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Jan Melissen on Politico.eu about diplomacy

Many years ago, Winston Churchill said; ‘Jaw to jaw is better than war’. Therefore the quality of the jaw to jaw and diplomacy is important. Unfortunately, the quality of diplomacy is decreasing.

Contact between Statesmen in the world is becoming more personal, which to junior U.K. diplomat Harold Nicolson is not a good thing. ‘Diplomacy is the art of negotiating documents in a ratifiable and therefore dependable form. It is by no means the art of conversation’.


According to Jan Melissen, Associate Professor at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs of Leiden University, it is hard to trust someone in the European boardrooms. ‘People say it is all becoming transactional at diplomatic level. Trust is being undermined. And this is not good for the international system’. The way diplomacy is executed may be changing, like the Trumpian brand of diplomacy for example. But this may be ineffective said one Germand diplomat. ‘Current American diplomacy is less effective in defending U.S. interests than the current administration appears to believe’. Melissen believes it is time to stand up for diplomatic values and diplomacy as a civilizing force. ‘But in an electoral sense, it’s not something you want to shout too loudly’.

Read the full article on the website of Politico.

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