Volume 6 (2011)
Issues 1-2: Economic Diplomacy: The Issues
Special issue edited by Jan Melissen, Maaike Okano-Heijmans and Peter A.G. van BergeijkIssues 1-2 at Brill.com
Jan Melissen, Maaike Okano-Heijmans and Peter A.G. van Bergeijk
This article introduces both a conceptual and an analytical framework of economic diplomacy so as to contribute to sounder understanding of economic diplomacy’s activities, tools and goals. While the state is not regarded as the only player, or as a coherent entity, it is assumed that the state is the primary actor in economic diplomacy. The conceptual framework discerns five strands of economic diplomacy, which involve tools and purposes that are relatively more commercial/economic or political in character and are thereby closer to the ‘business end’ or ‘power-play end’ of economic diplomacy. The analytical framework identifies four essential dimensions of economic diplomacy within which historically contingent change may occur: the context; tools; theatres; and processes. Interaction between these dimensions takes place in multiple ways. Building on the insights provided by these frameworks, the article analyses the foci, assumptions and methodologies of the research fields that are concerned with economic diplomacy, and discusses the strategic and ideological considerations that underpin it.
Japan’s response to the global financial crisis has emphasized global initiatives and downplayed the regional agenda, in sharp contrast with its approach to the Asian financial crisis. This rebalancing in Japan’s economic diplomacy reflects the greater political space that it has enjoyed at the global level since its long-held views on the benefits of flexible International Monetary Fund (IMF) lending practices and controls on volatile capital flows became mainstream. Meanwhile, at the regional level Japan faces stiff competition from China in shaping the regional integration agenda and unchartered territory in coleading a multilateral Chiang Mai Initiative. Despite its enhanced profile, Japan’s new globalism is uneven: it has made a very significant financial contribution to expand the IMF’s resources and to restore trade financing; but Japan has not played a major role in the debate surrounding the most pressing issues of a future financial architecture, such as tackling global imbalances and promoting foreign exchange-rate cooperation. Japan’s muted voice, despite its large financial commitments, reflects its difficult adaptation to the G20 summitry process, as well as political volatility at home, which prevents it from developing measures to deal with the global downturn.
China’s ascendance attracts concern, even though Beijing claims to be a responsible great power and tries to demonstrate its ‘great power style’ in economic diplomacy. This article therefore discusses the following questions: to what extent does the current notion and practice of Chinese ‘great power style’ in economic diplomacy comply with, or differ from, the criteria of benign hegemony; and what are the major constraining factors? Conceptually, China’s ‘great power style’ is rooted in ancient Chinese political philosophy and institution, but it highly resembles the Western notion of benign hegemony. Empirically, China has started to provide more public goods in trade, finance and aid, and it seeks voting powers at international institutions. However, it is still far from being a benign hegemon because of its level of development, domestic political constraints, and tension between political and economic interests.
The current special issue of The Hague Journal of Diplomacy is concerned with economic diplomacy. This article looks at the role that the European Union plays in economic diplomacy and shows that the EU’s role is essentially to facilitate, rather than to promote national companies as EU member state governments do. After discussing the various definitions of economic diplomacy, the article summarizes the areas in which the European Union constrains the scope for certain national policies of the EU member states. The article then discusses the factors that shape EU economic diplomacy and assesses the relative importance of these factors in specific negotiations.
Peter A.G. van Bergeijk, Mina Yakop and Henri L.F. de Groot
This article empirically investigates the contribution of different forms of diplomatic representation to the bilateral trade flows (both exports and imports) of a group of 63 countries. The authors report on the construction of a data set that covers 10,524 diplomatic representations. They use these representations as one of the explanatory variables in an applied trade model (the gravity model) for 3,730 bilateral trade flows in order to measure to what extent these representations are economically effective, in the sense that they are associated with larger trade flows. The authors distinguish different forms of international representation in the field of economic diplomacy (such as honorary and career consulates, embassies and embassy branches, and trade and other offices) and find positive and highly significant effects for embassies but mixed results for the other forms of representation. Finally, the authors provide a comparative perspective on the effectiveness of the 63 countries’ foreign services and classify the countries according to the average performance of their network of foreign representations.
Drawing on literature from various disciplines that directly address commercial diplomacy (diplomacy, political economy and international marketing) as well as empirical research, this article brings to commercial diplomacy the approach of management and organizational science. Methods used include qualitative case study research from in-depth semi-structured interviews with numerous commercial diplomats and related stakeholders, such as concerned business firms. A large share of the data was gathered in Switzerland. Naray analyses the roles of commercial diplomats by creating a framework composed of three main groups of roles — facilitation (F), advisory (A) and representation (R) — or ‘FAR’. These three roles cut across activity areas such as trade promotion, investments, ‘made-in’ and corporate image, cooperation in science and technology, and the protection of intellectual property. Two key dimensions of factors that shape the nature of commercial diplomacy are identified: organizational (such as arrangements between ministries and trade-promotion organizations, etc.); and individual (education, background and motivation). Implications arising from the organizational dimension concern organizational design, seeking effective arrangements between the commercial diplomat’s organizational unit and the headquarters. The individual dimension implies rethinking recruitment and talent management. If governments are to reorganize their commercial diplomacy, these two dimensions should be considered and acted upon.
Syed Mansoob Murshed, Hugh Ward and Han Dorussen
The ‘liberal peace’ model emphasizes the importance of commercial ties and shared norms for peaceful inter-state relations. In view of that, economic diplomacy promotes cross-border economic activities not only for direct economic gains but also for the indirect benefits of stable political relations. Ever since the creation of India and Pakistan in 1947, political relations between the two states have been tense and have witnessed six military confrontations. The enduring rivalry has undoubtedly limited contacts between the two countries. The political elites have only intermittently supported direct diplomatic engagement, and there are severe restrictions on trade and travel between the countries for ordinary citizens. Furthermore, India is generally seen as a successful democracy in a developing country, while Pakistan has been an autocracy for large parts of its history. India-Pakistan can therefore be considered as a worst-case scenario for the liberal peace model, with continued high levels of hostility likely.This article argues that economic diplomacy continues to matter, because it has increasingly involved India and Pakistan with the world community. It provides evidence suggesting that these indirect links can be seen to have functioned as (partial) substitutes for direct ties. Furthermore, the article analyses the relevance of indirect ties for diplomatic efforts to address three conflict issues: the Kashmir conflict; the Indus water basin; and the nuclear programmes.
Henk Bleker and Maxime Verhagen
This article stresses the importance of economic diplomacy in international policy-making. It elaborates on the global challenges that we face in the coming years. Solving these challenges has become complicated as a result of the rebalancing act from the West towards the East. The challenges touched upon here are issues such as the aftermath of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, guarding the multilateral system, the decreasing power of the Netherlands, and securing food and raw materials. Solutions to these challenges can be found in increasing our understanding of our new partners and using economic diplomacy more frequently in an intelligent way.
Until the 1980s, financial crises were caused by governments. But thereafter the private sector became the main culprit. The reforms introduced after the Asian crisis of the late 1990s were not properly implemented. Responsibility for financial stability became fragmented and the normal practices of economic diplomacy were abandoned. The crisis of 2007 thus caught governments unawares and obliged them to adopt extreme measures to avoid catastrophe. The decision-making that was associated with these measures gave more power to emerging markets through the G20. It ended the fragmentation of authority and achieved reasonable consistency of national, European and international financial reforms. It introduced stringent new rules in place of regulatory capture. But this progress was fragile: G7 members still tried to control the G20; the new reforms depended on national enforcement; and governments still needed too much from the banks to be able to discipline them completely. This crisis might be over, but it has left the seeds of the next one.
Arjan de Haan
This article explores the role of international development cooperation — or aid — in foreign policy and diplomacy. Based on his experience as a practitioner, Arjan de Haan makes the observation that the development debate, and in particular the search for effective aid, has neglected the political role of aid. Moreover, the high political symbolism that aid has obtained, particularly in the last decade, has received relatively little attention. A political perspective on aid is now rapidly becoming more important, especially because of the enhanced importance of global security in setting an aid agenda, and because the old ways of working are — or seem to be — challenged by the rise of China and other countries that were recently (and still are) recipients of aid. An understanding of the diverse political motives behind aid should inform the way that aid effectiveness is measured. The changing politics in which aid is embedded are illustrated with reference to the Netherlands, which used to have one of the most respected aid programmes because of its multilateral emphasis and ‘untying’ of aid, and because Dutch strategic interests have now been made one of the cornerstones of the Netherlands’ new policy. The article hypothesizes that reinforcing progressive principles around international development can be a supportive element of a strengthened diplomacy in the globalized world beyond 2010.
- R.S. Zaharna, Battles to Bridges: US Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy after 9/11. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
Ali Naseer Mohamed
- Robert Steinmetz and Anders Wivel (eds.), Small States in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities. Surrey: Ashgate, 2010.
Bruce S. Allen
- Kathy R. Fitzpatrick, The Future of US Public Diplomacy: An Uncertain Fate. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2010.
- Ivor Roberts (ed.), Satow's Diplomatic Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Publication date: 1 January 2011
Issues 3-4: American Diplomacy
Special issue edited by Paul Sharp and Geoffrey WisemanIssues 3-4 at Brill.com
Paul Sharp and Geoffrey Wiseman
Throughout his writings, Harold Nicolson advocates a distinction between ‘policy’ (to be subject to democratic control) and ‘negotiation’ (to remain the province of professional diplomatists), preferring to separate these two quite different activities, rather than lumping them together under the general term ‘diplomacy’ (an intermingling that he found conceptually muddled and politically impossible to sustain once general public opinion becomes politically mobilized). Nicholas Murray Butler and George Kennan, who may be taken as representing idealist and realist American opinion in the twentieth century, found themselves at one in rejecting Nicolson’s distinction. Butler believed that the progressive enlightenment of public opinion, resulting in the attainment of the ‘international mind’, would improve both the formulation of policy and the conduct of negotiations; Kennan deprecated public opinion, at least in the United States, as irredeemably clumsy and ill-informed, and was convinced that this domestic political force would not be satisfied with directing policy, but would insist on interfering with negotiation as well. Across the board, American opinion seems to be hostile to Nicolson’s differentiation. This rejection of Nicolson’s view illustrates a more general influence of distinctively American thinking about international relations on American attitudes towards, and expectations of, diplomacy.
This article presents mainstream views in China about US diplomacy in general and particularly US diplomacy towards China in the twenty-first century. In general, US diplomacy is seen as primacyseeking, missionary pragmatism, hard power first, with persistent impulsive unilateralism, and only constrained by a disruptive power-sharing domestic political system. Chinese leaders and diplomats tend to favour those American counterparts who can demonstrate pragmatism, appreciation, commitment and professionalism. They believe that China needs to negotiate from a position of strength with normally over-demanding American counterparts, and to pay extraordinary attention to detail in negotiations. While the Chinese held a negative view about the overall diplomacy of US President George W. Bush, they welcomed his pragmatic diplomacy towards China and regarded it as his most positive diplomatic legacy. Although the Chinese have developed a more positive view towards President Obama’s diplomacy, in considering the United States’ persisting desire for primacy, its missionary tradition and highly pluralistic domestic politics, the Chinese are more cautious in embracing the Obama administration’s charmoffense diplomacy than many US allies.
This article explores the contrasting diplomacies of the United States and the European Union, drawing attention to the characteristics of the United States as a ‘warrior state’ and the European Union as a form of ‘trading state’ in which a complex and hybrid form of diplomacy is produced through the interplay of European and national foreign policies. It then pursues the argument that the interplay of US and EU diplomacies has generated an evolving EU-US diplomatic system, which in itself is hybrid and multidimensional. The article explores the context within which the EU-US diplomatic system has evolved and is evolving, and proposes three key patterns of diplomatic relations as the core of the system: ‘special relationships’ reflecting specific ties between the United States and key EU member states; ‘transatlantic governance’ reflecting the growth of transatlantic transactions and demands for their management; and ‘world order diplomacy’, which is centred on global governance institutions, patterns of intervention and crisis management. The article explores these patterns as they have manifested themselves during the George W. Bush and Obama presidencies, and concludes by asking whether the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty in the European Union is likely to bring about significant change in the patterns of EU-US diplomacy.
Less has changed in US diplomacy at the United Nations than many observers expected when the Obama administration took office in January 2009. In the UN Security Council, the United States has pursued a generally steady course that in many respects builds on the accomplishments of the Bush administration. Unexpectedly, the Security Council’s pace of work diminished considerably during the first few years of the new administration. The most significant change is the atmospherics of US diplomacy, not its substance: the Obama administration has participated in processes that the Bush administration shunned and has toned down US criticism of the United Nations’ perceived shortcomings.
Understanding, planning, engagement and advocacy are core concepts of public diplomacy. They are not unique to the American experience. There is, however, an American public diplomacy modus operandi with enduring characteristics that are rooted in the nation’s history and political culture. These include episodic resolve correlated with war and surges of zeal, systemic trade-offs in American politics, competitive practitioner communities and powerful civil society actors, and late adoption of communication technologies. This article examines these concepts and characteristics in the context of US President Barack Obama’s strategy of global public engagement. It argues that as US public diplomacy becomes a multi-stakeholder instrument and central to diplomatic practice, its institutions, methods and priorities require transformation rather than adaptation. The article explores three illustrative issues: a culture of understanding; social media; and multiple diplomatic actors. It concludes that the characteristics shaping the US public diplomacy continue to place significant constraints on its capacity for transformational change.
James Der Derian
This article is inspired by a series of events that took place in February 2011 around the effort to negotiate a memorial in Berlin on the occasion of the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of President Ronald Reagan. A thought experiment with images is constructed to consider whether these events — produced by the ubiquity, interconnectivity and reflexivity of global media — are symptomatic of a new quantum diplomacy.
Is diplomacy important and can diplomats make a difference? This article examines these questions in the context of American foreign policy during the first two years of the Obama administration. The policy of George W. Bush’s administration in Iraq and Iraq, unilateral in form and controversial in substance, ensured that foreign policy was a major issue in the election campaign, with all of the major candidates agreeing that American diplomacy needed to be restored. Candidate Obama went beyond the consensus about restoring the status and influence of the State Department, however, to argue that the United States should talk without preconditions, even with regimes of which it did not approve. In office, Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, rhetorically elevated diplomacy to an equal standing with defence and development, provided resources for greatly expanding the Foreign Service, and stressed the importance of taking advantage of developments in information technology to strengthen public and ‘digital’ diplomacy in the service of civilian power. They also ‘reset’ certain key bilateral relationships and ‘reengaged’ multilateralism. However, American diplomacy under Obama remains framed by the increasingly questionable assumption that its renewed openness to talking, its continued military superiority and its claim to embody universal values will continue to confer upon it the mantle of global leadership. If US administrations continue to assume that this is so, then American diplomacy will face the challenge of trying to bridge the increasingly widening gap between their aspirations and the means available to sustain them.
Chas W. Freeman
After the Second World War, the United States led the world in the reform of global governance. It also articulated and implemented a grand strategy to cope with the bipolar order that the war had brought into being. Confronted at present with a comparable crisis in global governance amid massive shifts in the global distribution of wealth and power, the United States has yet to articulate a vision, lead reform efforts, or reformulate its global strategy. This lapse from leadership reflects changes in the US political system that reinforce a militarized approach to foreign policy and make it difficult, if not impossible, for the United States to formulate strategic initiatives or to implement them through diplomacy and other measures short of war.
We live in an era of pervasive connectivity. At an astonishing pace, much of the world’s population is joining a common network. The proliferation of communications and information technology creates very significant changes for statecraft. But we have to keep in mind that the Internet is not a magic potion for political and social progress. Technology by itself is agnostic. It simply amplifies the existing sociologies on the ground, for good or ill. And it is much better at organizing protest movements than organizing institutions to support new governments in place of those that have been toppled. Diplomacy in the twenty-first century must grapple with both the potential and the limits of technology in foreign policy, and respond to the disruptions that it causes in international relations.
Publication date: 1 January 2011