The focus is on the changes that affect IR and diplomacy: (a) inclusive nature of international system, (b) deep mutation of the nature of power, conflict, war, peace and security and (c) mobility and connectivity. The modern international system used to be fully based on the idea of territory and boundaries, on the idea that fixity establishes the competences of states in a very precise way. But today this territorial notion of politics and traditional diplomacy are challenged by an emergence of a new world, composed of international flows that can be either material, informational, or human which sets qualitatively new agenda and frameworks for IR and diplomacy.
- How foreign policy is made?
- Who are the authors?
- What are “assemblage points” if any?
- Who are the main stakeholders, actors and “protagonists”?
- Is the international order premised solely on respect for sovereignty, together with the maintenance of the balance of power necessary to secure it, sustainable?
- Asymmetry of global governance: global governance at the intersection of national interests, power relations and the need for joint problem-solving – implications?
- New parameters of power?
Textbook: The Globalization of World Politics. An Introduction to International Relations. Eighth Edition, edited by John Baylis, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens Oxford University Press, 2020 (Chapter 5).
Books & Articles:
- GLOBAL COMPLEXITY: INTERSECTION OF CHESSBOARD AND WEB TRENDS, by Anne-Marie Slaughter, notes internacionals CIDOB 147, MAY 2016
- WHICH WORLD ARE WE LIVING IN? Foreign Affairs Volume 97, Number 4, July- August 2018
- Diplomacy Without Diplomats, The Atlantic, April 29, 2018
International diplomacy needs an overhaul to stay relevant. WEF 2.05.2018
International Relations and Diplomacy
Each country has foreign policies, which constitute national interests that the former intends to pursue during its international relations with other states. The United States, for example, has had numerous foreign policies, such as securing access to global markets and resources from allies and protecting its sovereignty. Often, the aforementioned foreign policies are made through a collaboration between two authors; a country’s ruler and his executive. For example, if the United States plans to create a foreign policy relating to safety, the president and the state’s secretary must be involved in the process. Sometimes, the House of Representatives and the Senate can also be partly involved in the amendment of a preestablished foreign policy.
Assemblage points in international relations and diplomacy constitute external elements that are incorporated in the diplomatic apparatus. As suggested by Baylis and Smith, globalization influences the political community and leads to increased national fragmentation (624). This information suggests that foreign policy is more diversified to incorporate other minor political communities. Therefore, today, the assemblage points of foreign policy can occur in different political communities such as international non-governmental organizations, virtual communities, and transnational communities because of the increased variation in interests among these groups.
Besides political communities, stakeholders, actors, and protagonists are also very distinct parties in international relations. Stakeholders can be compared to participants, as mentioned by Slaughter, who are non-state actors, and they are only considered because they are durably connected to other members (2). These stakeholders may include a country’s citizens. On the other hand, the actors are the parties that steer international relations among several states. These actors may consist of foreign ministers that represent a country’s interests during interactions with other states. Lastly, the protagonists are the great powers involved in international relationships, and they may include nations such as the United States, China, Russia, EU, and Iran.
Based on an analysis of contemporary political occurrences, it is likely that the international order premised on respect for sovereignty and maintenance of the balance of power essential to secure it is sustainable. In this context, maintaining a balance of power refers to a theory premised on the idea that each country strives to foster its survival by preventing other states from gaining enormous power that may encourage dominance. The sustainability of this premise is evident from the recent global occurrences. For example, Slaughter observes that Iran has been rising in power over the past few years. However, countries such as Saudi Arabia have developed assertive foreign policies in response to Iran’s growing influence (3). This example exemplifies the sustainability of balance of power, whereby states create tactics to balance or seek safety against threatening forces.
As globalization continues to intensify, global governance becomes crucial to ensure an adequate intersection of national interests, power relations, and joint problem-solving. One of the primary implications of global governance is that countries can tackle global issues and seize opportunities globally, thus making such efforts more effective than a sole approach. For example, in global governance, states can address pandemics problems worldwide because such issues affect humanity at an equal measure. In essence, global governance implies that countries must intersect their national interests and uphold joint problem-solving.
Traditionally, resource power was the most visible parameter of power in international relations. Resource power was mainly possessed by governments who had maximum control over a country’s operations. However, other parameters of power, such as structural power, have emerged due to globalization. The structural power is based on each group’s influence on other parties in the overall system.
Baylis, John, and Smith, Steve. The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations. 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, USA, 2001.
Slaughter, Anne-Marie. “Global Complexity: Intersection of Chessboard and Web Trends.” Notes Internacionals CIDOB, May 2016, www.cidob.org/en/publications/publication_series/notes_internacionals/n1_147_global_complexity_intersection_of_chessboard_and_web_trends. Accessed 2 December 2020