Diplomacy has always been one of the most powerful tools used by people in negotiations to attain an advantageous position or make an opponent accept a certain proposal or follow an outlined course. It appeared at the dawn of human civilization and since that time had experienced numerous challenges that shaped its main sense and contributed to the appearance of numerous tools that could be applied in different situations.
Having evolved, it become one of the main aspects of the modern world. It impacts not only the functioning of a certain state; however, it also creates a setting for the international discourse and cooperation between different states. For this reason, there are numerous attempts to analyze this very issue and determine the main aspects of its formation and becoming one of the most important human activities. The book Naked Diplomacy by Tom Fletcher could be considered one of these attempts.
Therefore, the improved comprehending of the given book could result in the reconsideration of the main sense of diplomacy and its impact on the modern world. Moreover, there are also some other important concerns that could be obtained when reading the book and applying it to the real life conditions. First o all, it is the realization of the model that impacts every state and guarantees its being a part of the international discourse. Therefore, the modern international policy could be characterized by the appearance of new actors that become more and more influential and the UAE is one of these. In this regard, its current diplomacy could be analyzed in terms of the given book and its main concepts.
Preface and Part I
Besides, the book starts with the preface that explains the main issues related to the diplomacy and the way it shapes the world. The author clarifies the unique importance of this very tool using a powerful example of Shen Weigin, the diplomatic adviser to Emperor (Fletcher 1). This story emphasizes the way diplomacy serves people and how it could either improve or deteriorate the situation. The same ideas could be applied to the modern diplomacy. In case a diplomat fails to function at the high level, a state will suffer from the significant weakening of its position. It is especially topical for rising states like the UAE as its diplomats should be ready to face all challenges and overcome them.
Delving into the issue, the author provides a historical context to demonstrate the way diplomacy evolved and acquired its main features. It appeared when a survival instinct prioritized cooperation over conflict and resulted in the increased survival prospects (Fletcher 12). People understood that the ability to negotiate result in the increased efficiency of the cooperation and improved flexibility in large groups. However, not all messages and attempts to align relations were successful, and people realized the need for a tool that could help them to solve problems. It was the birth of diplomacy. Thus, communities evolved in different ways and states obtained their unique approaches to diplomacy. China created treaties to avoid conflicts; Ancient Greece sent short missions to other countries; Mongols also created their sophisticated way of cooperation (Fletcher 14). The great success of these states evidences that any rising commonwealth, like the UAE, has to create its own approach to diplomacy and explore it to attain success.
Continuing to highlight roots of diplomacy, the author states that at the first stages of its evolution, Eastern cultures were more acknowledged in the main diplomatic issues and promoted the evolution of the sphere greatly (Fletcher 30). In this regard, the idea that Europeans are the main contributors to its development is false. Only in the 15h century, they created a certain system of diplomatic relations with embassies and representatives of different states (Fletcher 32). In the 17th century, the first Ministry of External Affairs appeared and resulted in the intensification of the relations of this sort (Fletcher 33). Numerous geographical discoveries also contributed to the rise of diplomacy as states needed to align relations with new entities. Additionally, it became closely connected with the capital. To impact decision-making of different actors and to support their own actions, diplomats started to use capital as a powerful tool.
All these factors promoted the blistering rise of diplomacy and the age of its empowerment. Numerous innovations boosted diplomatic relations, and the tool became able to guarantee fast and efficient results needed to attain a certain goal. Moreover, the increased complexity of the international relations and the alterations in peoples mentality preconditioned the appearance of the new ways to impact public opinion and reconsider existing relations. The unique events of the 18th century, Napoleonic wars, a new pattern of the international relations increased the need for efficient diplomatic tools greatly. The author demonstrates that any serious alterations of the vector of international relations are a good background for the evolution of diplomacy. This could be applied to the modern age as the world passes through the period of change, and the UAE could use this opportunity by giving specific attention to its means of diplomacy.
In the following chapter Tom Fletcher emphasizes the importance of a new stimulus that diplomacy obtained in the 20th century. The author states the rapid development of technologies had a great positive impact on diplomacy as it obtained a number of new tools that it could use to guarantee a success of a certain issue and introduce new and more efficient ways of communication. The usage of telephone and television became the turning point in a new history of diplomacy. However, at the same time, the application of these tools was complicated by two world wars that were “a fallow period for democracy” (Fletcher 60) as states preferred to use military logic. However, any war ends with negotiations and diplomacy obtained a unique opportunity to shape the modern world.
Finally, Fletcher states that nowadays diplomacy remains the issue that supports the existing model of the international relations (82). It rests on such international organization as the UN that was created by diplomats to solve conflicts and avoid military conflicts that might appear in case the problem is disregarded. Furthermore, the increased complexity is compensated by the wide usage of innovations and revolutionary technologies. Emails and the Internet became the main tools that help modern diplomats to remain efficient. Analyzing this very part, we could state that the UAE should realize the unique importance of membership in these international organizations as they could be used as a platform to protect its own interests and attain success in relations with some states. Additionally, it is extremely important to be able to equip diplomats with all necessary tools to assure that they will function efficiently.
The following section could be considered one of the most important parts of the whole book as the author revolves around the idea of a good diplomat and qualities he/she should possess to be able to help its state to acquire a certain competitive advantage. This chapter is also important for states like the UAE that try to alter the current balance of power and become important actors in the international relations. The UAE has to cultivate its own unique approach to diplomacy and create a generation of ambassadors, councils, and other specialists who will be able to possess all qualities peculiar to a good diplomat. However, it is also crucial to avoid stereotypes when speaking about the issue as they might contort the main idea.
The second part of the book starts with the idea of so-called iDiplomacy which means the overwhelming prevalence of technologies. Fletcher states that “the coinage of the modern politics is now digital” (Fletcher 107). Technologies are used in every sphere of human activity, and the modern age could be defined as a networked society (Fletcher 107). Humans are able to exchange information without any delays and using tools available to them. This fact could not but impact the sphere of diplomacy. The faster people could communicate with each other the more efficient solution to a certain problem they could suggest. The same deals with diplomacy.
It obviously benefits from the increased speeds and becomes more and more efficient. However, there is also a certain threat as some non-digital nations or states might be excluded from the international discourse and suffer from their isolation. That is why it is crucial to assure that the process of a states development is supported by the usage of innovations in the sphere of diplomacy as it is one of the key aspects of any nations rise.
The UAE should perfectly realize this fact. At the moment, we could observe its tendency towards the usage of the newest technologies in its international relations. This approach helps the state to remain a part of the international discourse and not get isolated. However, the use of technologies also results in the high probability of information attacks and other attempts to corrupt real motifs of some actions. In this regard, security becomes another important concern, and the UAE should be ready to meet numerous challenges resulting from the altered character of the international relations.
Besides, speaking about the problem of security and privacy, the author states that a great threat to secrecy could be observed. Suggesting the case of Assange, or Snowden as powerful examples, Fletcher demonstrates us that the wide usage of technologies is a two-edged weapon that introduces numerous vulnerabilities. Diplomacy has always been associated with privacy as the majority of treaties have some hidden aspects that should not be known to other parties. Moreover, very often the remedies that are used by diplomats could be condemned by the publicity. For this reason, secrecy has been considered one of the integral points of diplomacy.
Nowadays it is threatened. For instance, WikiLeaks “creates dangerous implications for the ability of diplomats and government to protect confidential information and exchanges” (Fletcher 120). At the same time, it also complicates the process of negotiation as parties will be deprived of their main levers of influence. In this regard, the question of data security becomes one of the major issues for the modern diplomacy. Like any state which is engaged in the international discourse, the UAE should be ready to face this new problem and protect its data from leaks as they might do a great harm and weaken its position. At the same time, increased transparency of the international affairs should be taken into account when trying to achieve a certain goal and using doubtful remedies. The UAEs diplomats should keep in mind the fact that their actions might destroy the image of the state.
Considering all these facts, the book states the rise of a new power in the sphere of diplomatic relations. It combines the use of the most popular topics and appeals with numerous leaks and information bombs that might astonish the public and shape its attitude to a certain event or even state. There are numerous examples of information attacks on powerful persons and states which resulted in a great public response. For this reason, diplomats should obviously be ready to face such sort of threat and preserve the image of the UAE which also might suffer from the results of such actions.
However, Fletcher states that despite all alterations “nations and peoples still need diplomats to mediate the issues that divide them and help them avoid conflict” (Fletcher 168). It means that the nature of diplomacy remains the same and numerous ambassadors and councils have to solve problems that appear at the international level and guarantee a states evolution. For this reason, the author gives certain recommendations that could also be followed by the UAE diplomats. First of all, “decent peacemakers need to know their interests” (Fletcher 169), “their opponents” (Fletcher 169), and “to know when to turn off their smartphone” (Fletcher 169). These pieces of advice might seem obvious; however, they are crucial in the modern setting. Moreover, “Good negotiators sometimes let their opponents win” (Fletcher 174) in case some better position could be achieved as the result of these actions. The adherence to these rules could help to increase the efficiency of a diplomat and guarantee success at the international level.
In the final part, the author revolves around the perspectives of diplomacy and the way it might evolve. He is sure, that diplomacy will remain one of the main tools of the international communication as only its usage could guarantee the preservation of the existing word order and peace. It will obviously become even more digital and technologies-dependent; however, at the same time it will also save its nature and help people to make a compromise and solve some problematic question.
In conclusion, the book Naked Diplomacy could be considered an important source that outlines the most important aspects of diplomacy and the way it could be used to solve the most topical issues. The majority of assumptions provided by the author are supported by real-life examples. It contributes to the increased importance of the given source. The author also suggests his ideas about the qualities a good diplomat should possess to be able to function efficiently. These assumptions could be used by the UAE in its attempts to enhance its international policy and create a generation of efficient diplomats who will be able to preserve its interests and contribute to the development of the state.
Fletcher, Tom. Naked Diplomacy. William Collins, 2016.