What are the tools of diplomacy?
If you were a diplomat representing the United States, what tools should you use in your negotiations?
Diplomats negotiate on a vast range of issues, from the uses of outer space and the outcome of wars to the treatment of refugees and the future of the oceans.
Understanding the other countries’ diplomats across the table is an indispensible tool. Those across the table advance the interests of their country, and when they do this they express unique and different beliefs, needs, fears, and intentions.
To be successful, our diplomats must learn the needs, interests, history, and culture of the diplomats across from them, and listen carefully to what their counterparts say.
In negotiating, diplomats use rewards—such as the promise of new trade, an arms sale, or shipments of food—to encourage an agreement. When diplomatic interests collide and a deadlock ensues, negotiators might threaten sanctions—such as restricting trade or travel, halting financial assistance, or an embargo—to coerce the other parties to accept an agreement. Diplomats realize that the most lasting outcomes are usually win-win solutions.
The outcomes of these negotiations are usually spelled out through the following instruments:
- Treaties must be agreed to by the U.S. Senate and ratified by the President. The United States and Great Britain ended the Revolutionary War with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
- Conventions include many signatories and the original signatories encourage other countries to join long after the original agreement is reached. In 1973, representatives of 80 countries agreed on a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to protect rare plants and animals around the world.
- Alliances among nations are often formed for mutual benefit, and can be multilateral or bilateral, such as the alliance between the United States and South Korea created by the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1953.
- Accords are voluntary agreements that countries enter into instead of a treaty or while they try to work out the terms of a treaty. The Kyoto Accord is an agreement among nations to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases.
Related Artifacts from the USDC Collection
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