Border-Crossing Volume1 Issue 2

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Volume 1, Issue 2

The Literary voice: Shakespeare’s Diplomacy Timothy Hampton

A diplomat’s guide to disaster diplomacy Ilan Kelman

March 2015

March 2015


chief publisher Eugène Matos De lara

Letter from the editor Dear reader,


Benjamin Miller

Academic advisors Arne ruckert Dave Van Ginhoven

Associate publisher Amelia baxter

Associate editors Eric Wilkinson Mette Edurcan Guillaume lacombe-Kishibe

Lead designer

Pierre-Alexandre Lubin

Contact Us by email at: (submissions)

In person at: 19 rue legallois j8v2h3 gatineau, quebec, canada


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After our first issue’s diversity and depth, I am happy to promise the second issue will not disappoint. This month’s guiding theme is what has changed and what has always stayed the same in diplomacy. On the side of change, we have Dr. Corneliu Bjola and Jennifer Cassidy to walk you through the exciting new field of digital diplomacy. You will have the opportunity to learn about diplomatic practice on Twitter and how social media is used to influence foreign governments’ policy. Further to the spirit of Border Crossing’s interdisciplinary mandate, Ilan Kelman will introduce you to some of the initial findings in the emerging and compelling field of disaster diplomacy. On the side of permanence, we are delighted to draw some lessons from literature, as Professor Timothy Hampton takes a diplomatic look at Shakespeare’s Henry V. Shakespeare’s timeless lessons will no doubt remind you of the artfulness and humanity at the heart of diplomacy. And what could be more constant than the ground beneath our feet? We have the pleasure of Dr. Luis Ritto’s clear-cut explanation of the relevance of the field of geopolitics to diplomacy. We aim to bring together thought-provoking and engaging authors, because our ultimate goal is discussion. If you have thoughts on anything you read here or would like to respond to one of our authors, let us know! We’d love to hear from you. Happy reading! Benjamin Miller and the editorial team of Border Crossing

Contents 6-

Mediating Civil Wars: A New Dataset Karl DeRouen Jr.

10- GONE DIGITAL: Digital Diplomacy at the University of Oxford

COrneliu Bjola Jennifer cassidy

14- The Literary Voice: Shakespeare’s Diplomacy Timothy hampton 16- A Diplomat’s Guide to Disaster Diplomacy

Ilan kElman

20- Regional Diplomacy in the countries of Western Balkans

M. Hallunaj


Luis ritto

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Mediating Civil Wars: A New Dataset Karl DeRouen Jr. is Professor of Political Science and Director of the International Studies B.A program at The University of Alabama. His work focuses on civil war, conflict management and international political economy. His recently published books include Introduction to Civil Wars (2014, CQ Press), Routledge Handbook of Civil Wars (2014, Routledge, co-edited with Edward Newman) and Understanding Foreign Policy Decision Making (2010, Cambridge University Press; with Alex Mintz). His work has appeared in Journal of Politics, Journal of Peace Research, British Journal of Political Science, International Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Quarterly among others.

Karl DeRouen Jr.


ediation has become an ever more popular means of resolving civil wars. Third-party mediators attempt to resolve civil wars by sharing information among the disputants. This differs from bilateral talks, where the third party talks to one or both sides but does not share information between the two sides. Mediators can be a state or group of states, IGOs (such as the UN), private individuals (such as former President Jimmy Carter), or entities such as religious NGOs. Mediators afford disputants avenues to exchange information, identify common ground, and communicate (even if only indirectly) out of the public spotlight. Too much public scrutiny can cause problems if one side is vulnerable to criticism for ceding too much in an eventual agreement. In other words, conflict management can bring with it political costs and be subject to distractions. Sometimes, it is best for parties involved in a conflict management process to get away from the


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public eye in order to concentrate on reaching a path to peace. Regan, Frank and Aydin write that third parties can convey prospects for victory, the benefits and costs that will result should a settlement be reached, and/or the respective subjective estimates held by each side. When successful, mediation can shorten the duration of civil wars and/or avoid a bloody military outcome. Mediation ranges from communicative roles in which mediators are simply conduits of information between the disputants to more coercive or directive roles in which the mediator uses threats or inducements. Between these two is the facilitative strategy in which the mediator has control of the process and meeting logistics. Civil war mediation may take place in the country experiencing civil war or in a neutral location. The Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, for example, were initially mediated in secrecy in Norway. Current talks aimed at settling the long-running civil war between the government of Colombia and the

FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels are being mediated in Cuba.

The Civil War Mediation Dataset Bercovitch and I developed and I am in the process of updating the Civil War Mediation (CWM) dataset. Currently the CWM dataset is available for the years 1946-2010. There are approximately 483 cases of civil war mediation identified in the current version of the dataset, which includes a few cases after 2010. The plan is to update, revise and fact-check the dataset for the next few years and longer if future funding is available. The data are created using the following methods. First, we gather the civil war cases using the Uppsala University Data Program Conflict Termination Dataset assembled by Kreutz and others. These data define civil wars as armed violence between a government and an armed rebel group with a specific government or territorial goal (e.g., a drug gang fighting the government would not be considered a civil war). The conflict must result in at least 25 battle-related

deaths per year. The Termination dataset is coded by dyad and thus can capture more than one ongoing civil war in a country. Next, mediation events are identified using online public databases such as Keesing’s World News Archive, LexisNexis, The Times (London), and Proquest Historical Papers. Mediation events are then combined with the wars. In the first empirical analysis using the CWM data my colleagues Bercovitch and Pospieszna and I explored the determinants of mediation. We found the following: (1) Civil war duration is positively associated with the probability of mediation Longer wars are more intractable and often deadlier and costlier (e.g., death, disease, displacement, economic downturn) and therefore more likely to draw mediation. When wars are not particularly intense costs to continuing fighting are relatively low and there is less incentive to seek a negotiated settlement.

(2) Battle-related deaths increase the probability of mediation As expected, mediation is likelier in bloodier conflicts. Again, if costs to fighting are high combatants sides may accept mediation. (3) The number of democracies in the world and the global polity average These can be considered supply-side factors. The more democratic the world is the greater the number of potential mediators. Non-democratic states do sometimes mediate (e.g., Libya and Cuba), but it is not surprising the probability of mediation is a function of the number of countries with participatory and peaceful norms of behavior. The U.S., for example, is a frequent mediator. (4) Subsequent wars between the same disputants are less likely to be mediated Though there is evidence to the contrary, the authors expected subsequent wars to be less likely mediated. Perhaps this is because mediators are reluctant to get involved in a war that has proven intractable.

(5) Territorial and internationalized wars are more likely to be mediated Territorial (e.g., secessionist) civil wars tend be longer and more intractable. Thus, they have shorter peace spells. These wars are attractive targets for mediation. Some might consider internationalized wars (a third party from another country is involved in the fighting) unlikely candidates for mediation because intervention improves the chances of victory for one side. This side may not want mediation preferring instead to fight on for a military victory. On the other hand third-party military involvement is emblematic of a complicated and bloody conflict that would draw in mediation. Thus it becomes an empirical question and in this case internationalization has the latter effect.

Conclusion This brief article has presented only a quick overview. The CWM dataset discussed here provides a useful tool

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for furthering our understanding civil war mediation. The time is certainly ripe for this endeavor, as the world experiences bloody internationalized conflicts and civil war continues to be the dominant form of armed violence. A quick list of practical implications includes: (1) There is a rise in the relevance of civil war mediation so it behooves the research and policy communities to understand what works and what does not. (2) The mediation community needs to identify means to engage recurring conflicts. There is some evidence these wars are less likely to be mediated. (3) Mediators and academics need to communicate. There should not be a divide between the two as each side has much to offer the other. Academics can benefit from real world experience and mediators can gain from empirical research. The dataset discussed here is a positive step in the direction of such collaboration.


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References DeRouen, Karl, and Jacob Bercovitch. 2005. “Managing Ethnic Civil Wars: Assessing the Determinants of Successful Mediation.” Civil Wars 7(1): 98-116 DeRouen, Karl, Jacob Bercovitch, and Paulina Pospieszna. 2011. “Introducing the Civil Wars Mediation (CWM) Dataset.” Journal of Peace Research 48(5): 663–672. DeRouen, Karl. 2015. An Introduction to Civil Wars. Los Angeles, CA: CQ Press. Fearon, James. 2004. “Why Do some Civil Wars Last So Much Longer than Others?” Journal of Peace Research 41(3): 275-301. Kreutz, Joakim. 2010. “How and When Armed Conflicts End: Introducing the UCDP Conflict Termination Dataset.» Journal of Peace Research 47(2): 243-250. Regan, Patrick, Richard Frank and Aysegul and Aydin. 2009. “Diplomatic Interventions and Civil War: A New Dataset.” Journal of Peace Research 46(1): 135–146.

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GONE DIGITAL: Digital Diplomacy at the University of Oxford Dr. Corneliu Bjola ( is Associate Professor of Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford. He is the author of various academic articles on diplomacy and international negotiations as well as of three books, including the most recent on Digital Diplomacy: Theory and Practice (Routledge, 2015). He is currently working on a new co-edited volume on “Secret Diplomacy in the Age of Global Disclosures”, which seeks to describe and explain the objectives, methods, agency and ethics of secret diplomacy in the current global political context. Jennifer Cassidy ( is a Doctoral Student at the Department of International Development. Before coming to Oxford, Jennifer served Ireland’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations (New York), Ireland’s Central Foreign Ministry during Ireland’s 2013 Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and the European External Action Service to the Kingdom of Cambodia. At the Department, her research centres on Digital Diplomacy, in particular how social media is being used by diplomatic agents during times of crises. She is also producing an edited volume on Gender and Diplomacy, looking at the historic, and present role of women within the diplomatic sphere.

COrneliu Bjola Jennifer cassidy


fter Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhni held the first direct talks between American and Iranian leaders since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the world was first informed not through a press report, broadsheet, or 24 hour news channel, but through the information medium of the 21st century; social media. Minutes after the phone call President Hassan Rouhani took to Twitter and sent a series of tweets that hinted at a remarkably swift rapprochement between the two countries. Amongst other tweets he wrote, ‘In phone convo, President #Rouhani and President @BarackObama expressed their mutual political #will to rapidly solve the #nuclear issue’. Welcome to the new world of digital diplomacy, a world quickly dominating the conversation and the practice of 21st century diplomacy. Although lacking a concrete and universally agreed upon definition from both academics and practitioners alike, in its broadest


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form, it refers to the use of the Internet and new information communication technologies (e.g. social media) to help achieve diplomatic objectives. A large proportion of this online activity resides in the field of public diplomacy, but is increasingly being viewed by Ministries as an easy and cheap tool for responding to disasters, gathering information and managing relationships. Coupled with its use to achieve diplomatic objectives, it is also changing how we as academics, practitioners, and citizens, view the diplomatic game. Gone is the image of the diplomat as a person of secrecy, luxury, exclusivity, and privilege – an image captured by the famous painting The Ambassadors, created by Hans Holbein the Younger in 1533, at the dawn of contemporary diplomacy. This page has been refreshed, with digital communication technology altering not only the methods of diplomacy but also its very meaning. It seems by going “digital,” the once secretive and exclusive domain of the elite has also gone public, requiring the diplomat to regularly look outside their once closed doors, and perhaps

more importantly, for the first time, allowing citizens to look in. This openness is without question one of the defining features of 21st century diplomacy, sculpting and changing nearly every facet of diplomatic practice, as we know it. Here at the University of Oxford, we recognise the power of digital diplomacy and through a number of exciting projects are working to reflect on, analyse, and contribute to this increasingly important field. In his recent co-edited volume on Digital Diplomacy: Theory and Practice (Routledge, 2015), Professor Corneliu Bjola calls attention to how social media is changing practices of how diplomats engage in information management, public diplomacy, strategic planning, international negotiations and even crisis management. For example, in comparison with more conventional means of communication, social media presents three key advantages for conducting public diplomacy: it offers an effective instrument for delivering information; it makes it possible for the intended message to reach deep into the target audience; and it enables a two-way

conversation between diplomats and foreign publics. In a joint chapter written with one of his students, Lu Jiang, Professor Bjola analyzes the diplomatic strategies of the EU Delegation and the U.S. and Japan’s embassies in China. This study reveals that digital diplomacy is being primarily used as an instrument of information dissemination rather than engaging the audience in a two-way dialogue. To be sure, certain interactive features of social media are still present, such as the feedback mechanism (e.g. the audience’s comments and reposts), which enables embassies to learn about the opinions of their audience and readjust their tactics and strategies accordingly. The nature of the bilateral relationship between countries also influences how social media is used for diplomatic purposes. The more estranged the relationship between the two parties, the more cautious the digital diplomatic strategy, and the less controversial the message. This study makes two important contributions to the emerging field of digital diplomacy. Theoretically, it develops an original conceptual framework and

methodology for assessing the effectiveness of digital diplomacy, both from the perspective of the diplomats and of their audience. Empirically, it fills a gap in the existing literature concerning the use of social media in publicdiplomacy under conditions of digital restrictions. Jennifer Cassidy, a Doctoral Student at the Department of International Development working under the supervision of Professor Bjola, is writing her thesis on Digital Diplomatic Interference during time of political crises. Digital Diplomatic Interference, a term coined by Jennifer, refers to an act that is carried out through a digital medium, by state officials or entities of one state, designed to influence the policy and internal developments of another, and is perceived by the receiving state to be so. Using recent political crises as framework for discovery and analysis, Jennifer’s work concentrates on these new and increasing acts, seeking to discover not only how and how often these acts are used, but also how they are being received by diplomatic actors on the ground and online. In addressing this novel theme, the primary aim of this research is to

construct a unique conceptual and methodical framework for the understanding of the act of Digital Diplomatic Interference. This framework will be useful to both academic and practitioners alike; since, despite the rapid rise and increasing impact that social media is having on the diplomacy, the normative and legal frameworks surrounding its use, particularly in the realm of diplomatic interference, continues to be disputed. Within the construction of the unique conceptual and methodical framework, the theme of Network Power deserves perhaps its own elaboration. Network power – which may be described as the influence and power that a network of social interactions and personal relationships possesses - has always played a substantial role in diplomacy and its practice, but social media has blown this power out of the water; expanding not only its reach, but its potential for impact at an unprecedented rate. Collective representations – historically in the form of statements of support or joint démarches –offer advantages which comments by an individual diplomat lack. For one, they redress

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the balance of power between the diplomatic agent and their host, which in bilateral diplomatic relations tends to be skewed in favour of the receiving State. The lone diplomat is an embarrassment; a group of embassies is a force, which the receiving State ignores at its own peril. Jennifer’s research is revealing that when it comes to commenting on or discussing political crises, diplomatic agents are seen to be operating very strictly within these online social networks, preferring to retweet or share comments from a limited number of diplomatic agents, i.e. other ambassadors accredited to the receiving state in question, or a foreign minister commenting on the crises. This new trend is an extremely interesting area for further exploration and will provide this research with a unique angle on how social media is changing and sculpting diplomatic practice during times of political crisis. In the field of diplomatic practice, we continuously seek to maintain and create strong relationships with diplomatic practitioners working in the field to ensure our work gets to those who practice the diplomatic craft. Therefore, if you work in the realm of digital diplomacy, within central foreign ministries, or would like to get involved in this discussion, we would love to hear from you. We have a number of exciting events coming up including the book launch of Prof. Bjola’ volume on Digital Diplomacy and a series of guest talks on the same topic. We are also seeking input for organising a series of workshops on digital diplomacy (DiploHubs), which aim to bring together diplomatic scholars, practitioners, NGOs, and digital startups to tackle issues of


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practical relevance for diplomatic work. So if you feel would like to contribute in any way, please do not hesitate to get in contact.

REFERENCES 1 Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, tr. Steven Lattimore (Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett, 1998), p. 298. 2 J. A. Hobson, Imperialism: A Study (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1965 [1902]), pp. 53-4. 3 Benjamin O. Fordham, “Who wants to be a major power? Explaining the expansion of foreign policy ambition,” Journal of Peace Research, vol. 48, no. 5, pp. 587-603.

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Mastermind China’s The Literary Voice: Merging Shakespeare’s Energy DiplomacyDiplomacy Timothy Hampton is Aldo Scaglione and Marie M. Burns Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley, where he also chairs the French Department. A former Guggenheim and NEH fellow, he writes widely on Renaissance literature and culture and is the author, most recently, of Fictions of Embassy: Literature and Diplomacy in Early Modern Europe (Cornell University Press, 2010). He is currently a fellow at the Institut d’Études Avancées in Paris, working on two projects: a study of diplomacy and linguistic diversity, and a history of cheerfulness.

Timothy Hampton Negotiation with a Kiss


ne of William Shakespeare’s greatest historical plays, Henry V, ends with a diplomatic reconciliation. The English army has defeated the French at the Battle of Agincourt. They have been led by Henry of Lancaster, whom Shakespeare’s readers know (from Henry IV) as the Prince Hal, who squanders his days in taverns, among drunkards and women of questionable virtue. Now, however, Hal has grown up, and after driving the French from the field he and his ministers set out to establish a workable peace. To seal the treaty, the French Princess Catherine will be betrothed to the victorious English king. As the final scene opens, the French royalty and English ministers retire to the wings to work out the details of the deal. Henry and Catherine (now called Kate by her husband-to-be) remain on stage, accompanied by Kate’s lady in waiting, Alice.Henry’s wooing of Catherine is one of Shakespeare’s most beautifully modulated scenes of dialogue—


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perhaps greater than the meeting of Romeo and Juliet. Henry begins by claiming to be nothing but a rough soldier and asks Catherine to teach him to speak to a lady. She professes incomprehension: “I cannot speak your England,” she says in a grammatically flawed but symbolically important phrase. For the question is precisely how the newly “English” but francophone queen will learn to “speak your England” and be rebranded as English for a newly stable political alliance. With characteristic linguistic wizardry Shakespeare plays on all the ambiguities of an interlingual exchange. “Do you like me, Kate?” he asks. “I cannot tell vat is ‘like me,’” she answers. “An angel is like you,” he responds. “Que dit-il?—que je suis semblable à les anges?” she wonders incredulously to her maid—suggesting both that she knows some English already and that she knows very well what lusty men say to beautiful women.

Banishing the Parents Shakespeare sees deeply into the mechanisms of negotiation. By banishing the ministers (and the parents of the fiancée) to the next room, he suggests that there is a deep bond

between seduction and negotiation. The real-life Treaty of Troyes took months to hammer out. Yet here the wooing of the new queen and the working out of the peace treaty happen simultaneously. One is on stage and the other is off stage. The hard negotiation is moved to the wings. The idea that links the two processes is the medieval metaphor that depicts chaste women as fortresses. To conquer Kate is to conquer what Henry calls “the maiden cities” of France. The focus on wooing increases the entertainment value for viewers (with the possible exception of any diplomats in the crowd!) by sparing us the details of treaty making. However it also moves the action of the play to a level of intimacy that gives the exchange a universal power. This is how policy is really made, Shakespeare seems to tell his spectators--at the micro-level. And reconciliation involves mutual education. Henry reminds Kate that he is a rough-hewn soldier and a plain-speaking Englishman. She must “teach” him how to speak to her courtly, polished French ears. She, for her part, must learn to see that his protestations of love are not the blandishments of some slick French courtier, but a true promise of fidelity.

A Common Language In an earlier scene, we saw Alice try to teach Kate some English, and the exchange between languages generated comic relief; English words, mispronounced, resulted in filthy puns. When Alice reveals that “pied” and “robe” are, “De foot, madame, et de cown,” Catherine understands, “foutre” and “con.” “O Seigneur Dieu! Ils sont les mots de son mauvais!” she exclaims. In the scene with Henry, however, the sexual vocabulary takes on a new weight. It becomes intertwined with the language of national identity. By unwinding the dual process of negotiation/seduction through a series of linguistic confusions, Shakespeare reminds us that negotiation necessarily takes place in a space “between” defined and fixed languages. “Thy speaking my tongue, and I thine, most truly-falsely, must needs be granted to be much at one,” says Henry in acknowledgement that though neither of them is completely at ease (“most truly-falsely”), together they can still become a couple. Indeed, much of the charm of the scene comes from the fact that both characters are slightly off balance. Henry knows himself to be a rudemannered Englishman dealing with a lady accustomed to elegant manners. He counters by stressing that, precisely because he is a soldier, he is sincere and honest. As for Catherine, each time Henry seems to slip into glibness in English, she brings him to heel by saying, somewhat mysteriously, “I cannot tell.” She is both a prudent maid, wary of men’s compliments, and, in the bargain, a canny representative of her nation. It is precisely because she is able to keep her suitor off his balance that he is forced, in the end, to stress his devotion to her in the plainest English: “by mine honour, in true English. I love thee, Kate.”

A Conversation of Nations There is a symbolic geography to this exchange as well. Kate explains to Henry that she cannot give him a kiss, because such is not the custom in France. He scoffs at that idea, noting that royalty sets the customs: “We are the makers of manners.” By lifting the moment of the kiss above the difference in national customs— by making it the business of some international royal class—Henry is able to sketch out a neutral ground on which an accord can be reached. Upon receiving her kiss at last he exclaims, “You have witchcraft in your lips, Kate. There is more eloquence in a sugar touch of them than in the tongues of the French council.” So much for diplomatic rhetoric. A kiss is more powerful. At this point the “French council” conveniently re-enters the room, announces that a treaty has been reached, and the scene ends.There is, of course, contemporary relevance to all of this give and take. For a number of years Shakespeare’s own queen, Elizabeth I, had been woo’d unsuccessfully by the French Duc d’Anjou, with whom she nevertheless developed a close friendship. Franco-English relations were both personally close and politically problematic, as France was plunged into a religious war that Elizabeth was trying to help manage from afar while shoring up her own authority. In Shakespeare’s own day the modern national vernaculars were still very much in flux, and the languages of diplomacy were conventionally either Latin or Italian. In this, his most “patriotic” history play, Shakespeare offers us a diplomatic negotiation across the English Channel (or, perhaps we should say, “La Manche”), in which two major international powers are in dialogue, and reconciliation can only come through emotional bond and

linguistic adaptation. Yet this very detail is prescient. For already Shakespeare seems to be glimpsing the emerging form of Europe as a family of sovereign nations no longer bundled under the Latinate fiction of the brotherly Holy Roman Empire, but standing in clear recognition of each other as both rivals and potential partners. Henry V offers only one instance of many in Shakespeare’s works in which diplomacy is depicted. Yet beyond its historical interest the scene is striking for its nuanced depiction of how negotiation works. Shakespeare inherited a literary tradition of historical tragedy that staged the “great deeds” of kings and generals, often through clumsy plots filled with sword fights and political oratory. Here, by contrast, he takes us into the very fabric of negotiation. He moves beyond the historical background of “marriage diplomacy” to offer an exploration of what makes negotiation effective. By stressing the relationship between amorous courtship and political reconciliation he reminds us that, from the Renaissance to our day, the best negotiations are often carried out in the spirit of friendly banter. The best political reconciliations are shaped by personal charm, by play, and and by affective connections between the actors. Against our own background of public “spin” and media-driven violations of diplomatic protocol, Shakespeare reminds us that negotiation and seduction may be two sides of the same coin. Can we negotiate without seducing? Can we seduce without negotiation? More important, can we ever reach an accord without leaving our comfort zone and speaking, if only imperfectly, for a moment, the language of the Other?

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A Diplomat’s Guide to Disaster Diplomacy IlanKelman is a Reader in Risk, Resilience and Global Health at University College London, England and a Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo. His overall research interest is linking disasters and health, including the integration of climate change into disaster research and health research. That covers three main areas: - Disaster diplomacy and health diplomacy - Island sustainability involving safe and healthy communities in isolated locations - Risk education for health and disasters

Ilan Kelman


isasters place diplomats in the spotlight. In the face of body counts, rescues, and rapidly changing information, diplomats must support their own citizens caught up in crises while being sympathetic to the people suffering. That is not easy in the best of times. As the toll from the 26 December 2004 tsunamis mounted in the days after, politicians in the US, the UK, and Scandinavia, amongst others including the UN Secretary General, were lambasted for their lackadaisical response. While some leaders chose to remain on holiday, many diplomats on the ground were left to fend for themselves in caring for their citizens and helping the countries in need. What if the diplomat serves in an unfriendly country? Should we hope that the humanitarian imperative would supersede enmity, that hostilities would be set aside to assist disaster-stricken people? Research into “disaster diplomacy” shows us that the answers to these questions are not


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so simple.

Disaster diplomacy Disaster diplomacy investigates how and why disaster-related activities do and do not influence conflict and cooperation. ‘Disaster-related activities’ refers to (i) pre-disaster efforts including prevention, preparedness, planning, and damage mitigation, as well as (ii) post-disaster actions including response, reconstruction, and recovery. Disaster diplomacy case studies are not just about what happens when a volcano erupts in a war zone or when enemies consider sending and accepting humanitarian aid. They also examine the situation before disaster manifests, such as how a flood or tsunami warning system could potentially bring together communities or generate lasting ceasefires. Dozens of disaster diplomacy case studies reveal that disaster-related activities do not create new initiatives in achieving peace or reducing conflict. A diplomatic process with pre-existing conditions,

though, can be catalysed or supported. If that catalysis occurs, then the disaster-related activities may influence diplomacy in the short-term but not in the long-term. In the short-term over weeks and months, all forms of disaster-related activities have the potential to affect diplomacy. This can include spurring it on or by providing a space in which peace efforts can be pursued. For that to occur, a pre-existing basis must exist for the reconciliation. Examples include ongoing negotiations, formal or informal cultural connections, and trade links. Even over the short-term, disaster diplomacy is not necessarily successful since disaster-related activities can sometimes foment conflict and reduce diplomatic opportunities. Additionally, dealing with disaster might have no impact at all on peace and conflict. Irrespective of what happens over the short-term, over longer time periods non-disaster factors have a more significant impact on diplomacy than disaster-related activities. Examples of non-disaster factors are leadership

changes, mutual distrust, belief that a historical grievance should supersede current humanitarian considerations, or a desire for conflict due to the advantages gained from it. In summary, diplomats must navigate disasters and political conflict simultaneously, even if the former does not always mitigate the latter.

Examples Disaster diplomacy case studies can be divided along three main lines: geography, disaster type, and transboundary longer-term disaster topics. First, a specific geographic location. This category includes such cases as ceasefires by armed groups and the military in the Philippines following volcanic eruptions and typhoons. No case in this category has ever led to lasting conflict resolution. Second, a specific disaster type or incidence. This category includes, for example, tsunami diplomacy. These cases showed much potential in many countries following the December 26th, 2004 tsunamis, most notably

in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. In Aceh, Indonesia, the successful post-tsunami peace deal had pre-tsunami origins and was not created solely by the calamity. In Sri Lanka, the tsunami and humanitarian aid were used as excuses by many parties to perpetuate the conflict, which eventually ended through military means. Other conflicts in tsunami-hit locations, such as Somalia, were not affected extensively.

Cuba’s refusal to accept American aid during the 1998 drought and the USA’s refusal to accept Cuba’s, Venezuela’s, and Iran’s offers of aid following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Gaining and retaining political power can supersede peace, demonstrated by Ethiopia’s and Eritrea’s intransigence to link drought relief to conflict resolution from 1998-2000.

Third, longer-term transboundary disaster-related topics. This category includes dealing with epidemics through health diplomacy. Efforts to eradicate diseases globally (such as smallpox and polio), to use health interventions to bring people together, to monitor and control transboundary diseases (such as SARS), and to enact vaccination campaigns in war zones (including Afghanistan, Liberia, and Sudan) have all been used for conflict reduction efforts. Effectiveness beyond the specific health topic has always been limited.

Such examples as are explored above emerge from national governments, but diplomacy is not only conducted by politicians and diplomats. Cuban and American weather and climate scientists have a long history of collaborating over hurricane monitoring and tracking even while Fidel Castro led Cuba. The media and vociferous grassroots expectations fuelled earthquake diplomacy between Greece and Turkey in 1999 after each country experienced disaster within a month. This push from below nearly derailed the careful, measured approaches towards rapprochement which the elites in each country had been following before the disasters.

Perceived historic wrongs and domestic politics can outweigh accepting assistance, as shown by

Despite the wide variety of disasters, conflict circumstances, and parties involved in diplomacy, the main conclu-

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sion holds. Disaster-related activities sometimes catalyse diplomacy in the short-term, but never in the long-term. Ultimately, disaster-related activities are not always a high political priority as greater importance is assigned to other diplomatic interests.

sometimes choose long-term diplomatic goals.

The Risks of Advising Disaster Diplomacy

In spite of the disaster diplomacy case studies and conclusions explored above, hope remains. The complex web of interactions involving all disaster and diplomacy activities means that disaster diplomacy outcomes are not always predictable or simple.

In light of this complexity and the potential for unintended consequences what should a diplomat advise? One major risk is that a leader, upon being informed about how to implement disaster diplomacy, could decide that linking disaster-related activities and conflict resolution is not wanted and, consequently, disaster-related activities should be stopped altogether. This is a distinct possibility, since public attempts at reconciliation that are rebuffed by the other side can become a political embarrassment.

Disaster diplomacy is best viewed as a long-running process with multiple parties interacting on many levels, rather than as a snapshot of immediate success or failure. Disaster-related activities are an influence on all forms of diplomacy— sometimes providing opportunities for peace, sometimes supporting conflict, and sometimes being neutral—but are ultimately just one of numerous factors interacting with diplomacy.

On the other side of the spectrum, disaster diplomacy may be accepted with too high expectations. An overarching challenge to disaster diplomacy is that it might be attractive because it appears to be a quick fix for solving conflict. It is naïve to expect that decades or centuries of differences could be overcome overnight, simply because a tornado destroyed a town or a multinational building code was promulgated.

Although a leader’s choice of actions can change the outcome—and those actions might extend far into the past and be relevant far into the future--it is important to remember that disaster diplomacy is not just about politicians and formal processes. Civil servants, the media, business leaders, movie and sports stars, and grassroots movements, amongst others, sometimes support diplomacy as well as inhibit it, and can sometimes have a limited influence. These actors can

In contrast, a truism is that successfully dealing with both disaster and diplomacy are long-term processes, requiring thoughtful, careful steps. At least, in theory. In practice, however, diplomacy and disaster-related activities are too often engaged in reactively, with limited planning meaning that a disaster diplomacy case study might potentially succeed through luck as much as anything else.

A Complex Web of Actors and Choices


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In the end, although no successful examples of new diplomacy based only on disaster-related activities have yet to be identified, options remain for one to emerge. Many historical archives have not been explored while future disaster-related activities could generate new forms of conflict resolution. Until that happens or is actively sought, diplomats should be aware that disaster diplomacy has as many pitfalls as advantages and they should proceed with caution.

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Regional Diplomacy in the countries of Western Balkans Mirsada Hallunaj (Albania) is a political scientist. She has completed a number of international trainings in the field of international relations from the world’s leading universities and institutions, including Harvard University, Duke University, and the United Nations. She has completed a number of publications in her area of specialization and her interests include Foreign Affairs, Public Policies, International Law, Political Science, Diplomacy and International Development.

Mirsada Hallunaj The importance of neighborhood cooperation for mutual economical and political benefits


or the purposes of this article, the term regional diplomacy means a comprehensive relationship, which includes the cooperation of states in many areas of interest. Although Western Balkans already shares common historic, economic and political perspectives, regional diplomacy can play an important part in further strengthening and developing cooperation in these areas. Western Balkan states already have some sector agreements with some limited benefits, but much more has to be done to advance the regional diplomacy process. Such work is particularly important in light of upcoming challenges emerging from the requirements of the EU integration process. Economic Cooperation is an important aspect of Western Balkan


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regional diplomacy, because the region is experiencing the worst economical situation. Western Balkans states have the highest youth unemployment rates in the world,1income growth have been very low, the general unemployment rate exceed 30%, demand is depressed and access to credit is low, especially in the SME sector. Despite the fact that some important agreements and initiatives have been established between the governments of all Western Balkan countries, they must consider the need to improve their fiscal positions, control public debts, and strengthen the banking systems. At the same time, their cooperation should address challenges related to the improvement of productivity and competitiveness, including the areas of the investment climate, the labour market, and the public sector, which require special attention. In this context, the implementation of the South East Europe (SEE) Strategy2 of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) will improve living conditions in the region and bring competitiveness and development back in focus, closely following the vision of the EU strategy Europe 2020. The priorities set out therein will engage Western Balkans countries in working together

to find common solutions regarding their economic development. As mentioned above, unemployment remains very problematic for all Western Balkan countries. It will be very important that the cooperation in the future be focused on creating better labour market governance, initiatives in the social economy and an increased labour mobility. By strengthening cooperation and integration among countries, joint efforts willpromote the employment and labour efficiencies in each country. The focus of regional the economy and household cooperation on employment should be issues related with skills, labour administration capacity, matching skills and jobs and promoting the employment of disadvantaged groups. In particular,developing the social economy is seen as an important avenue for job creation through setting up legal frameworks, policies, strategies and actions, focusing especially on incentives that would give social economy initiatives a greater chance of succeeding. Regarding the cooperation of Western Balkans in the areas of trade and

investment, some steps are clearly being identified. The Additional Protocol 3 to CEFTA was signed between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Albania,3 trade in agricultural goods and contributing to the creation of a free regional agricultural market. Following this agreement, all countries must work together to facilitate trade, reduce unnecessary technical barriers and negotiate further liberalization of trade in services. Energy and infrastructure are necessary fields of cooperation between Western Balkanstates. Investment in infrastructure is fundamental for all countries of the region. The Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF)4 EU accession across the Western Balkans through the provision of finance and technical assistance for strategic investments, particularly in infrastructure, energy efficiency and private sector development. It is a joint initiative of the EU, International Financial institutions, bilateral donors and the governments of the Western Balkans.5the cooperation in the energy sector between Western Balkan states is very important for the

green economy as one of the main requirements for EU accession. The areas of Education and Innovation are two important initiatives, which will requiredeep the cooperation and participation from all Western Balkan countries. Firstly, the Education Reform Initiative for South East Europe (ERISE)6 reforms through regional cooperation. Secondly, Western Balkans Research and Innovation Strategy Exercise (WISE) will be very important for the facilitation of the implementation of an R&D Strategy. Western Balkan countries have to deepen their cooperation in other aspects of the education and innovation sectors like technology, quality of education, training programs. The Rule of Law and the fight against organized crime are fundamental for all Western Balkan countries and for their EU integration processes. Despite the fact that cooperation thereby fully liberalizing supports socio-economic development and. At the same time, it has to be noted that will support sustainable education between countries in issues of organized crime has been identified as

a priority, it remains a serious concern in many Western Balkan countries as regions of origin. Efforts are needed to ensure: that all countries of the region will focus on fighting all forms of trafficking and organized crime, particularly of human beings, drugs and arms; and ensure prosecution and court rulings in cases at all levels, including high level corruption, financial investigation, including asset recovery, as well as smuggling of goods. Strengthening the operational cooperation for police and prosecution is considered a key priority for all countries of the region. Regarding the Security Cooperation, an overall stability has been reached despitethe fact that only Albania and Croatia are part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and only four countries of the region are participating in the Partnership for Peace (PfP). Currently, only Croatia is a member of the EU, which plays its own role through its security structures and through the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) activities. In this context, it is very important to highlight the fact that, in the future, the membership of other Western Balkans Countries in NATO

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and the following EU integration will create new opportunities and responsibilities at the same time for the strengthening of regional diplomacy. For all Western Balkan countries it is fundamental to enhance regional dialogue and cooperation mechanisms on security and defence issues, and develop a regional approach to disaster risk reduction. The Western Balkans must be concentrated on developing, facilitating and supporting regional mechanisms with high impact on regional confidence building. In the area of security cooperation these mechanisms will serve to facilitate the exchange information and security experiences between countries.

Regional diplomacy and cooperation in other relevant areas Regional diplomacy in the Western Balkans will definitely help states improve their cooperation and achieve the desired results in important areas. In addition to the above mentioned sectors the Western Balkans should deepen their cooperation and agreements in other important issues. Health is a very important topic in which Western Balkan countries must coordinate their interest and needs to harmonize cross-border public health services, improving the inter-sector governance for health, strengthening the delivery of universal and highquality health products by promoting services and strengthening human resources in the health sector. The Environment still represents a problematic sector in which the cooperation of Western Balkans is not sufficient. It is necessary that all countries pay greater attention to environmental and climate issues and work on


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mutual policies, legislative alignments, institutional reforms, investments in these priority areas and especially raising awareness on climate issues. Because of the economic and political situation of Western Balkans, the management of migration and borders continues to be problematic, especially if we consider the impact that this phenomenon has on the relationships between EU and Western Balkans after the process of Visa Liberalization. A comprehensive approach between Western Balkan is necessary in order to manage illegal migration and asylum requirements. One of the most important initiatives in this field is MARRI7 which currently operates in Skopje, Macedonia. Despite this initiative, more has to be done regarding the illegal migration from Western Balkans. Countries must design regional policies on migration and strengthen their efforts towards their implementation. The Cooperation in other sectors such as culture (culture heritage, cultural institutions and Ljubljana Process8), parliamentary diplomacy (improving the effectiveness of the parliaments in the western Balkans, deep regional cooperation among them in issues such as European integration, transparency, and accountability), freedom and democratization of media, infrastructure and private– sector development may produce positive and advanced achievements strongly recommended for all countries of the region. Regional diplomacy in the western Balkans will serve as a crucial ingredient of stability, good-neighborliness, good political relations and for building political dialogue in the region.

REFERENCES Tuck, L. (2014) Vienna Western Balkans Conference 2014. Paper Presented at Vienna Western Balkans Conference 2014 June 3 2014. Vienna: Austria. Available at: http:// speech/2014/06/09/vienna-western-balkans-conference-2014 1

Regional Cooperation Council. (2013) South East Europe 2020 Jobs and Prosperity in a European Perspective. Available at: http:// SEE2020-Strategy.pdf 2

(2014) Për ratifikimin e protokollit shtesë 3 të marrëveshjes për amendimin dhe aderimin në marrëveshjen e tregtisë së lirë të Europës Qendrore. Fletorja Zyrtare E Republikës së Shqipërisë, 47: 1265. Available at: al/sites/default/files/Protokoll%20 shtese%20 3%20CEFTA-2006.pdf 3

European Union. (2015) Western Balkans Investment Framework. Available at: 4

European Union. (2015) About Western Balkans Investment Framework. Available at: http://www. 5

(2015) Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe. Available at: 6

(2015) Migration, Asylum, Refugees Regional Initiative (MAARI). Available at: 7

Council of Europe. (2015) Ljubljana Process: Rehabilitating our Common Heritage. Available at: ljubljanaprocess_EN.asp 8

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Tai Chi and the fine art of diplomatic INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, negotiation GEOPOLITICS AND DIPLOMACY By Dr. Luis Ritto, former EU Ambassador to the Holy See and the Order of Malta and Former EU Permanent Representative to the United Nations Organisations. Emeritus Professor at the International School of Protocol & Diplomacy and expert on diplomacy, diplomatic protocol and world affairs.



his article concerns geopolitics and two related subfields: political geography and geostrategy, as well as how they influence international relations and diplomacy. At a time when the world is seeing the rise of new world and regional powers, globalizing trends are intensifying and instability is growing in many parts of the world. Consequently, borders are being changed by force. The study of geography and geopolitics is as fundamental to understanding the motivations of countries and regions on the world stage as history or sociology, since space and resources inevitably limit our world. According to Jakub Grygiel, geography is a combination of immutable geological factors, such as the patterns of lands, seas, rivers, mountains, mineral resources and climate zones, and the human capacity to adapt to them through changes in production and communication


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technology. These factors in turn affect political realities such as the layout of trade routes, the location of resources and the nature of state borders. Thus, according to Grygiel geography is a geopolitical reality to which states respond by formulating and pursuing their geostrategies (1). Grygiel also argues that nations can change their position of power by pursuing strategies based on the control of resources and communication. Grygiel gives as examples Venice, the Ottoman Empire and China in the 15th century, all great powers that faced a dramatic change in geopolitics when new sea routes and continents were discovered. The location of resources, new trade routes and unstable state boundaries played a large role in the fall of those three powers. Although many other aspects of foreign policy have changed throughout history, strategic response to geographical features remains one of the most salient factors in establishing and maintaining power in the international arena (2). Returning to Grygiel, geostrategy is the geographic direction of a state’s foreign policy. More precisely,

geostrategy describes where a country concentrates its external policies, its diplomatic activity and its economic and military power (4). While geopolitics is essentially disinterested as a discipline, geostrategy necessarily involves comprehensive planning and assigning means for achieving national goals as well as securing political and military assets. Besides the factors considered above, geostrategic experts pay great attention to the following four factors in the study and design of foreign policies: demography, the future geopolitics of energy, technology (and culture, though it will not be discussed here). In fact, these four factors taken together allow us to see in which direction the world is moving.

Demography Demography is the study of human numbers; changes in population size and composition. August Comte once wrote that “demography is destiny,� a statement belying the impact of demography on the long term supply of human capital, thus influencing everything from labour and pension costs to the availability of skilled

‘To know a nation’s geography is to know its foreign policy.’

Napoleon Bonaparte Emperor of France from 1804 to 1814

workers. Because of their impact on economic and social strategies, demographic experts follow the fact that in many parts of the world populations are ageing and declining rapidly (such as in the West), while in other parts of the world the population is growing (such as in Asia and Africa). Experts from the UN Population Division expect the global population to grow to 9.15 billion people by 2050 before it begins to decline. Each of these two billion people will need to food, clean water and energy. Strategists, therefore, need to look at the link between these needs and consider what arable land, water and energy resources are available to satisfy them for future generations. Of particular concern in this area is the availability of drinking water for more than 9 billion people. According to UN-Water, 97% of the earth’s water is salt water while only 3% is fresh water. All major human activities (agriculture, industry, household, etc.) require fresh water. To be able to feed and support the world’s population, the global economy needs to grow. But the supply of fresh water is decreasing, which can negatively affect world economic output including the production of food. In fact, water

Geography is an earthly subject, but a heavenly science.’ Edmund Burke Irish statesman 1729-1797

for irrigation and food production constitutes one of the greatest pressures on fresh water resources. Agriculture accounts for around 70% of fresh water use and in some cases (such as in fast growing economies) it can attain up to 90% of sweet water withdrawals. These issues cannot be neglected in future geostrategies and may lead to increased competition for fresh water.

Energy Geostrategists also pay close attention to energy, in particular oil and gas. Crude oil and liquid hydrocarbons are the lifeblood of the modern world, but are not infinite. At present rates of consumption, global oil and gas reserves will last another 40 to 50 years before dwindling. This decline will take place when the world’s population will be much larger and more oil dependent due to increased levels of industrialisation. This energy depletion will result in rising costs of fuel oil, thereby affecting manufacturing and transportation. An increase in oil prices will also negatively impact the cost of producing staple food. It is therefore

unsurprising that the wars of the past few decades have been mainly fought over energy resources; similar conflicts may take place in the future. It is also no surprise that the strategies of all countries are built around their future energy needs, including the safety of routes to transport oil and gas. This is a matter of survival that no country can neglect.

Technology The technological development of countries and the possibility of scientific exchanges are always taken into account by geostrategists in the design of foreign policies. This is because accelerated technological development is generally linked to power and, in many cases, to military strength. This can greatly affect the relations between countries and their so-called balance of power. In fact, technology is often used to further foreign policy ends as well as to promote scientific development and technological innovation.

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Political Geography Important, too, for the study of geography in international relations is political geography, another subfield of geopolitics. Whereas political geography is geography as it is affected by politics, geopolitics is politics as they are affected by geography. It studies things such as the borders of states, the political structure of states and the relationship between states. Geopolitics, on the other hand, studies political systems, with particular focus on the interplay between the interests of international political actors as well as interests focused on geographical space. Power and state borders are both fundamental considerations in understanding the design of foreign policy. Borders, as the political and territorial limits of states, are socio-territorial constructs, which shape the character of nations and are closely linked to sovereignty and identity. Their position in space and geography together with the resources that are within them are always taken into account by geostrategists in the design of foreign policies. When the broad notion of power is considered within the context of geopolitics, strategists traditionally see it in terms of the economic and military capabilities of foreign countries and compare them with their sizes, population, wealth, resources and geographic location in order to draw strategic conclusions.

Conclusion ‘Geography, not the clash of civilisations, is the basic reason for the world conflicts.’ – Robert Kaplan in the “Revenge of Geography” (2013).


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We hope that this article highlights the importance of geography and geopolitics to international relations and diplomacy. They are at the core of foreign policymaking and are instrumental in the design of international strategies. International relations demand a better understanding of geography. Geography has been, throughout history, one of the most powerful drivers of world events and will certainly continue being a driver of international events in the future. According to Robert D. Kaplan, in order to understand the world’s current problems (religious conflict, war and political instability) one need look no further than a map. For him, when the political ground shifts under one’s feet, it is a map that provides the best clue about what might come next in world affairs (5). Politicians long believed that globalisation would dilute the differences caused by geography. The reality, however, has shown that globalisation has reinforced the significance of geography for the work of geostrategists. No work in the field of international relations is complete without the support of history and geography as they are indeed the key to a better understanding of world events.

REFERENCES (1). In: Great Powers and Geopolitical Change by Jakub J. Grygiel (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011). (2). Ibidem. (3). In: Geopolitics, Geography and Strategy by Colin S. Gray and Sloan Geoffrey (Frank Class, London and Portland, 1999). (4). In: Great Powers and Geopolitical Change by Jakub J. Grygiel (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011). (5). In: The Revenge of Geography by Robert D. Kaplan (Radom House, New York, September 2013).

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