Diplomacy is defined as implementation of foreign policy through communication, and the ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) is the chief implementer and communicator. This article challenges the conventional definition and argues that diplomacy is relational practice in the first place. The anchoring practice of diplomacy is to make, manage and build up relations. The MFA, therefore, is the pivotal relator who, to maintain a cooperative relationship, needs to follow two principles, both inspired by ancient Chinese philosophical thinking. The first is ‘the Confucian improvement’, meaning that improvement of self-interest is possible if and only if other-interest is simultaneously improved, and the second, ‘the Mencian optimality’, holding that self-interest is best realised if and only if a community maintains optimally harmonious relations among its members. The MFA is a good implementer and communicator only if it is able to manage well complex relations in international society.
As a small, open, advanced economy, Denmark has a lot at stake in the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, the speed of emerging technologies and massive influence of multinational tech companies challenge traditional governance structures and diplomatic services around the world, creating a ‘diplomatic deficit’. That is why Denmark became the first country to appoint a Tech Ambassador and elevate technological trends to a foreign and security policy priority in mid-2017. This practitioner’s piece lays out the underlying reasoning behind engaging with the tech industry, the first-hand experiences from the initiative and some hard-won lessons before turning to the future perspectives. TechPlomacy is a political initiative with a global mandate to represent the Danish government vis-à-vis the tech industry with offices in Copenhagen, Silicon Valley and Beijing. The authors argue for new forms of coalition building engaging industry, governments and institutions in addressing the opportunities and risks of technology.
The focal point of this essay is the duration of intractable conflicts. The mere passage of time has no magical effect on conflicting notions of justice. On the contrary, a succession of crises and tensions accentuates entrenched positions concerning historical grievances. First, we present the processes through which parties defend a particular notion of justice on behalf of previous generations as rational games that depend, to a large extent, on parties’ interests. Second, we examine these processes from a moral perspective. Rather than emphasizing strategic dynamics that are based on political interpretations of the past, we focus on ethical quandaries related to the “paradoxical absence” of those who remain at the center of the justice claims. Third, we go beyond rational and moral dimensions to focus on the emotional weight of traumatic events and their long-lasting impacts on victims’ descendants.
The current context of increasing entropy in international politics poses challenges for negotiation and negotiation analysis. The current System of World Disorder contains defining characteristics that do not fit well with established negotiation concepts and practice. Following a few decades of progress in conflict management after the bipolar system, major regions of the world have seen dedicated attempts to bring conflicts under control in the current decade failing for lack of ripeness, trade-offs, reframing, mediation and support. New concepts and practices of negotiation are required to deal with the current vacua in international politics and their consequences.
This essay raises the question whether citizens in the digital age can learn from how credibility is treated in international negotiations. Negotiators face problems both in attempting to send credible signals and in making credibility assessments of received signals. Several studies, starting with Schelling’s seminal analysis of commitments, indicate that credible signals are those that are somehow costly to the sender. Contributions to our understanding of how recipients make credibility assessments include Jervis’s distinction between signals (with no inherent credibility) and indices (believed to be untainted by deception). The most general conclusion emerging from existing research is that there is no definitive, infallible solution to the problem of credibility, insofar as deception and misperception are intrinsic to all signaling systems. Today’s unfortunate combination of limited awareness of credibility problems, on the one hand, and technological advances facilitating deception, on the other, calls for intensified education as well as multidisciplinary research.
“Management of complexity” was identified as a paradigm for negotiation analysis 25 years ago. Substantial progress has been made in conceptualizing complex negotiations since, although less has been accomplished with regard to operationalizing that knowledge so that tools can be developed to manage complex negotiations. This article begins by reviewing five separate theoretical frameworks of negotiation complexity and, through this analysis, identifies six significant characteristics of negotiation complexity: party numbers, negotiator roles, external environment, negotiation process, negotiation strategy, and party relations. Operational tools are identified for each variable. On the basis of this analysis, the article concludes by identifying additional tools that could be developed for managing complex negotiations.