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Current Volume: 17

Contents

Olli Hellmann and Kai Oppermann
Abstract

This article explores the effectiveness of photographs as instruments of public diplomacy through an analysis of China’s visual storytelling during the Covid-19 outbreak. Beijing considered the pandemic an existential threat to its image and responded with a communications offensive that was designed to highlight the regime’s success in containing the Coronavirus — both at home and abroad — and to safeguard the wider ‘China story’ of a ‘peace-loving and responsible global leader’. By combining scholarship on public diplomacy and strategic narratives with the ‘visual turn’ literature in international relations, this article focuses on the non-verbal dimension of China’s storytelling and explores the impact of photographs — distributed by the regime’s news agency, Xinhua — on international public opinion. Through a survey experiment among 1,000 US adults, we demonstrate that such photographs had a positive effect on China’s international image, but that this effect was moderated by levels of political knowledge among the target audience.

Article available at Brill.com

Asaf Siniver
Abstract

This article addresses a gap in the literature on international mediation by proposing the power to blame as an additional source of mediation leverage that had been hitherto largely ignored. The power to blame is framed here as ‘dead cat diplomacy’, a term originally coined by US Secretary of State James Baker to describe his threats to lay a figurative dead cat at the doorstep of a disputant to publicly signal its intransigence and thus force its acquiescence during the Middle East negotiations following the 1991 Gulf War. Drawing on the case studies of Baker and presidents Obama and Trump, the article presents three conditions necessary for the successful leveraging of the power to blame in international mediation: it must be used as a last resort, be perceived as credible by the targeted disputant and take place at a time when the targeted disputant’s bargaining capacity is limited.

Article available at Brill.com

Anna Popkova
Abstract

This article examines the local impact of citizen diplomacy through the case study of a volunteer-driven citizen diplomacy organisation Global Ties Kalamazoo (GTKzoo) based in Kalamazoo, Michigan (United States). Drawing on the data from 25 in-depth interviews with GTKzoo volunteers, this study demonstrates that citizen diplomats view citizen diplomacy as more authentic compared to traditional diplomacy. Representation as a key component of citizen diplomacy is also discussed, with GTKzoo volunteers struggling to reconcile their desire to ‘show the good parts of America’ with their understanding that ‘the good parts’ alone are not giving visitors a complete picture. This study also introduces two approaches to assessing the local impact of citizen diplomacy — instrumental and reflexive. The study concludes that the reflexive approach dominates citizen diplomats’ discussions as they focus on learning from the visitors, feeling inspired to be better community members, and seeing their local community through a more nuanced perspective.

Article available at Brill.com

David Ocón
Abstract

Beyond their traditional role as entertainment, form of expression and meeting spaces within local communities, arts and culture festivals can perform various functions. They can serve as showcases of artistic pride, signal openness towards cultural diversity, support the local economy, contribute to reducing political tension and provide grounds to consolidate international relationships. On occasion, such festivals function as tools to support the vision of a multilateral co-operation institution, as is the case of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Through a comprehensive review of the arts and culture festivals curated in ASEAN, this article investigates the festivals’ ulterior motivations. A range of economic, political, diplomatic, and organisational logics explain the evolution of such festivals during the last fifty years. The article concludes that arts and culture festivals have remained a compelling and instrumental co-operation mechanism in ASEAN, but formats and approaches need substantial revision.

Article available at Brill.com

Hanna Tuominen
Abstract

The Finnish Government practises a human rights-based foreign policy, and norm advocacy within international organisations is an integral part of this ambition. One priority was to apply for UN Human Rights Council (HRC) membership for the 2022-2024 term. This article studies the Finnish campaign from the theoretical perspective of a small state seeking to update its status through norm advocacy and UN campaigning. It claims that the HRC campaign is an important means of updating Finland’s status within its ambitious Nordic peer group. Updating a country’s status can be achieved by showing moral authority and good UN membership. It also demonstrates the challenges and opportunities set by the domestic and external situation, introducing the HRC campaign priorities, based on Finland’s country brand, and shows how these are refreshed. The article draws on foreign policy documentation, campaign materials and interviews with Finnish diplomats and public officials involved in the campaign.

Article available at Brill.com

Gerardo (Gerry) Diaz Bartolome

Book reviewed:

  • Ilan Manor (2019). The Digitalization of Public Diplomacy. Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, xvi + 356pp. ISBN 978-3-030-04404-6 (hardcover £74.99). ISBN 978-3-030-04405-3 (eBook £55.99).

Article available at Brill.com

João Mourato Pinto

Book reviewed:

  • Yolanda Kemp Spies (2019). Global Diplomacy and International Society. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN: 978-3-319-95524-7, 272 pp., €80.24.

Article available at Brill.com

Publication date: March 2022

 

Contents

Christina Churruca-Muguruza
Abstract

This article advances the notion of humanitarian border diplomacy, contributing to current academic discussions on humanitarian diplomacy and on the practice-theory nexus by conceptualising NGOs’ migrant accompaniment at borders as a form of everyday humanitarian diplomacy. The contention is that humanitarian diplomacy is similar to other diplomatic practices. Starting by rethinking humanitarian diplomacy, it discusses the emergence of humanitarian border diplomacy as a key component of everyday migrant accompaniment. Humanitarian border diplomacy focuses on advancing migrants’ rights, seeking to make helpful, empowering and transformational interventions in an attempt to resist and change the contemporary global governance of migration. The article presents the everyday diplomatic practices of the Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes in Melilla, on Spain’s southern border, as an example of humanitarian border diplomacy. At the border, as an alternative space for resistance, difference and otherness, the need for diplomatic culture as the symbolic mediation of estrangement is revealed.

Article available at Brill.com

William Maley and Ahmad Shuja Jamal
Abstract

On 29 February 2020 in Doha, the United States signed an ‘Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan’ with the extremist Taliban movement. Yet on 15 August 2021, the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. This article argues that the Doha Agreement did not simply precede the Taliban takeover; in significant ways it contributed to it. In its negotiation, content and implementation, it created destructive incentives for domestic and international parties, and it had effects on mass psychology in Afghanistan that its creators seemed not to have anticipated or understood. In that sense, it serves as a cautionary tale about the danger of assuming that negotiated ‘diplomatic solutions’ are necessarily superior to messy alternatives. The closest 20th-century equivalent was the Munich Agreement of September 1938.

Article available at Brill.com

Novita Putri Rudiany, Silvia Dian Anggraeni, Gita Meysharoh Nurhidayah and Muhamad Firmansyah
Abstract

Energy diplomacy is usually conducted by national governments. However, the case of sister city co-operation between the cities of Surabaya, Indonesia, and Kitakyushu, Japan, shows how substate actors can perform energy diplomacy by developing technology to create public spaces that apply energy efficiency and energy-saving principles. This article offers a new angle on energy diplomacy by elaborating on the role of the city government. To future-proof our perspective, we applied qualitative methods by gaining data from in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, then triangulated the result from the literature about energy diplomacy. The article argues that energy diplomacy has expanded in the sense that it is now carried out at municipal as well as national level and yet still adheres to states’ foreign policy agendas in the energy sector. These substate actors ultimately strengthen the principle of energy utilisation that has been regulated at the national level within the framework of bilateral co-operation with other substate actors.

Article available at Brill.com

Sohaela Amiri
Abstract

Whilst city diplomacy as a topic of study is gaining more attention, the practice is often approached through fields other than the study of diplomacy or international relations. A commonly accepted framework, and the governance system that supports it, is missing to shape research and scholarship. This forum outlines the key parameters of a framework for city diplomacy rooted in earlier research and validated through five essays by geographically and professionally diverse authors. The framework introduced in this introduction structured the direction of the essays that are informed by academic research and by practitioners. The essays also propose policies and strategies to make city diplomacy more systematically and officially integrated into global affairs.

Article available at Brill.com

Max Bouchet
Abstract

National foreign policy actors traditionally neglect the opportunities and challenges that local actors active on the global stage create. Cities and regional authorities have become important international players, engaging in bilateral and multilateral relations outside national borders. They exemplify a style of global co-operation perceived as pragmatic and effective. Subnational diplomacy does not undercut national diplomacy; instead, it can extend it. National governments need their cities and local governments to achieve certain domestic and foreign policy goals related to national security, competitiveness and international development. National governments also need local actors to solve 21st-century challenges linked to promoting democracy and addressing climate change, violent extremism and global migration. National governments should adapt their diplomatic tools and cultivate partnerships with their local governments to leverage their international strength, support their global reach and, where useful, amplify it.

Article available at Brill.com

Alexander Buhmann
Abstract

Public diplomacy efforts of nation states and cities within these states inevitably develop alongside another, giving rise to joint attributions regarding these entities as actors in global affairs, though also potentially intensifying perceptions of their independent and even contradictory roles in international diplomacy. Variations in attributions of cities and states as more or less conjoint actors can be expected to affect both the visibility of key actors and the formation of attitudes and behaviours towards these actors in international affairs. In this essay I explore how and in what dimensions such variations can be expected to occur, applying recent thinking on the constitution of social actors to this emerging debate in public and city diplomacy scholarship and proposing a conceptual framework that distinguishes joint ‘selfhood’ and ‘actorhood’ as key dimensions of joint city/state attributions. The essay includes a discussion of the implications of this conceptualisation for public and city diplomacy.

Article available at Brill.com

Rosa Groen
Abstract

To understand the factors that contribute to successful city diplomacy, this essay explores the example of how city diplomacy is used to attract international organisations. As soon as an international organisation (IO) starts looking for a location, local networks are formed and candidate host cities are selected internally. Cities benefit from hosting IOs, not only in worldwide reputation but also in economic growth. However, cities face increased competition and need improved strategies that are informed by a better assessment of contextual factors that affect a city’s international affairs. The ways in which cities co-operate with ministries and regional government levels when attracting IOs take different shapes and can be crucial for a successful outcome. This essay acknowledges three categories of context and introduces them as relational, discursive and instrumental in scope.

Article available at Brill.com

Antonio Alejo
Abstract

Cities are becoming critical in governing global challenges, and urban policies are not seen as purely local realities. From critical diplomatic studies, this essay states that the notion of urban diplomacy has the possibility to distinguish itself by avoiding being a mere imitation of state/traditional diplomacy, and it allows an analytical path to identify a more inclusive perspective to involve resident foreigners in the design and implementation of a city’s foreign policy. This essay discusses the role of global human mobility in urban diplomacy and the foreign policy of cities from a deterritorialised perspective. The essay argues that diaspora organisations are relevant actors in designing and implementing cities’ foreign policy as part of inclusive urban diplomacy through their trans-local dynamics. Following a qualitative approach, the essay’s empirical bases are four socio-political experiences that show how Mexico City’s diaspora feeds trans-locally the everyday relationship between Mexico City and Chicago.

Article available at Brill.com

Peter Kurz
Abstract

Although the concept of city diplomacy is not new, we are seeing exciting developments in the ways that cities work together to address local and global challenges. This article explores how the global political system must evolve to harness the full potential of a city diplomacy that is well-integrated into global governance. In order for city diplomacy’s promise to be unlocked, we must take action in four central areas: facilitating knowledge exchange between local, national and international governance; embracing networks as an integral part of global governance; systematically expanding municipal development co-operation; and revitalising the idea of a world charter of local self-government.

Article available at Brill.com

Lise H. Andersen

Book reviewed:

  • Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson and Pamela Aall, eds. (2021). Diplomacy and the Future of World Order. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. ISBN: 9781647120948, 376 pp., $36. 95 (paperback).

Article available at Brill.com

Ekaterina Mikhailova

Book reviewed:

  • Lorenzo Kihlgren Grandi. (2020). City Diplomacy. Cities and the Global Politics of the Environment. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan/Springer Nature. ISBN 978-303-060-716-6, 204 pp, $59.99 (hardbound).

Article available at Brill.com

Andre Nordensterne

Book reviewed:

  • Iver B. Neumann (2020). Diplomatic Tenses: A Social Evolutionary Perspective on Diplomacy. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-152-614-870-4, 144 pp., £80 (E-book).

Article available at Brill.com

Hanna T. Tuominen

Book reviewed:

  • Hendrik W. Ohnesorge (2020). Soft Power: The Forces of Attraction in International Relations. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN: 978-3-030-29921-7, 307 pp, € 98.09.

Article available at Brill.com

Publication date: February 2022

 

 

 

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