Border crossing_Volume1_Issue6

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Volume 1, Issue 6


Bogdanova Nadezda


July 2015

July 2015


Chief Publisher Eugène Matos De Lara

Letter from the Editor Greetings loyal readers,


Benjamin Miller

Academic Advisors Arne Ruckert Dave Van Ginhoven Jennifer Haire

Associate Publisher Amelia Baxter

Associate Editors Eric Wilkinson Mete Edurcan Guillaume Lacombe-Kishibe

Lead Designer

Each month Border Crossing seeks the most diverse offerings we can find. This diversity is not only reflected in the geographical and disciplinary contexts of our subjects and authors, but also the intent of each article. Some articles we include because they bring to light a topic you may have never thought of. This month, our article in this category is indisputably B. Nadezna’s “The Role of Stratagems in China’s Diplomacy”. Other articles we choose because they stem from cutting edge research that has immediate practical implications for diplomats. This month, S. Wong’s “Face to Face Diplomacy” fills that gap. Still other articles we choose because they cover the basics all in one place effectively, knowledge that’s easy to take for granted and practical to have handy. This month, A. Cegodajevs does us this favour with his introduction to “Economic Diplomacy”. Taken together, we think this diversity serves a wide range of readers with vastly different concerns.

Pierre-Alexandre Lubin

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Of course, we are also always in the process of pushing our own limits, and this month is no exception. Eric Wilkinson, one of our editors, wades into the conversation with his review of the now decade-old “Soft Power“ by Joseph Nye. If this experiment is received well, it will be the first of many reviews to come. And since we’re so confident you’ll like it, I’d like to invite you ahead of time to send us suggestions for books you’d like reviewed (including your own). This will not be our last experiment as we continue to grow and evolve as a publication capable of serving the diplomatic community of practitioners and scholars most effectively.

Happy reading,

Benjamin Miller


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Contents 6





Andris Cegodajevs

Bogdanova Nadezda



Seanon S. Wong



Eric Wilkinson

July 2015


ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY Andris ÄŒegodajevs is a Researcher at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs. During the Latvian Presidency he worked in the Secretariat of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. He has also worked in the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia and as a Researcher at the Centre for East European Policy Studies (Latvia). His research interests include: economics, development cooperation, and relations between Russia and the West.

Andris Cegodajevs Defining Economic Diplomacy


he subject of economic diplomacy and its study have rapidly developed over the past decade, yet there is still no strict consensus among academics about its definition. Despite this lack of agreement, in this article I will try to outline the basics of economic diplomacy theory, as well as some real life examples of its practice in Latvia. As noted in previous publications on the subject, many studies see economic diplomacy as a policy of government (which includes institutional structure and the allocation of resources), behavioral aspects, as well as policy aims and results in dealing with economic and commercial interests of the state and businesses within it. While authors have given different theories on economic diplomacy and its definition, they all agree on the following: economic diplomacy can be defined as a set of methods and


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processes related to cross border economic activities such as exports, imports, investment, lending, aid and migration, all of which are pursued by state and non-state actors. This Economic Diplomacy can be divided into three main elements: the use of political influence and relationships to promote trade and investment, the use of economic assets and relationships to increase economic security and the use of multilateral negotiations to consolidate the right political climate and political economic environment to facilitate the institution of an actor’s objectives. One of the features of economic diplomacy that most distinguishes it from diplomacy in general is the involvement of the private sector in decision making processes. The reason for this is that market developments are closely monitored by private sector actors in order to stay informed about where and how to invest or sell goods and services in their country of interest. Economic globalization, by way of

the resulting international economic interdependence, has led to economic diplomacy playing an increasingly important role within foreign policy. This means that economic diplomacy issues also have a greater impact on domestic issues, because each country wants to penetrate the markets of other countries and trade blocs. To achieve their goals, countries have to use a network of assets, such as government agencies, various workgroups, lobbies, and yes – diplomatic tools, while practicing economic diplomacy.

Economic Diplomacy at all Levels While conducting bilateral economic diplomacy, governments practice informal dealings on a range of issues such as trade agreements, agreements on investment, or avoiding double taxation. Multilateral economic diplomacy, on the other hand, occurs within a set framework of international organizations such as the World Trade Organization, the Organization of Economic Co-

operation and Development (OECD), and others. In this case, private and government sectors have to agree on a set position that is taken when negotiating with other countries or organizations in this framework. Between the bilateral and multilateral, there is the regional (plurilateral) approach. The regional approach offers a more rapid way of opening markets, the prime example being the European Union. As a vehicle for the removal of regional trade barriers, the liberalization of economies might be easier to accept because it occurs within a regional grouping of countries. However, as the experience of European Union shows, this is not always as easy as it may seem.

Whole of Government Approach Even though economic diplomacy is mainly concerned with actions of governments and what they do to promote their economic interests, in the broader sense it goes much further than just the responsibilities of foreign ministers or any other closed circle of officials. Engagement in economic diplomacy concerns all government agencies that have economic responsibilities, although they might not acknowledge it themselves. All ministers, heads of government, parliaments and independent public agencies that are involved with economic issues are engaged in economic diplomacy.

Economic Diplomacy and Power When the legitimacy and power of current structures of international cooperation declines and shifts, economic diplomacy is deployed by

states that are seeking to achieve economic goals in the newly flexible international environment. In these cases, weakening adherence to multilateral rules has made bilateral policies more attractive. The changes in geo-economic power have a tendency to encourage governments to reassess their national and foreign policies. This is especially true when talking about economic diplomacy because changes spur new thinking, such as the role of commercial diplomats who are working in the fields of trade and investment promotion. In the cases of emerging economies, a larger role for the state in international economics is seen as a necessary condition for success because in these emerging economies the state is seen to have a much stronger influence on the domestic private sector. This contrasts the separation of public and private sectors as seen in the West, but cultural and historic reasons explain why trade partners in emerging economies expect state involvement from their foreign partners in investment and trade. In the same way, many Western countries have moved to a reproach of the so called “BRICS” countries and other countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In the case of Latvia, considerable economic diplomacy efforts have been made in building closer ties with Central Asian countries, both for itself and on the behalf of the EU. As mentioned, economic diplomacy is mainly concerned with the actions of governments and what they do to promote their economic interests. This involves

government agencies as primary actors but also recognizes the involvement of nongovernmental entities (businesses, interest groups, NGOs) in shaping the economic diplomacy. Latvia’s economic interests with regards to economic diplomacy manifest in the form of facilitating exports and promoting foreign investment. Most of the work concerning economic diplomacy is done through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its network of diplomatic representation across many countries. However, other ministries such as the Ministry of Economics, the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Chancellery. Meanwhile, other government agencies such as the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia are involved in dealing with various issues more or less related to the realm of economic diplomacy. Relations between government agencies and non-governmental actors have been coordinated through several forms of cooperation. The concept of economic diplomacy and commercial diplomacy are hard to separate in cases of practical implications for Latvia which lead to an assumption that businesses may have an easier way to access decision-making. Internationally, Latvia’s economic diplomacy policy is highly influenced by its membership in the EU. Since the EU has an exclusive role for trade policy and significant part of the investment policy, the EU institutions are negotiating EU-level treaties and agreements on behalf of its member states, including Latvia. However, member states of the EU are still free to negotiate

June 2015


bilateral agreements with thirdparty countries (although only in cases where the EU has not already started negotiations and with the formal approval of other member states) and engage in external economic activities in order to promote trade and investment. Over the last 25 years, Latvia has established a fully functioning set of state institutions from the ground up, responsible for formulating and executing an economic policy which includes economic diplomacy. The institutional frameworks and policies for economic diplomacy implies action on both domestic and external levels in order to be competitive enough in the international environment. The main government policy initiatives suggest that the government is pursuing active co-operation with non-government sectors to facilitate foreign investment and create a better environment for business. Other state institutions play their part by informing and supporting Latvian businesses that wish to enter foreign markets, as well as providing useful services to foreign businesses and investors looking to enter Latvia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not only the coordinator of other agencies’ activities, but by itself is representing and promoting Latvian businesses abroad and helping to access foreign markets. While there is no universally effective institutional framework of economic diplomacy applicable for every country, the coordination of economic diplomacy in Latvia has adapted to the changing environment and issues that are most pressing in a particular time frame. The success or failure of this


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and other institutional frameworks can be observed only by an indepth look at specific issues of economic diplomacy, not a general overview.

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July 2015


THE ROLES OF STRATAGEMS IN CHINA’S DIPLOMACY Bogdanova Nadezhda is a native of Russia. She has been a professor of Chinese at People’s Friendship University of Russia since 2001. She is an experienced translator and interpreter. Between 2002 and 2005, she has worked across Moscow with Chinese tourists, and was the Head of Education Department for Russian Chinese Communication Agency from 2003 to 2005. The research interests include: History of ancient China; creation and further development of Diplomacy in China from ancient times till present days.

Bogdanova Nadezda

experience of the Chinese people.


A Brief History

he word "stratagems" (in Chinese: 智谋, 谋略, 方略), according to the Russian researcher Vladimir Myasnikov, means a cunning plan or an original way to achieve military, civil, political, economic or personal purposes (4). This phenomenon of stratagem thinking and behaviour, which is explored in the works of contemporary scholars, existed in China as early as a few centuries before the Christian era and can be seen in the two military treaties Sun Zi’s The Laws of War and Sun Bin’s Military Laws (the latter lost in antiquity and found in 1972). Stratagems can also be "extracted" from world famous classic novels, such as "Journey to the West" (西游记), "Dream of the Red Chamber" (红 楼梦), "Water Margin" (水浒传) and "Three Kingdoms" (三国 志). It should be noted that every stratagem is an idiomatic expression of 3-4 characters, embodying the millennial

The early appearance of stratagem thinking in Chinese texts attests to the achievements of Chinese political thought. To understand the philosophical roots of Chinese strategic beliefs, one should refer to the Warring States Period (战国 463-222 BC), during which the basic political institutions that determined the Chinese state system and different schools of thought were formed. This becomes particularly obvious in the leading "Confucian" and "Lawyer" schools which emerged as two leading streams of thought. A large number of interesting military literature dates back to this period, among which the book The Art of War by Sun Zi stands out. It is the most famous work of the time. During this period, representatives of various philosophical schools became councillors of the ruling elite and gave rulers ideas of state reform, as well as their military tactical options. They are the scientists "reminiscent of today’s diplomats and negotiators



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authorized to represent the ruler of one country to negotiate with others, to form an alliance" (1. P. 18). An important characteristic of the stratagem is the ability to analyze a situation several moves ahead. A stratagem is a tactical move which is used to get a result, containing a certain cunning deception. The phrase "36 stratagems" in the 5th century was first mentioned in Chinese sources in connection with the phrase "the best of all the thirty-six military methods". This may have referred to a retreat that would perhaps otherwise be regarded as an example of cowardice. This perplexing statement might be better understood through the observation of Confucian philosophy that the Chinese are the people who love peace and harmony. Even the military strategist Sun Tzu expressed a preference to win wars without fighting. Similarly, Sun Zi considered that in order to achieve the political goals of a war, one needed to defeat the enemy by disrupting their internal harmony and their morale. However, this does not mean that the Chinese

cannot use force or will not fight. If necessary, the Chinese will fight as bravely as other peoples to protect their territory and national pride as shown in the war with Japan. Before moving to a more contemporary analysis, it should also be remarked that while it is tempting to connect contemporary knowledge directly to the ancient, the above saying should not lead one to believe that the 36 currently known stratagems are identical to the ancient ones, since some experts believe those currently known arose after this saying, and other experts believe the number 36 may have only been used figuratively to express a large number. Swiss researcher Harro von Senger, the author of "Стратагемы. О китайском искусстве жить и выживать" (translated to "Stratagem: About the Chinese art to live and survive") examines the concept of stratagem 计 ji as a combination of the grapheme 言 yan (Myasnikov stresses that in Chinese and European dictionaries "言" means "the word or “the speech") and 十 shi, meaning "ten". Thus, the author leads the reader to the fact that 计 means "to count up to ten" or even "take it into account, to count" and as a noun can be translated as "calculation". Cultural Barriers and Moral Quandaries It is interesting to note that when Europeans hear about Chinese stratagems they can often be confused by some moral aspects, as not every European is ready to build on his success by cheating others. However, in the context of stratagem-thinking this problem is solved quite simply; a victory,

according to the art of warfare in Chinese, is worthy and good because the strongest in a fight and the one who sees further than his opponent obtains it. This overriding principle is plain in the stratagems themselves. The first stratagem is "to deceive the emperor to swim across the sea" (瞒天过海). The essence of the phrase is to hide the aim or shoot down an enemy from the course. Stratagem number 3 is "To kill, using someone else’s knife" (借刀杀人), widely known in the world today. Its basic sense is to defeat the enemy by proxy. Contemporary Stratagem Thinking Turning to more modern matters, it turns out that Mao Zedong was also known as the master of methods of stratagem, and his words "hit on the head, and the rest will collapse itself" became "the slogan of Chinese diplomacy". At the same time, as Zenger notes, these words accurately reproduced stratagem 18 (擒贼 擒 王), the essence of which is to eliminate the ruling elite, the leader, so that the enemy will no longer be any danger. The meaning of stratagem 23 ("be friends with distant (countries) and fight with his neighbor", or 远 交 近 攻) is to unite with distant countries in order to attack those who are nearby. The idea of this stratagem is "all are enemies", but there are obvious enemies with whom one will fight soon and secret enemies (so-called "temporary" allies) who can be involved to fight against obvious enemies. One of the heroes of Sima Qian in the "Historical notes", Su Qin teaches the ruler of the kingdom, "You don’t have to make mistakes in the calculations more than negligible risk, located at a distance from you in a hundred li, and attach

great importance to the disaster, which is located in a distance from you thousands of li" ( 10. P. 97). According to the above stratagem, the most dangerous enemy is the one who is the closest. In fact, they are a constant source of increased danger. One example from recent history can be seen in the Chinese invasion of Vietnam in 1979 while the Soviet Union supported the Vietnamese. Another example of the successful use of stratagems in Chinese leadership: as a result of complications arising from German-Chinese relations, the Chinese side canceled the 11th China–EU summit scheduled for 2008. In this case, perhaps, the leaders of China behaved in accordance with the 16th stratagem (欲擒故縱), which teaches "if you want to catch something at first release it". As mentioned earlier, the Chinese are not ready to use force if there is at least one opportunity to return to the negotiating table for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. This is perhaps part of the reason that China has been stable for many years. In the words of the true wisdom of Chinese strategy, "A skillful general wins without a fight. The greatest warrior doesn’t fight." Stratagems can be considered a weapon which has been capably used by the Chinese for thousands of years. The sphere of usage of stratagems is broad, but were first used in military and diplomatic practice. Stratagem thinking is an unusual approach to critical situations.

July 2015


References 1. Huiyun Feng "Chinese strategic culture and foreign policy decision-making. Confucianism, leadership and war", New York, Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2007. 2. Korsun VA "The foreign policy mechanism" with Chinese characteristics article. Vestnik MGIMO №1/2010. Scientific schools MGIMO, pp. 221-236. 3. The electronic newspaper, section "Science and Technology" at the Academy. Chaepitiya: Secret Weapon of the East 18.05.2011 interview with Vladimir Myasnikov academy/18-05-2011/1077158chaeptite_myasnikov-4/. 4. “Diplomatic strategy and policy of China”. Chǔ Shùlóng, Jīn Wēi, Peking, 2008. 5. L.S. Perelomov "Confucius. Lun Yu": Eastern Literature. 2001. 6. Chinese military strategy. Comp., Trans., and comments. VV Malyavina. M. Publisher Astrel, Publisher AST, 2002, 432. 7. H. fon Zenger. Stratagems. About Chinese art to live and survive. TT. 1, 2 - M: Publishing house Eksmo, 2004. - 512, 1024. 8. Sun Tzu. The Art of War (translated academician NI Conrad). Sun Tzu. A treatise on the art of war. Translation and research. Moscow-L . 1950. 9. "Thirty-six stratagems"


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Translation by VV Malyavin - M. White Alva, 2000. 192 p. 10. Historical Records by Sima Qian (Shiji): Per T. 7. with a whale., foreword. R. V.Vyatkina, comments. RV Vyatkina, A.R.Vyatkina. - M.: Publishing company Eastern Literature RAS, 1996.

July 2015



Senior Researcher and Senior Lecturer at the SARChI Research Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, University of Johannesburg.

Lesley Masters


he G77 and China 2 has evolved from an initial group of 77 countries to include over 130 member states from the geopolitical South. While these countries are broadly united by their developing country status, they represent a heterogeneous group including larger emerging economies, least developed countries (LDCs), and small island developing states (SIDS). As the largest grouping of countries within the United Nations, the G77 represents a considerable presence in negotiations. Yet while the early ‘solidarity’ of the umbrella group may have seen successes for the G77 in giving a voice to the concerns of the developing world at the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), cohesion is proving difficult as the G77 engages in climate change negotiations. The umbrella springs a leak The complexity of climate change negotiations going into the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris at the end of 2015 has brought to the fore challenges in reconciling various political positions. While there has been broad international agreement on the need to reduce emissions in order to keep the global rise in temperature below the 2°C


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threshold, how this will be achieved and who will pay for it remains at the centre of these negotiations. Within the broader umbrella group of the G77 and China there are a number of different geo-political, regional and/or issue focused groupings. These include the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) countries, the Least Developed Country (LDC) group, the Land-locked Least developed countries (LLDCs), members of the Africa Group, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), and members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Each is looking to pursue their own particular interests. For example the small island states are concerned with questions of adapting to rising sea levels as they threaten their existence. Emerging countries such as India, South Africa and China have a greater interest in questions of mitigation than do Least Developed Countries with minimal carbon emission. The Africa Group, with its own common position on climate change, looks towards pursuing adaptation, technology transfer and finance while the oil producing countries of OPEC remain concerned with response measures that will address the negative impact on their revenue streams when people move away from using fossil fuels. This diversity of positions has seen divi-

sions emerging within the Group, evident in the lead up to and during the fraught 2009 negotiations in Copenhagen (COP15). The BASIC countries, which decried efforts by the Danish to impose their draft text of the Copenhagen Accord, proceeded to present their own version not embraced by other members of the Group including the AOSIS and the LDC states. The small island state of Tuvalu was particularly vocal in noting that emerging economies should be included in setting targets for emission reductions.3 The Copenhagen negotiations were a step backwards in the negotiations on climate change as a whole but also raised questions surrounding the role of the G77 and China. Results from a survey conducted among negotiation participants (2008-2010) revealed a drop in confidence around the leadership role of the G77 and China from 27% at the Poznán (2008) negotiations, to 19% in Cancún (2010)4. Although the negotiation process recovered somewhat at the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16) in Cancun, the G77 and China found itself fairly peripheral. The adoption of a ‘BASIC+’ approach saw the continued focus on the role of the larger emerging countries, despite an invitation to the Chair of the G77 and China to attend the BASIC

meetings in a form of ‘outreach’. By the time South Africa hosted the COP17 in Durban, it was the EU that pursued a central role in agreeing to continue with Kyoto commitments to keep the talks on track. With developed and the larger developing countries at loggerheads over mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer, finance and the ‘principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities,’ questions have been raised by some of the smaller states on whether BASIC countries are using the G77 to legitimise their developing country status. As Xi points out in his analysis, ‘China continues to benefit by keeping one foot firmly placed in the G-77.’5 With the BASIC countries failing to maintain a prominent position following Cancun, negotiation space has opened up for the G77 and China. This is evident at the negotiations in Warsaw (Poland – COP19), where the G77 and China stalled talks through a walk-out after it emerged that developed countries like Australia, the US and the EU were pushing to have the question of ‘compensation for extreme climate events’ deferred until after the 2015 negotiations6. The continued relevance of the G77 and China after 50 In 2014 the G77 and China celebrated its 50th anniversary and with many of the challenges that led to the creation of the G77 in 1964 remaining, the Group maintains a relevancy in addressing inequality, poverty, the trade gap and in providing a ‘voice’ in international fora for developing countries. For member states the value of the G77 and China is ‘solidarity,’ or the ability to present a collective voice from the South since many developing countries remain politically vulnerable as they engage in international negotiations. The G77 and China provides a platform to push areas of importance that these states may not have been able to pursue individually.7 Indeed, the numerical strength of the G77 and China, evident at the Warsaw negotiations, has seen issues of concern to

developing countries remain prominent on the climate change agenda. There is also value in the G77 and China for smaller countries is terms of resources and capacity support. For example, while developed countries may have extensive negotiating delegations which include specialists in numerous areas, developing countries do not always have the people to attend all the break-away sessions or the specialists within the numerous areas that the climate change negotiations cover.8 Broader shared interests present a further reason for continuing the G77 and China. Despite nuances in positions within the Group, members all agree on the broad principles that underline developing country positions: continuing the multilateral process under the UNFCCC, preserving the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities with the continued emphasis on developed countries fulfilling their commitments to the Kyoto Protocol, ensuring sufficient carbon space for development to allow developing countries to address domestic challenges of inequality and poverty, and access to technology, new, additional and scaled up finance as well as capacity building, which is critical if developing countries are to achieve their socioeconomic priorities while addressing the challenges of climate change (mitigation and adaptation).9 The future of the G77 and China in the climate change negotiations The challenge for COP21 will be in negotiating a political solution that addresses the impact of past industrialisation and manages the implications of future growth on the global commons. Within these negotiations the G77 and China will continue to provide a platform for promoting solidarity, equity and justice, although how effective it will be in pursuing these objectives will be dependent on the ability to maintain a coordinated approach. This will require considerable diplomatic effort between

member states in ensuring continuous engagement and coordination around positions. The future of the G77 and China will also depend on the strategic value the Group offers to its members. Where this value lies needs to be further unpacked by the Group as a collective, assessing and addressing the diplomatic strengths and weaknesses across the various platforms in which the Group now engages.


1. A full length version of this article first appeared as an Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD) Policy Brief, Global Insight Issue 111/October 2014. 2. The ‘and China’ is reference to the fact that Beijing is a ‘special invitee’ and an associated member. 3. L. Masters. 2010. Africa, Climate Change and Copenhagen. Global Insight Issue 91/February 2010. Institute for Global Dialogue, p. 4. 4. K. A. Hochstetler. 2012. The G77, BASIC, and global climate governance: a new era in multilateral environmental negotiations. Revista Brasileira de Politica Internacional. (special edition), p. 59. 5. X. Qi. 2011. From G-77 to BASIC: China in Global Climate Change Negotiations. The Global South and the International politics of Climate Change. Proceedings Report of the International Workshop: Negotiating Africa and the Global South’s Interests in Climate Change. Compiled by L. Masters. November 2011. Institute for Global Dialogue, Pretoria, p. 22. 6. J. Vidal. 2013. Poor countries walk out of UN climate talks as compensation row rumbles on. The Guardian. 20 November 2013. Available from: climate-talks-walk-out-compensation-un-warsaw/ print [accessed 10/07/2014] 7. S. Kasa, A. T. Gullberg and G. Heggelund. The Group of 77 in the international climate negotiations: recent developments and future directions. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics. June 2008. Vol 8(2), p. 114. 8. A. Makina. 2013. Managing Climate Change: The Africa Group in Multilateral Environmental Negotiations.. Journal or International Organizations Studies Vol 4(1). Available from sites/ accessed 10/07/2014. 9. J. Ashe sets out the key issue areas for the G77 and China in his statement on behalf of the G77 and China see J. Ashe. 2008. Statement on Behalf of the Group of 77 and China at the Thematic Debate of the General Assembly on “Addressing Climate Change: The United Nations and the World at Work”. New York 12 February 2008. Available at: statement/getstatement.php?id=080212 [accessed 10 July 2014].

July 2015


Chinese Guardian Lions, popular during the Han Dynasty, stand in front of state buildings welcoming entry with mythical protective powers. Chinese embassies around the world greet foreign dignitaries with Guardian Lions.

Industrial docks in Shanghai. Trade and diplomacy become closely knit as China develops into one of the world’s biggest players in foreign trade.


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July 2015


THE PASSION OF FACE-TO-FACE DIPLOMACY Seanon S. Wong is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California. His research interests include international relations theory, diplomacy, political psychology, identity and intergroup conflicts, and the international relations of East Asia. His research has been published or is forthcoming in European Journal of International Relations, Asian Perspective and Stanford Journal of East Asian Affairs.



ountries often seek to resolve their disputes through face-to-face diplomacy. When leaders and diplomats meet, they frequently find themselves in what is known as the “negotiator’s dilemma”: the simultaneous incentives to be forthright about one’s intentions to reach an agreement and to misrepresent them in order to take advantage of others. Consequently, what one claims to be his intentions cannot always be taken at face value. A genuine counterpart may say that he is sincere about negotiating, resolute about a position, serious about a threat, or committed to an agreement, but so may someone who is insincere, irresolute, bluffing, or uncommitted. How, then, do leaders and diplomats express, and conversely, assess each other’s intentions? Surprisingly, the academic literature is largely muted on this question. International relations theorists have tended to privilege more “macro” forces (balance of power, ideas, norms, identity, etc.) as explanation for changes and events in world politics; overlooked, then, are the interactions that occur at the “micro” level of face-to-face diplomacy. In fact, as Paul Sharp noted in the May 2015 issue of Border Crossing, “most IR theorists have agreed that diplomacy […] is not important to an understanding of what happens in international relations.” On the other hand, diplomatic historians and, of course, diplomats themselves have written


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extensively on face-to-face diplomacy. But their works have largely taken the importance of the practice as a given, rather than specifying and explaining the mechanisms involved that allow countries to overcome their asymmetry of knowledge about each other’s intentions.

dealing with each other. Emotions should be purged and suppressed, lest they get in the way of sound judgment and proper relationships. As Condoleezza Rice wrote in her memoir, “[a]s secretary [of state], I rarely let my emotions show”.3

Social psychologists have long known that the verbal content of any interaction carries only a fraction of its meaning. When individuals communicate at close range–in diplomacy or in other social settings–they pay attention not only to what others say, but also to their tone of speech, and hand and body gestures. As Richard Holbrooke observed at one point during the Dayton negotiations in 1995: “For two more hours [Serbian President] Milosevic and [Bosnian Prime Minister] Silajdzic argued, yelled, and drew wide, sweeping lines on the maps. Translation was almost unnecessary – the body language, the hand gestures, the emotions told the story.”2

But the expectation of composure also means that when leaders and diplomats do become emotional, they mean business. Take, for example, Harold Macmillan’s meeting with Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow in February-March 1959 to explore, among other issues, Soviet intentions in Germany. Nicknamed “the unflappable Mac”, Macmillan was known for his ability to keep his emotions in check. However, when the two leaders haggled over Berlin and Khrushchev turned aggressive, hoping that Macmillan would be the first to budge, the latter bridled and retorted: “[I]f you try to threaten us in any way you will create the Third World War. Because we shall not give in, nor will the Americans.”4 Khrushchev was shocked by Macmillan’s unexpected change in attitude. According to a British diplomat in attendance, his face “went the colour of rather too old leather; he was furious, rocking to and fro, obviously thinking that if he acted it would mean war”.5 Days later, he backed down on the deadline of an ultimatum on Berlin.

The communication of intentions through emotions is effective in diplomacy for at least two reasons. To begin with, diplomatic culture generally expects its practitioners to remain composed when

Moreover, relationships are often ongoing in diplomacy. Leaders and diplomats are acquainted with one another from previous encounters, and they make as much of an emotional expression in a

In my ongoing research,1 I argue that diplomacy is unique as a conduit between countries because it enables the exchange of emotions between leaders and diplomats. An emotion reflects the intentions of the person expressing it, and by extension, the intentions of the country he represents.

particular interaction as its contrast and consistency with one’s behavior in the past. Consider Anatoly Dobrynin’s impression of Robert Kennedy during a meeting at the height of the Cuban missile crisis on October 27, 1962. In that critical meeting, Kennedy relayed the President’s pledge to secretly remove the Jupiter missiles in Turkey within months. In his memoir, the Soviet ambassador remembered Kennedy as someone “who often lost his temper”.6 On that day, however, Kennedy was “[i]n a state of great nervous tension… [and] kept appealing for prudence and good sense.”7 “I’ve never seen him like this before”, Dobrynin immediately reported in a telegram to Moscow.8 Dobrynin–and by extension, Khrushchev– would probably not be as convinced of Kennedy’s pledge and felt the urgency to end the crisis had he not observed the latter’s emotional turnabout up close. After all, Khrushchev had advised another of his emissaries to Washington, Georgi Bolshakov, earlier in the crisis: “You’ve got to take note of everything–the tone, gestures, and conversations.”9 But can an emotion be concealed or feigned, and paradoxically, lose its communicative power, since the person observing it would be disinclined to read anything into it? The answer is “yes”. Such a scenario, however, is more the exception than the rule. First, emotional expressions are to a certain extent beyond conscious control. An individual might attempt to hide or feign an emotion. But insincerity is often detected with considerable accuracy based on the physical attributes of an expression. Decades of research has led to the discovery of what psychologists call “micro expressions, very fast facial movements lasting less than one-fifth of a second” that reveal “an emotion a person is trying to conceal.”10 There are certainly examples in diplomacy in which deception was successful. Think Hitler, who in a meeting in 1938 convinced his Austrian counterpart of his resolve to invade with a calculated show of anger.11 Later that year, he infamously convinced Neville Chamberlain in Munich of his limited designs for Czechoslovakia with his apparent sincerity.12 But the fact that his interlocutors were willing to read something into Hitler’s expressions attests

to how emotions are normally relied upon as indicator of intentions. Second, even if an individual is able to get away with deception, he might be “deterred” if doing so confers upon him a reputation for being emotionally manipulative, which erodes trust and relationships. Hitler’s interlocutors would presumably be inert to his emotional appeals had they had the chance to meet again. Also, consider again the case of Khrushchev, and how Western leaders came to regard his frequent flare-ups. As Macmillan recalled during his visit to the Soviet Union in 1959: “I was never sure at this or at other meetings with him [Khrushchev] how far this ebullition of temper was genuine.”13 Over the course of the following year, particularly during the Soviet leader’s visit to the US in September, Eisenhower was repeatedly offended by the latter’s “bad manner”. Such an impression had in part led him to conclude Khrushchev’s outburst at the aborted Paris summit in May 1960 to be “spurious”.14 The President was affronted by what was in his mind a staged display of anger, and stiffened his position as a result. So what are the main “takeaways” for those who practice diplomacy? On the one hand, one should look out for telltale signs of intentions when interacting with a foreign counterpart.15 Classical and modern writers have in fact frequently advised practitioners to be sensitive to the emotions of others. François de Callières, for instance, averred that “[t]he negotiator must… possess that penetration which enables him to discover the thoughts of men and to know by the least movement of their countenances what passions are stirring within.”16 One of the “distinguishing characteristics of a successful negotiator”, according to Ernest Mason Satow, is the “knowledge of men, which enables one to interpret looks and glances.”17 In current times, diplomats such as James Baker18 and Madeleine Albright19 have also identified alertness to the tone and body language of others as essential to the conduct of diplomacy. On the other hand, one may attempt to get a point across with emotions, but they are effective only when used prudently. “Sometimes”, as Madeleine Albright wrote in her memoir, “it’s useful to pretend that

you have a warmer relationship than you actually do. At other times, a show of anger or walking out is useful. I believe it’s unacceptable, however, for leaders to let tantrums obstruct important initiatives.”20 Khrushchev, again, is a case in point. His son, Sergei, once acknowledged that his father “had this image that he was very emotional. Sometimes he used it, and he liked to use it to threaten people.”21 The problem, however, is that over time, others have refused to see his emotions as real, and worse, reciprocate with mistrust and intransigence. Sustainable relationships in diplomacy, like all relationships in life, presume a certain degree of emotional sincerity.

References 1. For a more detailed presentation of my argument, see Seanon S. Wong. Forthcoming. “Emotions and the Communication of Intentions in Face-to-face Diplomacy.” European Journal of International Relations. 2. Richard Holbrooke. 1998. To End a War. Random House. p. 299. 3. Condoleezza Rice. 2012. No Higher Honor. Broadway Paperbacks. p. 616. 4. Alistair Horne. 1989. Macmillan. Macmillan. p. 125. 5. John P.S. Gearson. 1992. “British Policy and the Berlin Wall Crisis 1958-1961 – Witness Seminar.” Contemporary Record, Vol. 6, No. 1. p. 138. 6. Anatoly Dobrynin. 1995. In Confidence. Times Books. p. 61. 7. Anatoly Dobrynin. 1995. In Confidence. Times Books. p. 61. 8. Anatoly Dobrynin. 1962. Cable to the USSR Foreign Ministry, October 27. 9. William Taubman. 2007. Khrushchev: the Man and His Era. W.W. Norton. p. 556. 10. Paul Ekman. 2003. Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life. St. Martin’s Griffin. p. 15. 11. Robert Jervis. 1970. The Logic of Images in International Relations. Columbia University Press. p. 45-46. 12. Todd Hall and Keren Yarhi-Milo. 2012. “The Personal Touch: Leaders’ Impressions, Costly Signaling, and Assessments of Sincerity in International Affairs.” International Studies Quarterly 56. p.564–567. 13. Harold Macmillan. 1971. Riding the Storm, 1956-1959. Macmillan. p. 611. 14. Dwight D. Eisenhower. 1963. Mandate for Change, 1953-1956. Doubleday & Co. p. 558. 15. See also Alisher Faizullaev’s argument on the need to “pay full attention to your opponent” in the February 2015 issue of Border Crossing. 16. François de Callières. [1716]1963. On the Manner of Negotiating with Princes. University of Notre Dame Press. p. 19. 17. Ernest Mason Satow. 1932. A Guide to Diplomatic Practice. Longman. p. 122. 18. James A. Baker III. 1995. The Politics of Diplomacy. Putnam. p. 460. 19. Madeline Albright. 2003. Madam Secretary. Miramax Books. p. 252. 20. Ibid. p. 493. 21. Interview in The Most (episode no. 9), History Channel. First aired on December 8, 2000.

July 2015


SOFT POWER REVIEW Eric Wilkinson is a student of Philosophy and Political Science at the University of Ottawa. His research interests pertain to philosophical ethics, particularly metaethics. He has lectured on metaethics, moral psychology, Canadian peacekeeping, and peacekeeping ethics, among other topics, at conferences throughout Canada.



ver ten years after the initial publication of Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, the book remains a critical, if controversial, examination of the forms of power at play in the international sphere. Written by Joseph Nye of Havard University in 2004, Soft Power reminds readers that over-reliance on military or economic instruments of policy in a coercive way can often trigger backlashes that damage relations in the long term. Nye argues that instead of coercing others into sharing national objectives or buying agreements with economic incentives, it is better for a country (namely, the United States) to achieve its policy goals because others share those goals. Much of the book is devoted to descriptions of the sources of soft power in the United States and other countries, including the nation’s values and the styles of individual behaviour expressed in the dominant culture and transmitted through both commercial activities (e.g. Hollywood movies) as well as personal contacts, as well as the nation’s policies, particularly when they reflect values shared around the world. Thus, Nye argues, the United States won the Cold War in part because of the attractiveness of the American form of government and economy, and because American values, or American soft power, eventually came to dominate global perceptions of the two superpowers and induced others to want to share in the


Border Crossing

American vision of the world.

Criticisms of Soft Power In the intervening ten years, questions have been raised both about Nye’s interpretation of history and the possibility of utilizing soft power in any practical sense. In an Op-Ed published by Nye himself in New Straits Times in 2006, he attributes the fall of the Soviet Union to economic collapse and a decline of soft power. The actual importance of soft power to this decline is unclear however. Although the economic elements of the Soviet collapse are evident, the importance given to “the «soft» power of liberal ideas, whose spread was aided by the growth of transnational communications and contacts, while the demonstration effect of Western economic success gave them additional appeal” is more tenuous. The elements apart from soft power Nye himself outlines—that is, economic collapse and the timing of Gorbachev’s perestroika—appear sufficient to explain the Soviet Union’s collapse without mention of soft power in the role Nye attributes it. There is also cause to be skeptical of the claim that the “attractiveness” of American values helped America “win” the Cold War. Studies of the attitudes of other countries towards the United States do not seem to support this conclusion. For instance, Hong Ki Won’s study of South Korean attitudes towards the United States may be taken as an example. The 2005 study noted that while South Koreans think relations with

America are more important than those with other countries, anti-Americanism is stronger among South Koreans than cynicism regarding other countries in the world. Although this study does not concern the period of time relevant to Nye’s Cold War analysis, the preponderance of studies identifying anti-American sentiment in countries that nonetheless view the United States as an important international partner indicates that the potential of American soft power is limited at this time. Aside from Nye’s interpretation of history in Soft Power, broader questions raised in the wake of his book concerned the actual possibility of making use of soft power. An early reviewer of Soft Power, Barry Blechman, complained that “a nation’s ‘attractiveness’ is not a factor that can be exploited in any coherent way.” The core of Blechman’s critique consists in how “Even if the United States spent a more reasonable amount on its public diplomacy than it does now … its diplomacy would still be dwarfed by the private sources of information in the United States and abroad.” This critique seems to reject public diplomacy as a useful enterprise by suggesting that the enormity of information available in the world today and the variety of sources makes impossible efforts to direct public perceptions of country. The conceit of this argument, that the amount of information and sources of information about a country are beyond anyone’s control, is true, perhaps even more now than when Soft Power was published in 2004. Nonetheless, it does not follow that

public diplomacy cannot be utilized to effect perceptions of a country in an important way. The plurality of information and sources may plausibly permit the establishment of credibility. In a world where governments and private citizens are bombarded with more information from more places than they can process, establishing oneself as reliable confers on one a great deal of power. It is precisely this kind of power Nye is referring to when he remarks that credibility is one of today’s greatest fonts of power.

Soft Power in Hindsight Barry Blechman’s additional criticisms regarding implementation betray a lack of foresight that further illuminates the strength of Nye’s theory. Blechman claims that “the intractable problem is that necessary exercises of military or economic hard power often undermine a nation’s soft power.” This assertion itself is undoubtedly true, the contestable point lies in what is considered “necessary.” In Soft Power, Nye suggests that then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf would have been better able to assist the United States in its anti-terrorism objectives “If the United States were more attractive to the Pakistani populace” (p. 129). Blechman’s response to this suggestion is: “Of course, and if pigs had wings they could fly. So what!” The critique is twice deficient in that it makes no case for the given military action being necessary, and the denial that soft power could have any effect is made without argument. In hindsight, it does not seem as clear as it did to Barry Blechman in 2004 that the ‘hard power’ use of military might in American anti-terror efforts was the most effective tact possible. Certainly the presentation of such action as simply “necessary” is deficient in the absence of an argument. This simple dismissal of soft power as an effective approach towards terrorism, or less dramatically, crisis diplomacy, is symptomatic of responses to Nye’s book. This flies in the face of what actually seems more self-evident: that soft power is more effective in combating insurgencies through diplomacy. Louise Richardson’s assessment of the psychology of terrorism, What Terrorists Want, published only a few years after Soft Power, vindicates Nye’s application of soft power to the Pakistani case. Richardson concludes, after studying

the motivations of terrorists from the IRA to the Taliban, that terrorism is the articulation of real or imagined grievances by nonstate actors through the use of violence. The power of terrorist insurgencies rests in their ability to recruit from an adjacent civilian populace; when those opposing an insurgency use primarily hard power tactics, such as military force, any harm inflicted on the civilian population will spur recruitment into the insurgency. A soft power approach that addresses itself to the hearts and minds of the civilian population feeding into the insurgency therefore undermines the terrorists by removing their recruitment base and ability to field new forces. Furthermore, such an approach is apt to have greater long-term staying power than military campaigns focused on the use of hard power, which may see a regression of the situation after the inevitable military withdrawal. The intervening ten years have thus lent much credence to Joseph Nye’s concept of soft power and its importance to conflict diplomacy. The cynical perspective of soft power taken by proponents of hard power in 2004 has been humbled by American experiences in the Middle East since that time. The failure of hard power to create or ensure peace had renewed interest in alternatives that make use of soft power. Many operational success stories are also explicable in terms of the degree to which they employ soft power principles. For instance, Canadian success in military cooperation and development during the Afghan mission made significant use of soft power tactics. Aside from efforts to redirect foreign and defence policy in the last ten years, Canada has historically attempted to harness soft power. This approach has been influenced by both a desire to differentiate Canadian policy from American foreign policy, and recognition of Canadian military limitations. Although this is not the favoured approach of the current political regime in Canada, the military continues to make use of soft power tactics out of necessity as much as effectiveness, as it is too inadequately funded to fall back on hard power tactics. Whatever the cause, the use of Canadian credibility as diplomatic currency in foreign policy was prevalent during the Chretien-Martin era. The military employed a soft power approach during the Afghan mission to greater long-term success and less expense than many American hard power operations. This

analysis raises the question of whether America has sufficient international credibility to utilize soft power effectively, however even if the answer is that the United States lacks the necessary credibility at this time, the effectiveness of soft power should encourage efforts to cultivate it. The lessons of Soft Power for practitioners of diplomacy therefore hold firm today even with the benefit of hindsight. The cultivation of credibility should be at the forefront of any diplomat or negotiator’s mind, as the soft power of credibility is itself a necessary compliment to any use of hard power in negotiation, and can be employed alone as a means of persuasion. If the other party does not believe one will follow through on their promises or threats, in terms of economic sanctions or military action, gunboat diplomacy alone will not suffice. The cultivation of a country’s (or another organization, as soft power has been applied to international bodies, NGOs, and other bodies) values and culture so as to make it attractive to others will bring them to the bargaining table out of a desire to deal with those who are credible and reputable. Nye cautions against trying to put on the airs of success however; the best method of appearing to have good values and credibility is to actually be credible, and to deal fairly and generously with other parties. To attempt to appear to be credible and generous negotiator and partner will only tarnish one’s reputation once the opposite emerges as true. It goes without saying that trust is critical to diplomacy. There is no greater bargaining chip than to consistently demonstrate one’s sincerity and guilelessness.

References Blechman, Barry. (2004). “Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics by Joseph Nye.” Political Science Quarterly 119(4), 680-681. Nye, J. (2004). Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. New York, NY: Public Affairs. Nye, J. “Gorbachev and the End of the Cold War.” New Straits Times 5 April, 2006. Print. Richardson, Louise. (2007). What Terrorists Want. New York, NY: Penguin Random House. Print. Won, Hong Ki. (2007). “South Korean student’s attitudes towards Americans.” The Social Science Journal 42(2), 301-312.

July 2015


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