Posts Tagged

Diplomacy

Three years ago, US-Iranian relations could not have been better. Once declared part of the ‘Axis of Evil’ by then-president George W. Bush, the Iran Nuclear Deal signed by his successor Barack Obama heralded a new age of more constructive ties with Tehran and the promise of greater nuclear security. While critics raised concerns that Iran would renege on the deal, these fears had proven unfounded so far – the IAEA confirmed that Iran has complied with its obligations under the agreement. Nonetheless, the Trump administration withdrew the US from the nuclear deal. Additionally, Trump has re-imposed all sanctions removed in 2015. With trust between Washington and Tehran in tatters and US carrier groups deployed to the Persian Gulf, the …

Dr Tristen Naylor, Oxford’s Lecturer in Diplomatic Studies, chatted with Tom Fletcher, the former British Ambassador and Downing Street foreign policy advisor, about his new book, Naked Diplomacy. In this three-part series their discussion explores everything from diplomacy in the digital era to the divide between academics and policy makers — with a nod to the intertextuality of W.H. Auden and Black Sabbath along the way. See Part II here.     TN: Tom, your new book is Naked Diplomacy and your blog is The Naked Diplomat. Borrowing from Jamie Oliver as the ‘Naked Chef’, who sought to strip cooking back to its bare essentials, you’re seeking to do the same with diplomacy. Why do you think that doing so is necessary now? TF: …

In this interview, Todd Hall comments on some of the key aspects of his most recent publication Emotional Diplomacy: Official Emotion on the International Stage. How do state representatives use emotional displays strategically and what can they achieve by applying emotion to diplomacy? How do anger, sympathy and guilt feature in international relations? It is with clarity and distinction, that Todd Hall lays out how emotions are used to influence outcomes in international relations, both in theory and in practice.

Newly confirmed as US Secretary of State, John Kerry delivered his first policy speech last week, making the case for a renewed and proactive American diplomacy. Directing his remarks to the US Congress – and to Beijing’s leaders – more than to his actual audience at the University of Virginia, his message was urgent: “This is a time to continue to engage for the sake of the safety and the economic health of our country. This is not optional. It is a necessity.” Given the looming March 1 deadline for across-the-board sequestration which would reduce State Department operations by $850 million and foreign assistance by $1.7 billion, the US’ chief diplomat used his speech to defend the foreign policy budget against spending cuts, portraying foreign affairs as the guarantor of American economic prosperity.

Public International Law tends to elicit from many people a cynical response; from many others a dogmatic attitude. International Law is thus seen by the first as irrelevant and unrealistic and by the latter as deserving a religious-like adoration. Neither position is warranted by reality.

In the New Hampshire debate, Mitt Romney trumpeted his willingness to engage China in a trade war. Romney’s longstanding efforts to paint himself as someone willing to stand up to China exemplify an alarming trend of China-bashing in U.S. politics. Rick Santorum, among others, has echoed Romney, declaring, “I want to beat China.” Such statements are primarily targeted at shoring up political support and secondarily at painting President Obama as being soft on China. We should not take them as an accurate indication of future policy. And despite this overriding political calculus, these remarks are on to something – Beijing’s currency manipulation gives China a competitive advantage in global trade, and its abuse of intellectual property rights ought to be …

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire. Over Christmas I visited Boston and had the occasion to walk the famous freedom trail: 3 miles of sights commemorating American independence. As I walked this hallowed ground I pondered on those fighting for freedom today, in the streets of Cairo, Homs and Tunis. Having met some of these people, I wondered at the suspicion we direct at the Islamic parties now gaining power, as if we forgot our own history. American democracy was born of Puritan principles of self-government, but that did not prevent it from evolving into the (more or less) secular body it is today.  Ignoring this …

At the 2005 UN World Summit, more than 170 Heads of State and Government accepted three interlinked responsibilities, which together constitute the principle of ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P). First, States accepted the responsibility to protect their own populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Second, States promised to assist each other in fulfilling their domestic protection responsibilities. And third, the international community took on a collective responsibility to react, in a timely and decisive manner, if particular States are manifestly failing to protect their populations from the abovementioned mass atrocity crimes. Despite a quite remarkable normative development (see for example the frequent invocation of R2P in relation to the recent Libya crisis), this R2P principle is …