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author: Kishan Rana

Language, signaling and diplomacy

2001

Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): Ambassador Kishan Rana introduces the dimension of diplomatic signalling. Beginning with a reference to the Bhagwad Gita, one of the sacred texts of the Hindus, Rana outlines the qualities of good diplomatic dialogue: not causing distress to the listener, precision and good use of language, and truthfulness.
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The Bhagwad Gita, one of the sacred texts of the Hindus, consists entirely of the battlefield dialogue between Arjun, the noble warrior, and Krishna who has taken on the role of his chariot driver. An epic battle is about to commence and Arjun is torn by doubt, whether he should engage in the fight. He wonders if it is not better to let the adversaries, who are his half-brothers, take over the kingdom. Krishna then guides him in an extended discourse on righteous action, the choice of which must come from within each individual, in the exercise of the full faculties of the individual’s own “mind” or intellect. Krishna tells him that this method will lead the individual to the correct choice of action, which he describes as “action without attachment”. During the long dialogue, Krishna narrates to Arjun the qualities of an “ideal person” and in one notable verse,1 he describes the attributes of good speech.

In two terse lines, heavily laden with meaning as typical with the Bhagwad Gita, Krishna offers timeless advice on how one should speak, advice that also seems well-suited to diplomacy. Good speech should be marked by the following qualities, in ordered priority: it should not disturb the mind of the listener; it should be precise, with correct use of language; it should be truthful; if possible, it should be pleasing to the listener; and again if possible, it should be of utility to the listener.

Truthfulness is not presented as the highest virtue, over-riding other qualities. Rather, premier place goes to the requirement of not causing distress to the listener. Precision and good linguistic craftsmanship are rated as another high quality. Then comes truth. Are these not features that qualify as a good diplomatic dialogue method?

The ancient Indian sage Manu transcribed the above advice in a few pithy words that a good diplomat might easily accept to his advantage. Manu declared: “Speak the pleasant, but not the untruth; speak the truth, but not the unpleasant.”

I propose to look at the subject of language, and particularly signaling, from the perspective of the ordinary pursuit of diplomacy, including the kind of situations commonly faced by diplomats in real life conditions. Compared with the high drama of major international events that may subsequently become case studies and objects of research by historians, some of the situations I describe are banal, perhaps even boring. My excuse for dwelling on this dimension of the subject is that these constitute the vast majority of circumstances that make up the work of diplomats. They provide a setting in which we may observe the interconnections between language and diplomacy, from the particular perspective of signaling.

SOME PRACTICAL EXAMPLES

Language is the common, and one may say the dominant, medium of diplomacy, while signaling may be verbal or non-verbal. How do they figure in the practical work of diplomacy? Some examples are offered.

A) There is a frequent tendency to shade meanings, to avoid or overlook the word or phrase that the diplomat reporting back to his headquarters knows will be ill-received. Taken by itself, the action seems minor, hardly worth any mention. But when many such actions of avoidance and dishonesty in feedback are taken together, they multiply in significance and can occasionally add up to a devastating distortion, one that no one may have anticipated.

I offer an Indian example, only because of personal familiarity. In reality most of us can recall similar instances from our own memory banks. In 1995 India decided to contest for one of the elected seats to the Security Council, and while there was a change of government early next year, the new government maintained that decision, for the election that was to be held towards the end of the UN General Assembly session of 1996. The only problem was that Japan was also in the contest for the same seat. The entire diplomatic machine was mobilised to lobby for support and special emissaries were sent out around the world. Having retired in mid-1995, I was not directly involved, but I recall well a conversation in early 1996 with a senior colleague directly handling the issue. I urged graceful withdrawal, since it seemed inconceivable that we could win this particular global contest against a determined Japan. On the other hand withdrawal would win huge credit and “face” from this major Asian partner. Of course, mine was a complete minority view at the time, since most colleagues were stimulated by the fray and committed, perhaps excessively so, to winning. That particular colleague replied that their “objective” assessment of support indicated 80 firm votes, plus a good handful as “probable” and leaning in our favor. And if we could block Japan in the first round, many more votes would swing to us in support. In the event, when the election took place in November 1996, India lost overwhelmingly, by 142 votes to 40.

How could assessment go so completely wrong? Perhaps because some diplomats, those at the Permanent Mission in New York, plus some on post in our 115 missions, and the others sent as emissaries, had shaded their reports. Some had evidently not fully conveyed replies given by different countries to their demarches seeking support. And probably, partial selection of the language used by others was further distorted by wishful thinking.

Dispassionate, objective reportage is not easy, the more so when one’s own expectations are tied into the issue. When we analyse major miscalculations that nations have made on much bigger issues of war and peace, similar misinterpretation of language has often been one of the distorting factors. This makes the dictum “honesty in reportage” so valuable in real diplomacy.

B) Another instance relates to the way sometimes the spoken word is sufficient, and at other times it has to be backed up with written communication. I was once involved in a delicate request advanced as a matter of urgency by a friendly government. The issue was such that there was no time to await a written communication, and while on our side we acted very promptly and delivered on the request, the evolution of the ground situation in the foreign country made our help unnecessary. At that point the friendly government developed selective amnesia, and left me wondering at my un-wisdom in not demanding a written communication, at least as a follow-up to the oral request.

In contrast, a senior colleague described once the way in which in the late 1970’s the entire India-US negotiation on the use of the very large “PL 480” funds was handled. These funds had accumulated in India, as local Rupee “counterpart” or payment for the several million tons of wheat and other food-grain that the US had supplied to India during the severe drought years of 1966-68. The entire negotiation was conducted orally, spread over several months. Once agreement was in sight, a written document was prepared for the first time, for smooth mutual acceptance, and signature. That is not a standard prescription for negotiation, but it can work if there is considerable mutual trust and the issue is one where there is strong convergence of interest.

C) In glaring contrast, dealings between the same two partners in the lead up to, and during the 1971 Bangladesh War, were marked by a glaring lack of rapport. It would be recalled that in early 1971, brutal repression in what was then East Pakistan led to an exodus of about nine million refugees into the neighbouring areas of India. India’s efforts to get the major powers to get Pakistan to end the repression and to take back the refugees produced little result, and the situation escalated. The crisis was compounded by the liberation movement of the Bangladeshis, and culminated in war in December 1971. The limited Indian objective was freedom for Bangladesh and return of the refugees. After barely two weeks of conflict, events drew towards a surrender of the Pakistan troops in the East, and the declaration of an independent Bangladesh. As events were moving to this climax, the US sent the aircraft carrier “Enterprise” into the Bay of Bengal, as an overt signal to India to end the hostilities.2

The threat symbolised a huge failure in understanding between two major democracies. From an Indian perspective, not only had the US not grasped the gravity and nature of the crisis in the region, but also it had also failed to comprehend, or distrusted, the limited objective that India was pursuing. In the event, India declared a unilateral ceasefire with Pakistan and ended all hostilities, within 24 hours of the surrender of the opposing troops in East Pakistan, which then went on to become Bangladesh. Many Indians have felt that the language of the threatening gesture was singularly inappropriate, even gratuitous.

D) During these Bangladesh events, serving as First Secretary (Political) in the Indian Embassy at Beijing, I had opportunity to witness first hand the way in which astute communications, and precise signals, were used to manage well our complex relationship with China. Notwithstanding a situation of bilateral tension that had continued since our Border War of 1962, and China’s support to Pakistan, with clarity of language and of intent, we conveyed to China the limited objectives that India was pursuing. While there was no lack of pyrotechnics in the reaction in the Chinese media, and in official statements as the situation escalated, China scrupulously avoided direct entanglement. From our perspective that episode served as a good instance of diplomatic management in difficult times. It also demonstrated that strong language unmatched by action conveys its own message.

E) Language is the medium of negotiation. It conveys ones own ideas and concepts, and offers the means of understanding the thoughts and expectations of the other side. Precision is of obvious importance. It is not an abstract concept, but judged by the yardstick of being understood in real situations. So comprehension also enters into the equation, in both directions.

THE PRESENT CONTEXT

Let us now turn to some aspects of language and signaling in today’s diplomatic world. The setting in which foreign policy and diplomacy operate in countries has changed drastically, first, through the entry of multiple state entities into the diplomatic process in each country, overcoming the former exclusive role of the foreign ministry, and second, by the entry of non-state actors into the external relationships of each country.3 There are other changes as well, all of which can perhaps be summed up in a single word, “democratisation” of the process and its actors. This means that there are many new players, who do not know the old syntax or style, using less subtlety and more direct language than before.

A) Unlike the classic age of diplomacy, the period up to and immediately after World War II, when the number of nation states was barely one fourth of today, and most of the players had similar upbringing and mindsets, there is infinitely greater diversity now. Even while a single vehicular language dominates as the medium of discourse, the levels of language competence, both in the spoken word and comprehension, vary greatly. There is no certitude that direct communication will always be understood as intended, much less a subtle signal. This demands greater care over how one uses language, and greater sensitivity on how one is perceived by the other side. It is not at all clear that this point is truly addressed in diplomatic training.

B) Increasingly complex economic, environmental and other technical issues emerge in the international dialogue. Often code words summarise such issues, and phrases like “fair trade” and “social standards” are used to mean things that are far removed from the literal meaning of the words. Those who are sharper at shaping these words, and in capturing the deeper concepts behind them, seize the high ground in the debates, and have the capacity to dominate. In practice these are mainly the Western powers. This demands from other countries much alacrity and an ability to come up with equally persuasive word-formulas. This is not an easy task when the leading global media organs, which give currency to code words, are also predominantly from the same set of countries.

C) From the days of Woodrow Wilson, the notion of open diplomacy has been a chimera. We offer openness as an absolute and desirable value, one that is equated with democracy, but ignore the reality that complex issues are usually impossible to resolve without confidentiality. We learn repeatedly that openness becomes a serious obstacle to accord.

There are situations where the declared public position becomes the negotiating position, because flexibility is lost, and combative internal politics makes it impossible to carve out concession or compromise from hard public stance. Example: former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban has narrated how a private initiative by a Norwegian sociologist in 1992 led to the Oslo Agreement between Israel and Palestine, when the US locked itself into a “no contacts” stance vis-à-vis the Palestinians.4 In my own country we have repeatedly seen that hard line public stance on external issues, tends to become the negotiation position as well. In effect, “feedback” from the hard stance, and compulsions of domestic politics, lead to harder language and a foreclosing of options.

D) Language also affects the dialogue in a completely different way. It produces sometimes in diplomacy an infatuation with words that becomes a substitute for action. This is visible in its most acute form in the UN General Assembly, where vast effort is expended on multitudes of resolutions that have little import or prospect of action. The Non-Aligned Movement and G-77 in defending the position of the South in the debates with the North display the same tendency. Much time is taken up at some conferences over drafting of documents that unfortunately have little intrinsic value. And as someone from a developing country, I would suggest that this preoccupation and mindset has prevented us from stronger engagement with the North on the do-able tasks and on real issues that affect us, individually and collectively.

DIPLOMACY & CROSS-CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING

It may have been the influence of classic diplomacy, which in some ways is perhaps still practiced among Western powers, that precluded a stronger role for cross-cultural studies in diplomatic training. It was assumed that the rules of discourse, the language and the signals were sufficiently homogenous, to make such adaptation to one another unnecessary. But the reality today is very different, and the meaning of words and gestures is not the same the world over, even among the charmed circle of diplomacy practitioners, to say nothing of the general public at large. A simple example: when an Indian shakes his head from side-to-side in a slightly rolling motion, he is expressing emphatic agreement, not dissonance. For disagreement he has a sharper side-to-side headshake! Some of the wider consequences are:

A) Sometimes signals are too subtle to be picked up by interlocutors. Diversity of cultures and languages suggests for diplomacy practitioners more directness and less resort to indirect signaling in dealing with non-homogenous interlocutors.

B) It can happen that signals are distorted by other cultures, when the signal comes across differently in another setting. Example: at the May Day parade at Tienanmen Square in 1970, Chairman Mao conveyed a conciliatory signal to the Indian Charge d’Affaires, shaking hands with him and remarking that the two countries should not go on quarrelling. It was the first personal bilateral gesture from Mao in over a decade. Barely days later, while the move was under evaluation, someone in Delhi, perhaps with pro-Soviet tendencies, leaked the news to the media where it was trivialised in headlines as a “Mao smile”, and the value of the signal was lost. It took some years of quiet effort by both sides to move even to the first step to normalisation, through the return of ambassadors in the two capitals in 1976.

C) In different environments, body language, signals and even the mode of conversation are different. Is the classic diplomatic style adequate to deal with such situations, or should some adaptation be carried out? There is no clear answer. For instance, during dialogue the Japanese distinguish between outward appearance, or “surface communication” and the inner meaning or true intent of the interlocutor. No one would suggest that foreigners adopt the Japanese style when they negotiate in that country. But Japan’s method deserves study, first to comprehend what the Japanese partner on the other side is doing and thinking, and second because some of the concepts can encourage one to revisit one’s own notions and attitudes. One such is the notion conveyed in the word “honne” which stands for inner meaning, as distinct from the surface appearance. Is it not worthwhile to seek out the “honne” in all exchanges?

A decade back, when integration in the European Union forged ahead, management specialists advanced the notion of a “Euro-manager”, someone who would be personally familiar with the cultures of the major countries and integrate smoothly into the local scene, wherever he might be implanted by the transnational enterprise. It soon became clear that the notion was a myth, because the diversity was too vast to be mastered by the manager, in the sense of knowledge of the particularities of each nation and region. Nor did it make sense for him to become a master of cultural systems to be found in Europe. What he needed to function effectively across different cultures was an open mind, acceptance of diversity and a non-judgmental attitude towards the people he encountered. These are the same qualities that make good diplomats. The difference is that greater diversity today demands formal, and structured cross-cultural training.

CONCLUSION

As the Gita would say, let the language of the diplomat be non-abrasive, precise and truthful. And if possible, let it also be pleasing and beneficial to the interlocutor. Further:

The way language and signals in diplomacy are used needs empirical study to draw conclusions on usage and improved practices. It is useful to look beyond the West, at examples from around the world.

The contemporary context and setting of diplomacy need to be taken into account, to guide practitioners in improving their methods.

Cross-cultural skills cannot be taken for granted, as qualities that diplomats master intuitively. Formal training is essential.

ENDNOTES

1. Chapter 17, Verse 9. Most translations give a bare-bone version, and one needs to read a good commentary to get to all the nuances of meaning.

2. Henry Kissinger, then National Security Adviser to President Richard Nixon, who had a ringside view of these developments, has written an account that is fascinating, even if a bit sanitised in coverage of all the details!

3. A fine survey of the changed context within which diplomacy functions today is to be found in the book Foreign Ministries: Change & Adaptation, ed. Brian Hocking (London: Macmillian, 1999).

4. Abba Eban, Diplomacy for the Next Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).

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The Diplomats, 1939-1979

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Inside Diplomacy

This is a book on diplomacy in general and the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in particular. It is also a gem, and a large gem. It breathes life, wisdom, and good humour, and is full of rich detail. I found it thoroughly absorbing. Students of diplomacy at all stages of their careers will find it immensely useful, while those in a position to influence the future shape of the IFS will discover a whole raft of constructive suggestions for reform fearlessly advanced.

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Diplomatic Education

Diplomatic Education’ was published as Chapter 11 in: An Anthology Celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of the Higher Colleges of Technology, ed. Tayeb A Kamali, (HCT Press, UAE, 2007).

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Diplomatic Security under a Comparative Lens – Or Not?

“Diplomatic security” is the term now usually preferred to “diplomatic protection” for the steps taken by states to safeguard the fabric of their diplomatic and consular missions, the lives of their diplomatic and consular officers, and the integrity of their communications; it has the advantage of avoiding confusion with the controversial legal doctrine of diplomatic protection.

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The Blair Years: Extracts from the Alastair Campbell Diaries

Reveiw by Geoff Berridge

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Guerrilla Diplomacy: Rethinking International Relations

In a previous book review for DiploFoundation, Petru Dumitriu described G. R. Berridge’s Diplomacy: Theory and Practice as 'a Robinson Crusoe’s book on diplomacy'. Suppose one is left on a deserted island and allowed only one book to study diplomacy; in that case, Dumitriu recommends Diplomacy: Theory and Practice. Without doubt, I wholeheartedly support this recommendation.

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A Diplomat in Japan

The first portion of this book was written at intervals between 1885 and 1887, during my tenure of the post of Her Majesty's minister at Bangkok. I had but recently left Japan after a residence extending, with two seasons of home leave, from September 1862 to the last days of December 1882, and my recollection of what had occurred during any part of those twenty years was still quite fresh. A diary kept almost uninterruptedly from the day I quitted home in November 1861 constituted the foundation, while my memory enabled me to supply additional details. It had never been my purpose to...

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John le Carré: The Biography

I thought to review this book because I had enjoyed the spy novels of John le Carré and, having introduced a chapter on secret intelligence into the latest edition of my textbook and mentioned him in it (p. 155), was keen to see if Adam Sisman had turned up anything new about the novelist’s own short career as an intelligence officer in what was then West Germany.

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Persuasion, trust, and personal credibility

Ambassador Kishan Rana indicates the cultivation of relations and the credibility of diplomats as the basis for persuasion in diplomacy. He provides an initial taxonomy of the type of relations that diplomats should cultivate. When it comes to credibility, Ambassador Rana presents the main ways of developing and maintaining credibility in diplomatic relations. The more credible the diplomat, the more likely it is that their persuasion with local interlocutors will be successful.

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Diplomats on Twitter: The good, the bad and the ugly

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Diplomacy and the American Democracy

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A Diplomat’s Handbook of International Law and Practice

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The Professional Diplomat

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Just a Diplomat

Close students of the new, Conservative Party Mayor of London, the at once engaging and alarming Boris Johnson, will know that he has Turkish cousins. One of these is Sinan Kuneralp, a son of the late Zeki Kuneralp, probably the most distinguished and well liked Turkish diplomat of his generation. Sinan Kuneralp is a scholar-publisher and runs The Isis Press in Istanbul, a house at the forefront of publishing scholarly works and original documents on the Ottoman Empire, chiefly in English and French. The three works noticed here are all its products and reflect the publisher’s own special in...

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The idea of diplomatic culture and its sources

To what extent does an independent diplomatic culture exist which permits diplomats to exert their own influence on the conduct of international relations? Insofar as such a culture exists, what does it look like, is it a good thing and, if it is, how is it to be sustained? This paper explores what we generally mean when we talk about culture and how we see culture operating in contemporary international relations. It sketches the basic elements of a diplomatic culture and discusses different accounts of its origins.

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Theatre of Power: The Art of Signaling

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Persuasion in sociology of diplomacy

Dr Milan Jazbec, a practitioner and researcher in diplomacy, positions a discussion on persuasion in the sociology of diplomacy. Social context determines both diplomacy and persuasion. Dr Jazbec makes a distinction between pressure and persuasion. In a rather counter-intuitive view to dominant discourse, he argues that genuine persuasion cannot be public. As soon as it becomes public, it immediately becomes pressure.

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Getting to the Table: The Process of International Prenegotiation

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Journeying Far and Wide: A Political and Diplomatic Memoir

Kaiser was an active Democrat and 'noncareer officer' in the US Foreign Service under three Democratic presidents: Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter. His memoir, which is uncluttered with the trivial detail sometimes found in this genre and written with great verve, will be valued by diplomatic historians of the whole period since the Second World War. (Kaiser had served earlier as Assistant Secretary of Labor for International Affairs in the Truman administration.)

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Innovation in Diplomatic Practice

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Persuasion: bad practices and … others

Persuasion is a very relative concept. Like beauty, persuasion is the eye of the beholder. Admittedly, persuasion does not exist in the absence of results. One can say that persuasion can be defined as such, if and only if it is effective and reaches its goals. If we accept this prerequisite, we may find persuasion where we least expect it.

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Yes, (Saudi) Minister! A Life in Administration

After a brilliant ministerial career in Riyadh, Algosaibi fell from grace at the Ministry of Health in 1984. This was the start of his diplomatic life, which commenced in Bahrain and continued in London. This is a shrewd and lively book.

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What Diplomats Do: The Life and Work of Diplomats

Sir Brian Barder’s book What Diplomats Do offers comprehensive insight into the life and work of diplomats. It deserves to be read by practitioners and aspiring practitioners of diplomacy, by students and teachers of diplomacy, and by anyone interested in what diplomats actually do. It crosses genres as easily as it addresses and holds the attention of a broad audience.

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The Art of Diplomacy: The American Experience

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Brian Barder’s Diplomatic Diary

Sir Brian Barder, the senior British diplomat and author of the always sage and sometimes gripping What Diplomats Do, died in 2017 but, courtesy of the professional editorial hand of his daughter Louise, has left us another treat. This is what he called a diary and which for the most part has the form of a diary (dated daily entries), although originally it was a series of letters sent to friends from foreign parts. Compared to diplomatic memoirs, diplomatic diaries are a rarity. And since this one is the product of an acute observer who loved the English language and used it in a vigorous and...

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The Foreign Office

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The Diplomatic Corps as an Institution of International Society

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The Cinderella Service: British Consuls since 1825

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Diplomacy for the New Century

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Diplomacy under a Foreign Flag: When nations break relations

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Ellsworth Bunker: Global Troubleshooter, Vietnam Hawk

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Diplomacy: The world of the honest spy

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Reflections on multistakeholder diplomacy

Through analysis of the procedural and institutional arrangements in the functioning of international bodies, Valentin Katrandjiev, seeks to measure the extent to which diplomats accept nonofficial networks and entities as equal partners in the diplomatic negotiation process. Katrandjiev analyses the trend that on the domestic front, societies demand greater public accountability of governments in the process of national foreign policy making. He attempts to do so through the organisational units in MFAs responsible for relationships with domestic stakeholders.

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In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to Six Cold War Presidents

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Inside Diplomacy

This is a book on diplomacy in general and the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in particular. It is also a gem, and a large gem. It breathes life, wisdom, and good humour, and is full of rich detail. I found it thoroughly absorbing. Students of diplomacy at all stages of their careers will find it immensely useful, while those in a position to influence the future shape of the IFS will discover a whole raft of constructive suggestions for reform fearlessly advanced.

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Curing the Sick Man: Sir Henry Bulwer and the Ottoman Empire, 1858-1865

This is the first book of a very promising young historian. Laurence Guymer, who is head of the Department of History at Winchester College and a research associate in the School of History at the University of East Anglia, has produced a biography of Sir Henry Bulwer that successfully challenges the conventional account of this colourful mid-Victorian figure. It also raises the question of how ‘diplomatic success’ is judged.

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Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 4th ed

The Limits of Neorealism

The Limits of Neorealism

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The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Diplomacy

Book by Geoff Berridge

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The Nineteenth Century Foreign Office

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The Evolution of Diplomatic Method

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A Selection of New diplomatic memoirs

I have just written a review article on these six books of British diplomatic memoirs for the English Historical Journal, so here I shall just provide some notes on those that I believe to be most valuable to students of diplomacy.

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Embassies in Armed Conflict

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Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, Fifth Edition

In 2005, I reviewed the third edition of Diplomacy: Theory and Practice by G.R. Berridge as essential reading for Robinson Crusoe, had he been a student of diplomacy. We all know that eventually Crusoe ended his assignment on the foreign island and returned to his native country where he found himself a wealthy man for whom bibliography no longer had a role to play … unlike the rest of us, who have continued to practise diplomacy and read books about it.

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A weak diplomatic hybrid: U.S. Special Mission Benghazi, 2011-12

In the widespread coverage of the brutal murder of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and others in the US mission in Benghazi on 11 September 2012, there has been much confusion over the character of the post. It has been repeatedly described in the media as the American ‘consulate’ but the official position, recently stated emphatically by the Report of the Accountability Review Board for Benghazi (ARB) convened by secretary of state Hillary Clinton, is that ‘the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi was never a consulate and never formally notified [in any character] to the Libyan ...

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Quick Diplomatic Response

In the increasingly interdependent world, diplomacy is our only alternative. Wars do not provide solutions for modern problems, whether these are regional crises, environmental challenges, such as climate change, or the risk of global pandemics. Compromise and consensus are not only the most ethical approach, but necessity. This interesting comic presents one day in life of an e-diplomat.

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Ever the Diplomat

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A Dictionary of Diplomacy

Like all professions, diplomacy has spawned its own specialized terminology, and it is this lexicon which provides A Dictionary of Diplomacy's thematic spine. However, the dictionary also includes entries on legal terms, political events, international organizations and major figures who have occupied the diplomatic scene or have written influentially about it over the last half millennium. All students of diplomacy and related subjects and especially junior members of the many diplomatic services of the world will find this book indispensable.

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On the manner of practising the new diplomacy

The traditional model of diplomacy, founded on the principles of national sovereignty and of statecraft, is becoming less relevant as a field of new, influential actors enter the international system.

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Lucky George: Memoirs of an Anti-Politician

This is a belated and less than comprehensive note on this book, which I stumbled upon in a second-hand bookshop while on holiday. It is one of the most lively, shrewd, and brilliantly written diplomatic and political memoirs that I have ever come across.

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Diplomats as cultural bridge builders

Diplomats are people who are on the fringe somewhere, because they are either permanently living in or at least dealing with alien cultures, cultures with different values. The success of a diplomat depends on this brinkmanship because, on the one hand, they must remain credible with their superiors back home and, on the other hand, they must have access to the leaders in the country where they are posted. This paper discusses the role of diplomats as cultural bridge-builders.

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Diplomacy and Power: Studies in Modern Diplomatic Practice

The Visa Dimension of Diplomacy

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Why Persuasion? Reflections after 50 years of practising, teaching and studying diplomacy

From the faraway days when representatives of fighting tribes tried to arrange for a truce, thereby risking their head, to the often derided endless discussions within present day international frameworks, the common aim of diplomacy has remained persuasion. The better a diplomat is at persuading, the more successful he will be in furthering the cause he represents.

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Lessons from two fields

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Switzerland’s good offices: a changing concept, 1945-2002

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Essence of Diplomacy

Christer Jönsson is Professor of Political Science at Lund University in Sweden, where Martin Hall is a Researcher. Their book is described as an exercise in ‘theorizing’ diplomacy, that is, an attempt to provide a general account of its causes and consequences. (The authors are thus severe in denying the title of ‘theory’ to the ‘prescriptive tracts’ which scholar-diplomats have written about their art over hundreds of years, though I notice that they are more indulgent to the use of the term ‘political theory’ as in, for example, ‘liberal political theory’.)

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The origins, use and development of hot line diplomacy

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The impact of the Internet on diplomatic reporting: how diplomacy training needs to be adjusted to keep pace

Over the last 20 years, the Internet has changed the ways in which we work, how we socialise and network, and how we interact with knowledge and information.

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Getting Our Way: 500 Years of Adventure and Intrigue: The Inside Story of British Diplomacy

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Twentieth Century Diplomacy: A case study of British practice, 1963-1976

Book review by Geoff Berridge What is so original about the book is that the author has asked himself: What are the major forms of diplomatic contact? And followed this with the question: How and to what effect were they each employed by one state over a period sufficiently short to make detailed research possible […]

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International Regimes

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The New Diplomacy

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Japanese middle-power diplomacy

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Diplomacy, Force & Leadership: Essays In Honor of Alexander L. George

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The New Diplomacy

Shaun Riordan was a British diplomat for 16 years before resigning in 2000 to take up private consultancy work and journalism in Spain, where he had ended his diplomatic career as political officer in the embassy. He has written a conceptually flawed, often vague, sometimes contradictory, and essentially polemical attack on 'traditional diplomacy'. It is also peppered with New Labour jargon ('stakeholders', 'global governance', 'civil society'), has its fair measure of superficially examined mantras, misquotes Clausewitz, and sports a shop-soiled title - is he not aware that Abba Ebban publish...

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Diplomacy, Satire and the Victorians

This book, which rests on extensive use of private papers, official documents, press archives and not least Grenville-Murray’s vast output (including novels), is the first biography of this complex man to be written. It begins with the difficulties produced by his illegitimate birth, and then describes his patronage by Lord Palmerston and Charles Dickens, his colourful diplomatic career, and finally his blossoming as a successful writer in France in the 1870s

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Inside the U.S. Embassy: How the Foreign Service Works for America

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The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy

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The Beijing-Washington Back-Channel and Henry Kissinger’s Secret Trip to China

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British Envoys to Germany 1816-1866

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Blundering Into Disaster: Surviving the First Century of the Nuclear Age

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To joke or not to joke: A diplomatic dilemma in the age of internet

Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): The first paper, presented by Prof. Peter Serracino-Inglott as the keynote address at the 2001 conference, examines the serious issue of diplomatic communication in a playful manner, through one of the most paradigmatic and creative examples of language use: joking.

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Diplomacy for a Crowded World

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Instruzione e formazione del diplomatico: la tradizione inglese

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Multistakeholder diplomacy at the OECD

In his paper John West outlines multistakeholder diplomacy at the OECD. West first explores the main points and facts of the OECD before going into the emergence of globalising stakeholder societies. Finally he gives his remarks on multistakeholder diplomacy at the OECD.

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Applying the pedagogy of positiveness to diplomatic communication

Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): Dr Francisco Gomes de Matos applies what he calls the "Pedagogy of Positiveness" to diplomatic communication. He proposes a checklist of tips for diplomats to make their communication more positive, emphasising respect and understanding of the other side, and keeping in mind the ultimate goal of avoiding conflict.

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The Queen’s Ambassador to the Sultan: Memoirs of Sir Henry A. Layard’s Constantinople Embassy, 1877-1880

Once more students of Ottoman diplomatic history are in debt to the scholar-publisher, Sinan Kuneralp, for Sir Henry Layard was one of the most remarkable and controversial of British ambassadors to Turkey in the nineteenth century and served there during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-8 – and yet the volumes of his memoirs dealing with this period have hitherto languished unpublished in the British Library, in part perhaps because of their size. (Layard admits himself to having been ‘somewhat minute, perhaps a great deal too much so’, p. 692.)They are here published almost in their entir...

Diplomacy by other means

Diplomacy by other means

Diplomacy and domestic politics: The logic of two-level games

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Twitter for Diplomats

Twitter for Diplomats is not a manual, or a list of what to do or not to do. It is rather a collection of information, anecdotes, and experiences. It recounts a few episodes involving foreign ministers and ambassadors, as well as their ways of interacting with the tool and exploring its great potential. It wants to inspire ambassadors and diplomats to open and nurture their accounts – and it wants to inspire all of us to use Twitter to also listen and open our minds.

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Statecraft

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Manuel de droit diplomatique

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Renaissance Diplomacy and the Reformation

We invite you to continue our walk along timeline of Evolution of diplomacy and technology. In May, our next stop is Renaissance diplomacy and the impact of the invention of the printing press on diplomacy in the Reformation period.

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The 21st Century Ambassador: Plenipotentiary to Chief Executive

Ambassador Kishan Rana, a diplomatist for four decades, is now a noted scholar and theorist of international relations and the new diplomacy that has evolved.

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True Brits: Inside the Foreign Office

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Ottoman Diplomacy

The School for Ambassadors

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Pragmatics in diplomatic exchanges

Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): Edmond Pascual interprets diplomatic communication with the linguistic tools of pragmatics. He begins by reminding us that while the diplomat is a "man of action," the particular nature of the diplomat's action is that it consists of speech. Pascual applies three concepts of pragmatics to diplomatic discourse: speech as an intentional act; the effects of the act of speech; and the role of the unsaid in the act of speech.

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The Practice of Diplomacy: Its evolution, theory and administration

First published in 1995, the long-awaited second edition of this valuable textbook on the history of diplomacy has at last appeared. The first chapter has been expanded to include non-European traditions, and a wholly new chapter has been added to take account of developments over the last 15 years. It is for the main part a work of relaxed authority, clearly written, and – unusually for an introductory work – full of intriguing detail which it would be difficult if not impossible to find in other secondary sources.

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A practitioner’s view

Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): With examples from a detailed case study of the historical New Zealand Treaty of Waitangi, Aldo Matteucci shows us that the diplomat's job is to decode language. Matteucci writes that all language comes with "hidden baggage": hidden meanings and intentions, historical and political context, legal precedents, etc. In order to find these hidden meanings the diplomat needs a broad understanding of the context of a situation.

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Bilateral Diplomacy: A Practitioner Perspective (Briefing Paper #15)

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The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Diplomacy, Third Edition

Indispensable for students of diplomacy and junior members of diplomatic services, this dictionary not only covers diplomacy's jargon but also includes entries on legal terms, political events, international organizations, e-Diplomacy, and major figures who have occupied the diplomatic scene or have written about it over the last half millennium.

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International Encyclopedia Of Public Policy And Administration

Public administration - the implementation side of government - is becoming an increasingly international discipline.

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Diplomacy at the Cutting Edge

I started writing a memoire in 1998, but on a long train journey in Germany (Stuttgart to Essen), accompanied by my wonderful wife Mimi, a thought came that it might be much more interesting to write about how the Indian diplomatic system works – or does not really work. That became my first book, Inside Diplomacy (1999). Diplomacy at the Cutting Edge, first published in 2015, is that delayed memoire.

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Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy

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The Contemporary Embassy: Paths to Diplomatic Excellence

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The Office of Ambassador in the Middle Ages

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Diplomat’s Dictionary

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Bertie of Thame: Edwardian Ambassador

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Positive Diplomacy

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The Ambassadors and America’s Soviet Policy

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DC Confidential: The controversial memoirs of Britain’s ambassador to the U.S. at the time of 9/11 and the Iraq War

The publication of these memoirs in autumn 2005 caused a public furore in Britain so I shall not waste time giving any background on Sir Christopher Meyer. (Just punch his name into Google, which will enable you in the blink of an eye even to find out from the BBC website which records he chose when he appeared on Desert Island Discs.)

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Embassies under Siege

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A Diplomat in Siam (introduced and edited by Nigel Brailey)

Nigel Brailey, a University of Bristol historian who is well known to students of Sir Ernest Satow, is to be congratulated on bringing out a revised edition of this work, the fruit of Satow's period as British minister-resident in Bangkok from 1885 until 1888. It is the journal which Satow, later the author of the famous Guide to Diplomatic Practice, kept on his long boat journey from Bangkok to the northern city of Chiangmai and back again, which took from the beginning of December 1885 until the end of the following February.

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Language, signaling and diplomacy

Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): Ambassador Kishan Rana introduces the dimension of diplomatic signalling. Beginning with a reference to the Bhagwad Gita, one of the sacred texts of the Hindus, Rana outlines the qualities of good diplomatic dialogue: not causing distress to the listener, precision and good use of language, and truthfulness.

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Diplomacy: Theory and Practice

Let us suppose that you are left, like Robinson Crusoe, on a deserted island, under instructions to learn about diplomacy. To that elevated purpose you would be allowed to keep one book only, the rest of the luggage consisting of things more essential for your physical survival, like a gun and gunpowder. The choice of that particular book may not be that difficult, if you had at hand the third edition of Diplomacy: Theory and Practice by G.R. Berridge.

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American Negotiating Behaviour: Wheeler-Dealers, Legal Eagles, Bullies, and Preachers

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21st Century Diplomacy: A practitioner’s guide

Kishan Rana is a man of lengthy and varied experience in the Indian Foreign Service, ending his career as ambassador to Germany. Since then he has spent many years as a globe-trotting trainer of junior diplomats on behalf of DiploFoundation. Few people, therefore, are as well placed to write a practitioners’ guide to the diplomatic craft; and, insofar as concerns the content of his book, which can be found described here, he has not disappointed.

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Last Man Standing: Memoirs of a political survivor

Jack Straw was the ablest and wisest of Tony Blair’s foreign secretaries and served in this capacity from 2001 until he was ungratefully dumped without warning by his leader in 2006. Afterwards he hit the headlines by courageously publishing his dislike of the full veil worn my some Muslim women, on the grounds that this was such a visible statement of separation and difference that it complicated community relations and was, in any case, a cultural preference rather than a religious obligation. (Straw was then and still is the Labour MP for a Bradford constituency with a large Muslim popula...

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Cursed is the Peacemaker: The American Diplomat [Philip Habib] Versus the Israeli General, Beirut 1982

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British Diplomacy and the Descent into Chaos: The career of Jack Garnett, 1902-19

I am in favour of biographies of relatively obscure individuals like Jack Garnett because there are plenty of them on the famous; moreover, studies of this kind often turn up interesting details (including how the famous were seen from the foothills) and stimulate thought on bigger questions. John Fisher’s well written and thoroughly researched study of this early twentieth century British diplomat, into which contextual detail is expertly woven, is no exception.

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Language and Diplomacy: Preface

Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): In the preface below, Jovan Kurbalija and Hannah Slavik introduce the chapters in the book, and extract the general themes covered by the various authors.

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Mediation in International Relations

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Diplomatic Classics: Selected texts from Commynes to Vattel

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Satow’s Diplomatic Practice, 6th ed

Satow’s Diplomatic Practice is a classic work, first published 90 years ago and revised four times since. This is the first revised edition for thirty years, during which time the world and diplomacy have changed almost beyond recognition. The new edition provides an enlarged and updated section on the history of diplomacy and revises comprehensively […]

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Building relations through multi-dialogue formats: Trends in bilateral diplomacy

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FDR’s Ambassadors and the Diplomacy of Crisis: From the rise of Hitler to the end of World War II

What effect did personality and circumstance have on US foreign policy during World War II? This incisive account of US envoys residing in the major belligerent countries – Japan, Germany, Italy, China, France, Great Britain, USSR – highlights the fascinating role played by such diplomats as Joseph Grew, William Dodd, William Bullitt, Joseph Kennedy and W. Averell Harriman. Between Hitler's 1933 ascent to power and the 1945 bombing of Nagasaki, US ambassadors sculpted formal policy – occasionally deliberately, other times inadvertently – giving shape and meaning not always intended by ...

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English Medieval Diplomacy

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Preventive Diplomacy: Stopping Wars Before they Start

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Backstabbing for Beginners: My Crash Course in International Diplomacy

On 21 April 2004, the Security Council adopted resolution 1538(2004), the most embarrassing resolution in the history of the United Nations. The resolution appointed an independent high-level inquiry whose mandate was to 'collect and examine information relating to the administration and management of the Oil-for-Food Programme, including allegations of fraud and corruption on the part of United Nations officials, personnel and agents, as well as contractors, including entities that have entered into contracts with the United Nations or with Iraq under the Programme.'