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Diplomacy Is The Management Of Relations Politics Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 3891 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Diplomacy is the management of relations and other actors its main aim being advising, shaping and implementation of Foreign Policy. States through their formal representatives and other actors, articulate, co-ordinate and secure specific or wider interests using correspondence, lobbying, threats, visits and other related activities [1] . Christopher Hill states that diplomacy is the human face of getting your own way into international politics, as well as a crucial instrument for building international stability [2] . It’s worth saying that diplomacy is a conglomeration of various components tactfully between states for mutual understanding.

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Main tasks of diplomacy as Barton states it may be outlined first and foremost as a representation, which could be formal or informal. Secondly it is a listening post where people meet to hear out each other’s views. Thirdly it lays a foundation for a policy or initiatives. Fourthly it reduces friction in other words it oils the wheels of bilateral or multilateral relations. Fifthly it contributes to change and orderly change. Finally it is the creation, drafting and amending of a wide body of international rules of normative and regulatory nature [3] . Diplomatic relations may result to changes but the need to be well managed for a smooth transition to input structure in international systems.

Most people attracted to the art of diplomatic signaling may view it differently. Diplomats often meet to exchange views, negotiate agreements and iron out differences in the anarchical international system. This is where sovereign states are paramount and any central authority absent places the onus on diplomacy to peacefully accommodate often selfish and conflicting interests [4] . Interestingly the domination that has always been enjoyed by diplomats is declining and has been overtaken by contributions from non-officials.

Any upright and forward thinking person has been keeping and eye to

continued rising conflicts and their aftermath as we advance into the twenty first century. In essence it helps one to think into the future although not all trends forecasted may turn out exactly as predicted but somehow helps us shape the future, making shrewd decisions and creating a better tomorrow.

Despondently, millions of lives have been lost and big chunks are civilians who are often grossly affected by these conflicts and if not well addressed can lead to increased crime rates, diseases and terrorism [5] .Hence the need for Second Track Diplomacy in resolving conflicts.

Mechanisms & Uses of Second Track Diplomacy

Second Track Diplomacy is also popularly know as “Track Two Diplomacy” as I will use them interchangeably throughout the essay, a word originally mentioned by Joseph Montville, a Foreign Service Officer in America [6] . “Track Two Diplomacy” can also be used interchangeably with “interactive Conflict resolution” although it is a part of “Track Two Diplomacy” [7] . Second Track Diplomacy corresponds to the rising increase in conflicts and the complexities therein towards achieving long lasting peace. Notwithstanding, we must factor in that Second Track Diplomacy is a form of diplomacy that has been going on since the onset of diplomacy but has received little attention in the last quarter of a century. He further says that it is the mounting remedy to synchronize contacts between official actors and the afflicted [8] .

Evidently, diplomacy has undergone various changes whose effect is seen on how international relations are carried out. Track two diplomacy can therefore be defined as a people to people diplomacy given that it has broadened the base of those involved to include non officials but a wide range of others. This has which has opened up options and more and avenues for interaction [9] . There is uncertainty regarding the onset of Second Track Diplomacy although we see it as a form of resolving conflict not knowing the exact definition of it today. Second Track Diplomacy was applied at the end of the Cold War where super powers demonstrated the importance of transnational relations [10] . For instance many people around the world believed that the former Soviet and US governments were unable to end the arms race and the cold war on their own. Surprisingly, the Pugwash Conferences applied then were somehow believed to have succeeded in helping the then leader Mikhail Gorbachev [11] . Transnational relations are therefore defined as regular interactions across national boundaries when at least one actor is a non-state agent or does not represent the government or an intergovernmental body [12] . The concept captured observed by many as ordinary citizens getting involved in issues commonly known to be exclusively for governments encompassing new issues such as the environment or human rights in interstate relations [13] . Intermittently, these citizens formed relations across borders engaging in ‘track-two diplomacy” as an alternative to official diplomacy [14] .

Recently, wars have turned out to be complex and worse of if there is a perception of inequality in distribution of resources, and then there is an upsurge of violence. Automatically such issues bring in a sense of sensitivity such that both parties question their integrity, disqualifying diplomacy in resolving conflicts. Second track diplomacy comes in a timely fashion to respond to the complexities arising in conflicts towards solving formidable divergence [15] . Further it opens up avenues for dialogue, cultural understanding and simultaneously exploring each others needs when official dialogues back fire. As a result it promotes cease-fire and the willingness to find long-term solutions that meet everyone’s desires [16] . Track Two Diplomacy is also used when unearthing deep root cause of conflicts and resolving them [17] . Track Two meetings are also handy when the government does not want or are unfit to engage officials facilitating exchanges between protagonists. This was evident between the Palestinians and Israelis before the Oslo Agreement. [18] 

Track One Diplomacy involves governments, it is formal, an official interaction amongst the various government representatives and can either be bilateral amongst two states or multilateral involving many [19] . However it should not be seen as a replacement for Track One Diplomacy but as a go between. The only concern that raises eyebrows is that it may lack the extensiveness of analysis often given by official diplomats hence questioning its efficacy.

There are various forms taken by Track Two Diplomacy it can either be “hard” or “soft” or Multi Track Diplomacy “Track 1 ½” which is a hybrid of track one and track two [20] .”Hard” Track Two are more elementary in drafting working papers to be used in Track One meetings therefore seen as a policy related problem solving dialogue [21] . “Soft” Track Two is for familiarization purposes that is familiarization with the issue at hand with the partakers. Thus enhancing exchanging ideas for in-depth understanding. As mentioned before Track 1 ½ is a hybrid of Track One and Track Two and entails both officials and non-official partakers in the discussion [22] . Track Two Diplomacy pursues political settings that satisfy fundamental security and appreciation needs of parties in conflict [23] . Processes involved in Track Two Diplomacy as Harvey states it is that they are inter-reliant. Firstly, he says that it comprises of small, facilitated problem solving seminars aimed at bringing people together to understand the issues arising. Then secondly he refers to it as a psychological one and its meant to guide public views to remove victimization and re-humanize the image of rivalry [24] .In other words he means they are initial stages of talking to the enemy.

Other types of Diplomacy

For comparative purposes lets have a quick look at other types of diplomacy, which are Personal Diplomacy, Associative Diplomacy, East West Summits and Conferences and Multilateral Diplomacy according to Barston. Personal Diplomacy as the name clearly states uses personal or direct visits, correspondence and telephone calls all of which helps officials establish contacts. Associative Diplomacy is the relationship between regional organizations and other regional organizations, international institutions, groups of states and other individual states creating a symbiotic relationship between them. East West Summits and Conferences were seen as how the relations between the former Four Power Conferences were handled in the cold war (United States, United Kingdom, France and Soviet Union) [25] .

Multi lateral diplomacy as Barton defines it is one that is carried out via global institutions, permanent conferences and various regional institutions [26] . Despite being seen as costly, it plays a pivotal role in promoting international co-operation in pursuit of conflict resolution amongst sovereign states [27] .Given that many parties are involved it may be expensive but effective.

Case Studies

Let us briefly look at four case studies to help us see Track Two Diplomacy in action that is Turkey Vs. Armenia, Mozambique Vs. Soviet Union and Pakistan Vs. India.

Turkey Vs. Armenia

During the Clinton administration a Track Two Program on Turkey and the Caucasus know as Turkish -Armenian Reconciliation Commission, TARC was instigated. Track Two Diplomacy applied to Turkey and the Caucasus was used to for the first time in solving global problems. TARC developed into a bigger consultative group in both countries. It created an atmosphere where Armenian and Turks came together to deal with their problems. It involved well-known individuals from both sides and was proclaimed to be a step towards tackling their long outstanding historical issues [28] . It succeeded in breaking the silence between the Armenians and the Turks.


Frente de Libertacào de Mozambique (Frelimo) was established to help end Portuguese colonial era in 1962 which they finally succeeded in 1975 [29] .Six months later, an revolution was launched by the Resistant de Nacional Mocambicana (Renamo) was formed to pressurize the newly formed government Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army which was based in Mozambique. Successors in 1977 took a deep-seated approach by adopting Marxism-Leninsim as directing philosophy, which led to a signing a 20-year treaty of friendship with Soviet Union [30] . Upon Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980,Renamo shifted its headquarters to South Africa. However, the alliance with the former Soviet Union was seen by Zimbabwe as a threat to its interest causing a war that lasted for a decade killing over 500,000 people and displacing 4.5 Million [31] .

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Joaquim Chissano took power when Samora Machel died in 1986 took the bull by its horns to end the plight of Mozambique through negotiations [32] . He started by separating Renamo from the South African Military and diplomatic support. Then he introduced a church-state dialogue by requesting the reconciliation and peace making through the catholic and protestant churches, Track Two Diplomacy. Attempts were made to apply Track One Diplomacy by inviting the former President Daniel Arap Moi, Kenya and President Mugabe, Zimbabwe to intervene but they flanked. Continued negotiations by the churches helped in getting the parties in conflict to come together, build trust amongst them and seek a way forward [33] .

US Vs. Soviet Union

Track Two Diplomacy was applied at the Dartmouth Conference held at Dartmouth Conference in 1960 while trying to build a degree of tolerance amongst influential American and Soviet citizens. All the partakers were in touch with policy makers in their countries or ended being policy makers. A dialogue supervened developing fruitful negotiations that prevented misunderstandings. Dartmouth Conference also resulted to other track two initiatives Inter-Tajik Dialogue and US-China Dialogue [34] .

Pakistan Vs. India

South Asia had its share of track two dialogues in 1990s some of which are still going on to date [35] . Such unofficial dialogues focused on development issues but have gradually become political and security focused to matters of nuclear proliferation and the status of Kashmir. Diplomacy groups encouraged the idea of a joint pipeline from Iran to India and Pakistan meeting their energy needs and promoting peace. As a result, the e pipeline issues elevated to official talks [36] .

Strengths and Weaknesses of Track Two Diplomacy

It goes without saying that Track Two Diplomacy has its strengths and weaknesses. Firstly, the participants can freely express the views of the aggrieved since they have no political prowess. Secondly, it gives an opportunity to hear out the views of the unprivileged persons on how to attain peace. Thirdly, Track Two Diplomacy has proved its efficacy in preventing conflicts and restoring harmony. Fourthly, it involves people at the core of the conflict and average leadership who are directly linked to the conflicts [37] .

Weaknesses of Second Track Diplomacy as Braunschweig puts it is that participants of Second Track diplomacy can mostly be referred to as amateurs since they may not lack the knowledge on foreign policy hence fail to fully understand what they are getting involved in. Secondly, they are susceptible to manipulation that distorts the whole process [38] . Politicians often feel the need to manipulate issues for their own benefit.

Thirdly, Track Two Diplomacy involves several stages, which are lengthy and tedious. Fourthly, in dictator regimes it is not effective given that these kind of leaders never seek opinion from others they have an attitude of its either me or me. Lastly, the actors lack of political power does not have them responsible for bad decisions thus they may not fully own the process [39] .

Theoretical approaches

For a deeper understanding, various theories have been used in explaining Track Two Diplomacy. Track Two Diplomacy can be seen from a realist and a constructivist perspective. Realism reigned during the Cold War due to its ability to explain why war broke out, alliances, imperialism, inhibitors of collaboration and other international affairs [40] . Without much hesitation we have seen the pivotal role played by realism when states compete for power and the zero sum games thereof in this essay.

Therefore, a realist approach has a firm grip of foreign policy analysis and critical conflict studies. For more understanding of foreign policy there is a need to pinpoint the prevailing situation in comparison with theories therein [41] . Many are times when there is a theory behind all that happens around us.

Constructivism on the other hand views interests and identities as playing the key role in many historical developments. Comparatively, conflicts that break out are a construction of beliefs, ideas and interests in people’s minds. How they progress and shape the way people understand and react to situations. Looking back at the end of cold war, we see the then president Mikhail Gorbachev changing the Soviet foreign policy by embracing the new idea of common security [42] . Constructivists advocate for interpersonal relations and peace building all of which are towards successful Second Track Diplomacy.


“In a World where war is everybody’s tragedy and everybody’s nightmare; diplomacy is everybody’s business.”

Lord Strang, Former British diplomat, 1966 [43] .

This essay has clearly brought out the above words of the former British diplomat. Second Track Diplomacy involves people from all walks of life to meet the common goal of resolving conflicts. Private people without political loyalty are better placed in Track Two Diplomacy. We see throughout the evolution that diplomacy has undergone and the various forms it has including how and when each needs to be applied. In the case studies given we find that it was effective in initiating dialogues between conflicting parties. Although I did not go deep into other examples I believe Track Two Diplomacy may not always work in resolving conflicts. However, it reaches out to sensitive areas unreachable by applying Track One Diplomacy. Agglomeration of both Track Two diplomacy and Track One Diplomacy may work effectively as we saw it at work especially in the Middle East conflicts where Track One and a Half worked best. Objectivity and level headedness needs to be put in place to decide when and where it is applicable in order to resolve the increasing conflicts some of which have been aggravated by globalization. Globalization has brought an increased proliferation of weapons and rapid spread of communication all put together has proved to be lethal in today’s conflicts. With all said and done, we see the complexities associated with conflicts and commensurate multifaceted approach needs to be applied in order to effectively and efficiently resolve them by diplomats and their efforts therein.

Contrarily, Sir Henry Wooten, 1604 alleged that, “a diplomat is a honest man sent to lie abroad for his country”. I disagree with him because diplomacy is a noble profession and if people went into dialogues with lies then conflicts would never be resolved as it is the case presently. Moreover, long ago people thought diplomats were angels relying carrying messages between heaven and earth. Sir Harold Nicolson refuted it by saying that should not be a thought held by modern historians [44] . The angels’ messages would be easy to deliver as I can imagine they would only spread their wings and fly down. However, the truth is that diplomacy is a rigorous exercise coupled with intelligence and tact.


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