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Volume 15 (2020)

Issue 1-2: Ministries of Foreign Affairs: Institutional Responses to Complexity Diplomacy

Special issue edited by Christian Lequesne

Issue 1-2 at Brill.com

Contents

Christian Lequesne
Abstract

The scholar who attends international conferences and reads regular publications on diplomatic studies and foreign policy analysis is confronted with one indisputable observation: If plenty of new academic research on contemporary diplomatic practices has emerged, few of those studies paradoxically focus on the comparative role of ministries of foreign affairs (MFAs). Thus, providing academic material to students on MFAs requires using chapters published in general textbooks; monographs based on single-country case studies; practitioners’ accounts, which can be rather descriptive; and, finally, research published more than fifteen years ago. The goal of this special issue is to fill this gap in the literature by devoting a complete journal issue to the contemporary role of MFAs in diplomacy. The special issue is built on three components: original research articles, theoretical accounts and practitioners’ accounts. Making a distinction between the three types of contributions is a clear choice to clarify who is speaking from where.

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Birgitta Niklasson
Abstract

The aim of this study is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the gendered condi- tions under which diplomats network. We still have limited knowledge of how female diplomats network when serving abroad in strongly male-dominated contexts. To what extent do they experience token tendencies (visibility, assimilation and contrast) and how are these tendencies perceived to affect their access to important contacts? Based on 28 interviews with diplomats and civil servants from the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA), this study compares how female and male diplomats are expected and perceived to network. The results indicate that the greater visibility of female diplomats makes them assimilate to a stereotypical gender role that closely resembles that of diplomatic wives. Women thus legitimise their presence in the MFA and make it less intrusive. Still, they experience contrast in silent resistance and con- stant reminders of their presence in a gender-inappropriate profession.

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Christian Lequesne, Gabriel Castillo, Minda Holm, Walid Jumblatt Abdullah, Halvard Leira, Kamna Tiwary and Reuben Wong
Abstract

Diversity and its management have become an issue in all organisations. Ministries of foreign affairs (MFAs) do not escape the issue. In the 2000s, states decided to consider more ethnic diversity in the recruitment of their diplomats. In some countries, this new goal requires affirmative action programs. This article is based on three case studies. The first case study analyses two Western countries — France and Norway — where MFAs have to reflect the diversity of immigration in their societies. The second case study analyses the case of Brazil, a country where the legacy of slavery still causes discrimination in the recruitment of diplomats. The third case study analyses ethnic diversity in the MFAs of India and Singapore, which recognise multiculturalism or multiracialism. The study draws five comparative conclusions to generalise on why MFAs in the world cannot escape the challenge of ethnic diversity in their recruitment policy.

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Ilan Manor and Rhys Crilley
Abstract

The proliferation of social media has had a profound impact on the practice of diplomacy; diplomats can bypass the press and communicate their messages directly to online audiences. Subsequently, ministries of foreign affairs (MFAS) are now mediatised; they produce media content, circulate content through social media and adopt media logics in their daily operations. Through a case study of the Israeli MFA during the 2014 Gaza War, this article explores the mediatisation of MFAS. It does so by analysing how the Israeli MFA crafted frames through which online audiences could understand the war and demonstrates that these frames evolved as the conflict unfolded. It then draws attention to the important way in which MFAS are now media actors through a statistical analysis, which demonstrates that the use of images in tweets increased engagement with the Israeli MFA’s frames. Finally, the article illustrates how these frames were used to legitimize Israel’s actions, and delegitimise those of Hamas.

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Damien Spry
Abstract

This article uses digital research methods to explore the use of Facebook by ministries of foreign affairs (MFAs) in several Asian locations. It contextualises this analysis by considering four factors that contribute to the growing complexity confronting public diplomacy: environmental factors (digitalised, networked media); institutional factors (diplomatic norms and traditions, and MFAs’ policies and practices); algorithmic factors (the programming that organises social media content); audience factors (social media users). The analysis shows most Facebook content posted by MFAs is driven by institutional factors. Yet this content is not the most appealing to digital publics, who are more likely to engage with content they find relevant and useful, or emotionally resonant. The article concludes that Facebook, and digital media generally, can provide multiple small opportunities for outreach, if due consideration is given to audiences’ needs and motivations. These audience factors may be the most important, but least considered, by MFAs.

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Kim B. Olsen
Abstract

Tasked with the implementation of complex geoeconomic instruments such as trade and investment regulations, targeted economic assistance and sanctions regimes, European ministries of foreign affairs (MFAs) are increasingly exposed to a field introduced as geoeconomic diplomacy. This article argues that traditional literature on states’ strategic use of economic power has underestimated how MFAs of liberal and tightly integrated market economies are challenged in their abilities to realise geoeconomic objectives. Mitigating such challenges requires diplomats to engage extensively with multiple domestic state and non-state actors relevant to the state-market nexus. Through a comparative case study of France and Germany, the article demonstrates how major European MFAs have recently streamlined their organisational approaches to the geoeconomic field in various ways, and analyses how French and German diplomats were bound to manage multifaceted, yet different, domestic agency relations in their quests to successfully implement the European Union’s sanctions regime against Russia in 2014-2016.

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Jason Dittmer
Abstract

This short provocation argues for a diplomacy studies that is less focused on the rationality of states, with the ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) as an imagined black box in which calculation occurs, and more on the idea of ‘external’ agency as the emergent effect from a range of elements within and without the state. To illustrate this idea, the essay sketches out an example of foreign policy made in the absence of an MFA entirely: Gibraltar’s 2019 intervention in the Grace 1 controversy.

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Yaqing Qin
Abstract

Diplomacy is defined as implementation of foreign policy through communication, and the ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) is the chief implementer and communicator. This article challenges the conventional definition and argues that diplomacy is relational practice in the first place. The anchoring practice of diplomacy is to make, manage and build up relations. The MFA, therefore, is the pivotal relator who, to maintain a cooperative relationship, needs to follow two principles, both inspired by ancient Chinese philosophical thinking. The first is ‘the Confucian improvement’, meaning that improvement of self-interest is possible if and only if other-interest is simultaneously improved, and the second, ‘the Mencian optimality’, holding that self-interest is best realised if and only if a community maintains optimally harmonious relations among its members. The MFA is a good implementer and communicator only if it is able to manage well complex relations in international society.

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Thierry Balzacq
Abstract

This essay argues that the work of ministries of foreign affairs (MFAs) centres on three modes of articulation; namely, intersubjective, practical and material articulations. However, much research in diplomatic studies has yet to come to terms with the specific ways in which these modes of articulation coalesce to produce a distinctive foreign policy. I suggest that a field theory account of MFAs offers a reliable set of tools that enables us to understand how a foreign policy takes shape, the dynamics that sustain it and the circumstances under which it is likely to change. Because a field’s existence is often derived from its relational consequences, the essay clarifies the link between a field and its effects, using the concept of ‘affordance’. In this sense, theorising MFAs connects a philosophy of action — which focuses on the field theory’s concepts — and a philosophy of science — which emphasises relations within and between different modes of articulation.

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Casper Klynge, Mikael Ekman and Nikolaj Juncher Waedegaard
Abstract

As a small, open, advanced economy, Denmark has a lot at stake in the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, the speed of emerging technologies and massive influence of multinational tech companies challenge traditional governance structures and diplomatic services around the world, creating a ‘diplomatic deficit’. That is why Denmark became the first country to appoint a Tech Ambassador and elevate technological trends to a foreign and security policy priority in mid-2017. This practitioner’s piece lays out the underlying reasoning behind engaging with the tech industry, the first-hand experiences from the initiative and some hard-won lessons before turning to the future perspectives. TechPlomacy is a political initiative with a global mandate to represent the Danish government vis-à-vis the tech industry with offices in Copenhagen, Silicon Valley and Beijing. The authors argue for new forms of coalition building engaging industry, governments and institutions in addressing the opportunities and risks of technology.

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Emilie Bartonek
Abstract

All branches of modern governments struggle to adapt to social and political changes today, in an age when such changes follow each other with speed, and change the very fabric of society. Foreign ministries are doubly challenged as they not only are confronted with the changes of their domestic environment, but they also have to navigate the international arena which is another stage of frequent upheavals. As a consequence, the German Federal Foreign Office has ventured on a path of continuing reforms that have led to new structures in the organisation, human resources management and the use of new technologies. Compared to former ages, the German foreign ministry has turned into a complex, multifaceted bureaucratic apparatus with fluid borderlines, recognisably more of the same nature as German society as a whole.

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David Spence

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Publication date: 25 March 2020

 

Contents

Jason Ho Ching Cheung
Abstract

Hong Kong lacks sovereignty but possesses unique quasi-state external relations powers. This special feature enables it not only to inherit former paradiplomatic ties from its British predecessor, but also to develop a plethora of external relations. During the course of the present political turmoil and friction with Beijing, it has struggled to develop external relations with foreign states, subnational entities and international organisations. While paradiplomacy concerning quasi-states is no longer a neglected subject, and Hong Kong’s role as a prominent autonomous financial hub notwithstanding, few studies have examined the paradiplomacy of the city. This article analyses the constitutional regime and underexplored legal topics of Hong Kong’s paradiplomacy, including the legal basis and framework for such. It argues that Hong Kong can lay a solid legal framework for paradiplomacy and its paradiplomatic powers should be more widely recognised because of its potential to yield substantial impact on international law and relations.

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Matej Navrátil
Abstract

This article argues that by using the European Union Delegation (EUD) in Sarajevo as an organisational proxy, the EU creates tools allowing it to participate in the enhancement of external administrative co-governance in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Inspired by the organisation theory approach, this article conceives of the EUD Sarajevo as a hybrid organisation. Such organisations are defined as a product of a combination of two sovereign organisations pursuing a common interest. They recombine multiple institutional logics, stimulate institutional change and spark innovative practices. The conceptualisation of the EUD Sarajevo as a hybrid organisation offers analytical insight for understanding the EU’s role in the society of states and allows us to theorise more concretely about the impact that a non-state actor has on the transformation of the institutions of diplomacy and sovereignty, which are foundational institutions of the international system of states.

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Štěpánka Zemanová
Abstract

During the past decade, the ongoing progress of digitalisation has triggered so rapid a spread of cross-border e-commerce that it has required the responses of governments in their domestic and foreign policies. This article focuses on the related developments in economic diplomacy, almost neglected in the existing research. It attempts to highlight a growing need for state engagement and to trace the related shifts in the activities of governments and diplomatic representations. Drawing on the concepts of the economic diplomacy cycle and the economic diplomacy process, the newly emerging practices of countries leading in e-commerce and digitalisation are analysed. The analysis shows that the concurrence of rapid globalisation and slow international regulation has been creating favourable conditions for the upswing in e-commerce-related diplomacies. A new complex branch of economic diplomacy has been emerging, based on the adaptation of traditional economic diplomacy patterns but bringing also far-reaching change and innovation.

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Elisabetta Mocca
Abstract

Local authorities have increasingly deployed instruments and practises proper of the international diplomatic repertoire—a phenomenon referred in the literature as paradiplomacy. These state-like diplomatic praxes, ranging from participating in transnational networks to signing international agreements, hint at an increased room for manoeuvre for local authorities, in that they occur without the intervention and control of the central state. While emulating states’ international behaviour, municipal paradiplomacy displays distinctive features and purposes. Drawing on the scholarship on paradiplomacy, this article provides a theoretical reflection on the teleology of municipal paradiplomatic practices. By proceeding through parallelism with state diplomacy’s objectives, this article identifies three functional equivalents that constitute the primary teloi of paradiplomacy; namely, municipal self-determination, influence and contention. By delving into the aims of municipal paradiplomacy, the article points out how municipal paradiplomacy constitutes a valuable means for municipalities to progressively free themselves from the grip of the central state.

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Ramesh Ganohariti and Ernst Dijxhoorn
Abstract

International relations and sport have become increasingly intertwined, with sport and sports events being used for various diplomatic and political goals. Yet, membership of FIFA and the IOC is largely organised along lines of sovereign statehood. Like other fora of diplomacy, this excludes contested territories that wish to engage in diplomacy for various political, economic, and cultural reasons. Yet, these entities can engage in international sports (diplomacy) through membership of the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA). This paper finds that while the participating entities often make a political statement, there is little evidence that participation in CONIFA has positively impacted their foreign policy goals. Furthermore, beyond CONIFA, contested territories have been unable to advance their sporting sovereignty or engage in diplomatic relations with recognised states. However, CONIFA aids in nation branding through hosting rights and media attention, and contributes to strengthening the ‘national’ identity of the participants.

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Pierre-Bruno Ruffini
Abstract

Since this vocabulary began to circulate in the first years of the new millennium, science diplomacy has been describing the various practices that bridge science, technology and foreign affairs. It is both a set of tools available to nation states to exercise their diplomatic action, and a process to address major threats which challenge the world order and have a science-intensive nature. In line with the traditional state-centred approach to diplomacy, science diplomacy is driven by national interests and needs. But it aims also at solving global issues such as the preservation of the environment, of biodiversity and of human health — the last of which is exemplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. With its twofold rationale, being at the same time state centric and global governance oriented, science diplomacy is an instrument of choice for managing tensions between national interests and common interests.

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Tim Flink
Abstract

For almost twenty years, the concept of science diplomacy has gained momentum in a public discourse that brings together science policy and international affairs. While some policy actions were newly established and others got into the stride of science diplomacy, the public discourse kept proliferating and has greatly enlarged the concept’s meaning. Reviewing one of its most common definitions, this contribution critically reflects on the sensational promises made by advocates and endorsers of science diplomacy. Their framing bears on a popular and romantic image of science that would hold salutary capacities to solve problems no matter how complex and that goes into rhapsodies about scientists as cosmopolitans who would eagerly collaborate with kindred spirits regardless of national and cultural contexts. Apart from the fact that science tends to get instrumentalised for particularistic purposes, these reveries are problematic, as they overbook expectations about science and foreign politics that can hardly be fulfilled.

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Pierre-Bruno Ruffini
Abstract

From an attentive reading of the practitioner-driven literature, this essay questions the reasons why the dominant discourse on science diplomacy highlights practices based on international co-operation and the pursuit of shared interests but pays little attention to practices which are inspired by a spirit of competition. It advances hypotheses related to the professional profiles of those who built the definitions and shaped this discourse, and who are scientists. It underlines the need to provide a broader definition of science diplomacy, by recognising its double nature, both collaborative and competitive.

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Pascal Griset
Abstract

This essay questions the concept of innovation diplomacy to determine its true perimeter and its different dimensions. To this end, it quickly addresses the strong points of an argument that appeared in the second half of the 2000s and which establishes in a very general way a filiation, or even a succession, between science diplomacy and innovation diplomacy. A historical approach shows that what is called innovation diplomacy encompasses ancient practices at the crossroads of science, technology, economy and culture. It finds that innovation diplomacy can be understood only as a hybrid concept reflecting organisations and strategies rooted in older practices articulated to the challenges of the present time.

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Olga Krasnyak
Abstract

The 1958 Lacy-Zarubin agreement on cultural, educational and scientific exchanges marked decades of people-to-people exchanges between the United States and the Soviet Union. Despite the Cold War tensions and mutually propagated adversarial images, the exchanges had never been interrupted and remained unbroken until the Soviet Union dissolved. This essay argues that due to the 1958 general agreement and a number of co-operative agreements that had the status of treaties and international acts issued under the authority of the US State Department and the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the exchanges could not proceed without diplomatic supervision. This peculiarity puts academic and technical exchanges specifically into the framework of science diplomacy, which is considered a diplomatic tool for implementing a nation state’s foreign policy goals determined by political power.

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Lorenzo Melchor
Abstract

The COVID-19 crisis has shown how countries initially responded to a global challenge on their own, instead of relying on a multilateral science diplomacy — based response. Although, science diplomacy has received great attention for the past decade, its meaning and the nature of the diverse practitioners involved remain elusive. Science diplomacy is a transboundary field sitting across national borders, policy frameworks and stakeholders of all natures and professional backgrounds. But what is a science diplomat? What science diplomacy roles formally exist? Who can become a science diplomat? What knowledge and skills are required? This practitioner’s essay proposes a typology of science diplomacy practitioners who bring science, technology, innovation, foreign policy and the international political system altogether closer in either institutionalised or non-institutionalised roles, and it also provides guidance for pursuing a career in science diplomacy. These science diplomats may promote national competitiveness but also facilitate multilateral responses to global challenges.

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Meredith L. Gore, Elizabeth S. Nichols and Karen R. Lips
Abstract

Differences between the outputs of academic science and those of science policy contribute to a critical science-policy challenge — the inability of academia to sufficiently value either the outputs of the policy process as comparable to academic outputs, or the expertise required to maintain and develop policy. Few colleges and universities in the United States adequately prepare students to become scientists with expertise operating in science-policy spaces. Consequently, most academic scientists lack sufficient training in the policy process, exposure to science diplomacy and capacity to deliver science advice. Science-policy relationships are more than the dichotomised paradox of politicisation of science and the scientisation of politics. Adjustments in how scientists teach, research and engage with policy and policy-makers are necessary to better prepare future generations to address global problems. This article describes currency variances used in these two ecosystems and identifies opportunities to better support science-policy collaborations for more effective research, teaching and service.

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Paul Arthur Berkman
Abstract

Science diplomacy is an international, interdisciplinary and inclusive (holistic) process, involving informed decisionmaking to balance national interests and common interests for the benefit of all on Earth across generations. Informed decisions operate across a ‘continuum of urgencies’, which extends from security to sustainability time scales for peoples, nations and our world. The COVID-19 pandemic is the ‘most challenging crisis we have faced since the Second World War’, as noted in March 2020 by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, when survival is once again a common interest at local-global levels. This essay introduces common-interest-building strategies with science diplomacy to operate short term to long term, before-through-after the ‘inflection point’ of our global pandemic, as the next step in the evolution of our globally interconnected civilisation.

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Shannon Zimmerman

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Alejandro Ramos C.

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Yiwei Wang and Pengfei Zhang

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Publication date: August 2020


Contents

Salla Turunen
Abstract

Humanitarian diplomacy is a new term, yet an old practice, and has received relatively little academic attention. This contrasts with the reality of humanitarian practitioners’ work, which has shown increasing interest in and use of the term humanitarian diplomacy from the millennium onwards. Humanitarian diplomacy covers humanitarian action and its intricacies in catering for humanitarian needs, which sets it distinctively apart from other forms of diplomacy. In contributing to this underexplored area, in a theoretically driven discussion this article uses practice theory to propose an analytical framework for humanitarian diplomatic practices. The article suggests that humanitarian diplomacy, as currently led by practitioners, can be best understood by examining its characteristics at the level of its practices. This understanding produces a systematisation of the meaning of the term for scholarly audiences and assists practitioners themselves to identify their humanitarian diplomatic engagement as a self-standing practice.

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Natalia Chaban and Ole Elgström
Abstract

This article contributes to the theorisation of collaborative public diplomacy by introducing a perceptual approach. Engaging with the collaborative diplomacy paradigm developed to conceptualise public diplomacy in the context of non-traditional security threats and conflicts, as well as nation building, the article explores and compares perceptions of the European Union (EU) as a public diplomacy actor in Ukraine (tracked in 50 elite interviews) and in Brussels (13 interviews with EU practitioners). The article engages with a concept of a ‘perception gap’ hypothesising a gap between the Others’ perception of the EU and the EU’s self-perception. It furthers the conceptualisation of a perception gap by suggesting to consider it at cognitive, normative and emotive levels in the image structure and arguing variation between the levels. The article contends that a perception gap is a critical factor in preventing genuine dialogue, engagement and listening — key concepts proposed by the collaborative diplomacy paradigm.

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Juan Luis Manfredi Sánchez
Abstract

Six months have passed. Only six months, and we already know that yesterday’s world has vanished with more than 27 million people infected, and about 1 million dead from COVID-19. The transformation of politics and international relations has accelerated, and the trends that had previously been identified seem to be undergoing consolidation. We can point to some milestones along the way, such as the decline of the multilateral system, the weak position of the European Union, the disinterest of Trumpism in liberal ideals, the rise of China, economic deglobalisation, inequality, the gender perspective and the digital transformation. None of these issues is so new that it merits the term pandemic diplomacy with regard to the academic study and practice of diplomatic endeavours, yet it represents a starting point for in-depth analysis of the consequences of such issues on the international system and the diplomatic profession.

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Donald Lien and Joseph Kortsch
Abstract

The purpose of this essay is to discuss the ramifications of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic on the future of the World Health Organization (WHO). In particular, the WHO has come under fire for its initial response and reporting of the pandemic, its acceptance of Chinese self-reporting and management of the crisis and dubious claims that it failed to acknowledge and respond to data from Taiwan that indicated human–to-human transmission was occurring. These alleged missteps have brought unwanted and intense international scrutiny on the organisation and have, perhaps, left its future uncertain. This essay examines the history and mandate of the WHO, its vulnerability to national and regional political movements and some likely outcomes for the near- and long-term future. Additionally, it briefly addresses how the WHO is used as a diplomatic surrogate for the UN, especially in matters relating to Taiwan.

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Klaus Dodds and Alan D. Hemmings
Abstract

In the reporting about COVID-19 diplomacy, Antarctica has functioned as the exceptional — the only continent, thus far, not to record a single case of COVID-19, although cases were reported on Antarctic tourism vessels in the northern Antarctic Peninsula. For six decades, Antarctic governance has been an experiment in global democracy and diplomacy. Under the auspices of the Antarctic Treaty (1959) and associated legal instruments, all Consultative Parties from Argentina to Ukraine have the same fundamental rights to be engaged with the business of managing Antarctica. This essay speculates on ramifications of the pandemic for Antarctic governance and diplomacy. What are the implications when geographical distancing is joined by new forms of social distancing? Does the model of Antarctic governance and diplomacy still work? One possible future scenario is that conservation enforcement suffers because relevant parties refuse to accept the presence of others and weaponise public health to prevent public scrutiny.

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Andrey Baklitskiy and Oleg Shakirov
Abstract

This essay focuses on three ways the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic influenced arms control and non-proliferation diplomacy. The pandemic affected the way diplomats were able to communicate with each other to negotiate on the arms control and disarmament issues. The initial response — postponing events or hosting them on makeshift platforms — was acceptable as a temporary solution but dedicated channels of communication will be needed to prepare for similar disruptions in the future. COVID-19 also had an impact on the implementation of the agreed arms control and non-proliferation accords. As on-site verification activities became impossible, remote monitoring proved its resilience, which could make it a more prominent arms control tool. Finally, the pandemic raised the profile of global health issues and led to their securitisation. This revived a discussion over international regulation of biological security through existing and new mechanisms.

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Heidi Maurer and Nicholas Wright
Abstract

Can diplomacy work without physical presence? International relations scholars consider the European Union (EU) the most institutionalised case of international co-operation amongst sovereign states, with the highest density of repeated diplomatic exchange. In a year, the Council of Ministers hosts on average 143 ministerial and 200 ambassadorial meetings, along with hundreds of working group meetings. These intense diplomatic interactions came to an abrupt halt in mid-March 2020, when the spread of COVID-19 forced the Council to approve — in a manner unprecedented in European integration history — the temporary derogation from its rules of procedures to allow votes in written form, preceded by informal videoconferences between ministers or ambassadors. This argumentative essay reflects on how we can use these extraordinary months of intra-European diplomacy to assess the viability of virtual diplomacy in the EU context and what lessons it provides as we seek more sustainable means of international engagement.

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Sophie L. Vériter, Corneliu Bjola and Joachim A. Koops
Abstract

The corona crisis is also a disinformation crisis for the global community in general, and for the European Union (EU) in particular. What is less clear is how adequate the EU’s response to the ‘infodemic’ has been. This essay exposes the dangers of disinformation for the EU, which have intensified in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and reviews relevant EU responses. It then zooms in on two challenges exacerbated by the corona crisis: one internal, revolving around the toxic effect of conspiracy theories, particularly the corona-5G hoax; and one external, relating to the public diplomacy campaigns of competing geopolitical actors, especially China. The essay argues that the future of European stability will rest not only on ensuring societal resilience to disinformation and conspiracy theories but also on designing ethically guided pre-emptive mechanisms and confronting external sources of disinformation which jeopardise European health provisions, economic recovery and geoeconomic strength.

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Tristen Naylor
Abstract

This essay considers the implications of virtual summits replacing in-person multilateral gatherings of political leaders. Focusing on the loss of physicality, it argues that two critical dimensions of summitry are eliminated in this shift: sublime governance and inter-moments. Drawing on illustrative examples from the Group of 20, it demonstrates that while moving online maintains the formal, procedural interactions around which summits are built, doing so loses these critical elements of summitry which render it a valuable and unique practice in within the overall institution of diplomacy. This move also undercuts the effects of these elements, in the immediate context of a particular summit and more broadly within the international system itself. The elimination of summitry’s performative and interpersonal dimensions fundamentally renders online meetings unable to achieve what in-person summits can. This has acute consequences in the immediate wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also more generally as diplomacy moves online.

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Anthony F. Pipa and Max Bouchet
Abstract

As the 75th anniversary of the United Nations occurs during one of the worst health and economic crises in modern history, multilateralism is weakened by the renewed unilateralism of major powers. International co-operation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic has been limited. This mirrors similar gridlock in collective responses to migration, climate change and humanitarian situations. Meanwhile, cities have been filling gaps in leadership. In responding to the pandemic, cities have been leveraging global co-operation to ensure a successful immediate response and shape the economic recovery. Yet as cities have attempted to insert an urban voice into the traditional multilateral system on global challenges, they have struggled to influence global policy-making. This essay examines how the COVID-19 crisis exposes the implications for the multilateral system of the growing role of cities, and how cities and their networks can adjust their current activities to maximise progress in addressing transnational challenges.

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Revecca Pedi and Anders Wivel
Abstract

The aim of this essay is to discuss and assess the effects of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic on small state diplomacy. The essay identifies the characteristics of successful small state crisis diplomacy and unpacks the implications for small state diplomacy in general. Small states crave stability and predictability and seek shelter from international institutions and great powers. International crises are understood as particularly acute for small states because the limited capacity and capabilities of these states leave them with a small margin of time and error and vulnerable to risks and threats. However, small state diplomacy in the spring 2020 corona crisis illustrates the potential of activist small state diplomacy using smart and entrepreneurial policies to forge plurilateralist small- and middle-power co-operation.

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José María Vera and José María Herranz de la Casa
Abstract

International non-governmental organisations have, for some time, been operating as diplomacy actors in the national and international public spheres. There has been an increase in their influence in the local areas of intervention of their programmes and in broader spaces where polices about the environment, inequality and other issues are decided. However, their influence has been threatened by the emergence of social movements and a flexible style of individualised activism that promotes their demands, as well as by questions around their independence and legitimacy that some of their actions generate cyclically. COVID-19 has brought into the public sphere some old challenges that international non-governmental organisations (INGO s) have been working on for years: health vulnerability, economic precarity and social emergency. This essay analyses this context, in which new challenges are appearing for INGO s concerning how they can influence the public sphere and policy-making, with the collaboration of new allies and partners.

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Ann E. Towns, Katarzyna Jezierska, Anne-Kathrin Kreft and Birgitta Niklasson
Abstract

The COVID-19 crisis has fundamentally gendered effects, on intimate partner violence, the division of care labour, healthcare and more. This, and other COVID-19-related changes, may have important consequences for the gendered practice of diplomacy. This essay therefore discusses COVID-19 to highlight the need to pay better attention to gender in the study of diplomacy. For instance, what are the gender dimensions of diplomacy moving online? What are the gendered implications of the increased pressures on consular diplomacy? Turning to longer-term issues, how do gender justice organisations that respond to COVID-19 target diplomats and embassies? How, in turn, do diplomats respond to such advocacy and the underlying problems they address, and does the recent increase in women diplomats make any difference? Gender and diplomacy are intimately interwoven, this essay contends, and understanding the implications of COVID-19 on diplomacy necessitates examining this connection.

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Jorge Heine
Abstract

‘A diplomat these days is nothing but a head waiter who is occasionally allowed to sit’, the actor Peter Ustinov once quipped. The paradox is that at the height of the current phase of globalisation, diplomacy and diplomats were sidelined rather than recognised for their key roles as ‘hinges’ of this process. Will the COVID-19 pandemic, with its cutting back on travel and (most likely) the budgets of ministries of foreign affairs, and the blistering attacks of populists on diplomats lead to their further marginalisation? Looking at the newly emerging role of Chinese ambassadors, this essay argues that may not necessarily be the case.

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Dalya Salinas Pérez, Ulises Canchola Gutiérrez and José-Juan López-Portillo
Abstract

The ‘corona crisis’ has transformed a generalized and long-standing concern for foreign service reform into an urgent necessity. The reform of the Mexican Foreign Service Law in 2018 offers a valuable example of a recent, comprehensive attempt to prepare a diplomatic apparatus for a context of accelerated change and uncertainty. The authors of this essay, who directly participated in this reform, explain how some of its main features provided them with useful tools to respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic from their new posting in Norway. After discussing the lessons from their experiences, they propose an agenda for discussion among practitioners and academics on subjects that must be addressed if diplomacy is to fulfil its urgent role in the construction of a new, post-pandemic world order.

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Javier Solana
Abstract

Apocalyptic predictions on the world’s future after COVID-19 are unfounded. Structures of global governance can be reinforced through greater subsidiarity; that is, by enhancing the participation of local authorities, by the involvement of civil society and the private sector and by regionalising initiatives, where appropriate. Furthermore, globalisation’s scope should be extended to comprise the shared governance of all global public goods and elements affecting human security. This essay outlines how this transformation could work for the four policy areas of global trade, food security, public health and climate change.

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Elsa Hedling

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Publication date: October 2020

 

 

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