'Rather than being in decline, diplomacy is still an essential mechanism in managing international crises and conflicts.' Discuss in the context of the post-Cold War developments in global politics.

Essay by gilliankewUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, October 2005

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In order to answer the question of whether diplomacy is "still an essential mechanism in managing international crises and conflicts', we first need to know what diplomacy is and what diplomats do. We then need to ask ourselves whether diplomacy and diplomats are adequate to the task of meeting post cold war diplomatic objectives for international peace and security. In this essay, I will demonstrate the continuing relevance of diplomacy and its essentialness to the successful resolution of international conflicts in the post-cold war era. Diplomacy, according to Brian Hocking (2001, http://www.cisp.org/imp/july_2001/07_01hocking.htm ) can be seen as both a "process through which international relations are conducted" and "a set of mechanisms through which these processes are enacted". This involves the process of negotiation, both between the representatives of nation states and between those representatives and other non-state actors, such as the United Nations (UN) who are becoming increasingly important to the diplomatic process and its success.

The United States' (US) State Department offers a more specific definition, describing diplomacy as "an instrument of power essential for maintaining effective international relationships . . . the principal means through which the United States defends its interests, responds to crises, and achieves its international goals". This definition would equally well apply to any nation state or representative group in international relations. Diplomats are the physical manifestation of that process, the men and women who present the ideas for discussion, negotiate the treaties and agreements and work to resolve conflicts that, left unchecked, may lead to war.

Moving away from simple definitions, diplomacy can be viewed in different ways, depending on which school of thought you follow. For Realists, such as Morgenthau, diplomacy is a "symptom of the struggle for power" in an anarchic system of nation-states (Morgenthau, in Unit 5, 2002, 6). In...