Diplomacy: Introduction, Nature, Functions, and Means

    Diplomacy is the most widely practiced soft method of influencing the behaviors and decisions of foreign governments and people. It’s carried out through dialogue, negotiation, and other measures, excluding the use of power, war, and violence. Diplomacy is the process by which a state carries out its foreign policy. In other words, it is the means of executing foreign policy. It refers to the management of international relations by negotiations – the method/process by which the relations between nation-states are managed, regulated, or adjusted. A diplomat’s functions include representation, negotiation, reporting, and protection of interests. Even in times of war, diplomacy doesn’t cease to function, but it plays a different role in different circumstances. It’s because diplomacy is the means by which governments seek to achieve their objectives and the principles they seek to advance in international affairs. It is the application of intelligence and tact to conduct official relations between independent states’ governments.

    Nature of Diplomacy

      • Diplomacy is the chief, but not the only, instrument of foreign policy.
      • Diplomacy is the principal substitute for the use of force or underhanded methods in statecraft.
      • Diplomacy, at times, may be coercive, but it is non-violent.
      • The primary tools of diplomacy are international dialogue and negotiation, conducted by accredited envoys and other political leaders.
      • The purpose of diplomacy is to strengthen the state, nation or organization it serves.

    What are the Means of Diplomacy?

    Means of diplomacy include the followings:
      1. Persuasion
      1. Rewards
      1. Promise of reward and concessions
      1. Threat of use of force
      1. Non-violent punitive measures
      1. Use of pressure
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    What are the Functions and Roles of Diplomacy?


    A diplomat is a formal representative of his/her country in a foreign state to which he/she is accredited. Diplomats can vote in the name of their respective home governments. Hence, a diplomat must cultivate multifarious social contacts with the ranking officials of the foreign office and of foreign governments in general.


    Negotiation is the pursuit of the agreement by compromise and direct personal contact. Diplomats, by nature of their work, are negotiators. They have duties of drafting bilateral and multilateral arrangements embodied in treaties, conventions, protocols, and other documents of political, economic, and social nature.


    Reporting means the observation of political, economic, military and social conditions of the host country and the accurate transmission of the findings of the diplomats to their respective home countries.

    Protection of Interests

    Diplomats are always expected to seek to further the best interest of their own country. Yet, they must be persona grata to the government of the state they are accredited to. Their duty is to look after the interests of their country as interpreted by the policymakers back home in accordance with treaties, other international agreements, and principles of international law.


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