy correlate with each in a cordial manner to negotiate on policies that correspond to the interest of both states and seek not to violate the right of any constituent state in the global system. These actions aid at ending up in a peaceful correlation among states. Therefore, there is less possibility that crisis may emanate due to some misunderstanding among states. Also, should any crisis emanate between two states, the governments in the two states through diplomacy hold meetings to manage or thwart totally ongoing crisis. In the same way, when a country encounter crisis internally, due to diplomatic missions, other countries interfere and aid help to such a country.
Finally, citizens enjoy them services rendered by the various diplomatic missions across countries. Majorly, they perform consular services to citizens across countries. The Embassies, or the High Commissions and other consulates issue visas to those who want to visit their countries. This function seems to have been the major role of diplomats known to citizens. Diplomatic missions serve as channels through which people get the opportunity to visit, make business and educate themselves in other countries. They also assist and protect citizens of their countries at their duty stations. Diplomatic missions provide legal advices and counselling to their citizens in case the find themselves at the wrong side of the law. This make citizens live on another land comfortably with relatively less or no fear. Again, diplomatic missions, sign agreements on behalf of their countries. These agreements are on a number of issues which benefits both countries to urge then cooperate peacefully.
Diplomacy as the conduct of relations between sovereign states by members of their respective foreign services. There are also a wide range of definitions based on functions of diplomacy. Diplomacy tends to be an important key as far as international relation is concerned. Through diplomacy, universal and essential interests or needs of constituent countries in the global system are addressed. It yields global representation, encourages political and cultural spread, helps in gathering relevant information from constituent states in the international system, manages crisis, provide consular service as well as other services and facilitate the observation of international law. These functions sustain the existence and maintenance of interdependency and peaceful correlations in the international system.
 Philip.R.Trimble, International Law, Little, Brown and Company, Toronto, 1st ed, 1991, P-825.
 Ian Brownlie, Basic Documents in International Law, Oxford, 4th ed, 1995, p. 217-219
 Sir Robert Jennings & Arthur Watts, Oppenheim’s International Law, Pearson Education, 1st ed, 2003, p.542.