Diplomacy: The Dialogue between States

Diplomacy: The Dialogue between States

Diplomacy: The Dialogue between States

Diplomacy: The Dialogue between States

Excerpt

The international relations scene has inevitably changed since this book was published some twenty years ago. Certain changes are obvious. The Soviet Union and Western Germany no longer exist, so that where the text of the book says 'the Soviet Union is,' a textual updating would make it read 'the Soviet Union was.' There have also been more significant changes in the conduct of diplomacy, which require some comment.

The question therefore arises, whether the text itself needs revising to reflect these changes. I have concluded, with my publisher's concurrence, that on balance we should leave the text as it stands. It is after all a survey that covers the practices in many states' systems over the centuries and the theoretical assumptions that have underlain these practices. All these systems have been subject to continuous change in the same ways as our present international society. Modifying certain references to the contemporary scene would not alter the substance of the book and would be largely cosmetic. The changes that need clarification are indicated in this preface. Some have been suggested by other scholars, others reflect my own developing perceptions.

The significant changes fall into three broad categories. First, the pattern of the international system. The world has ceased to be dominated by two rival blocs: the loose hegemony of the United States and the tighter Soviet control amounting almost to dominion. We now have a unipolar American hegemony and its attendant discontents, with signs of an emerging collective authority of the world's strongest powers. Second, new technologies have continued to shift the channels of the diplomatic dialogue, making direct communications and meetings between heads of government and other makers of policy ever easier and more frequent, and the role of resident ambassadors less prominent. And third, the scope and subject matter of diplomacy are expanding. Negotiation and cooperation between governments and nongovernmental

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