«Introduction Diplomats often find international relations (IR) books strange. If they read - or more likely reread (as many Western diplomats have ...»
Paul Sharp, "Diplomacy, Diplomatic Studies, and the ISA," 11ltemational 4S Studies Perspectives, 13,2011, 718.
Ole Jacob Sending, Chapter 9, this volume.
Conclusion diplomacy as a research object - and to the way it changes - but has tended to fall back on inter-actional arguments, evaluating the interaction between state-based and non-state diplomacy. The next section discusses how Emirbayer's alternative, what he calls a trans-action perspective or relational social theory. This perspective is implicit in the way in which this book understands diplomacy.
Relationalism: diplomacy as social entanglement
In relational theory, the terms or units derive their meaning, significance, and identity from the (changing) functional roles they play within that relation. Thus, the relationship is a dynamic unfolding process. Relations become the primary unit of analysis (rather than the constituent elements themselves). Contrary to self-action and inter-action perspectives, with trans-action or relationalism, "systems of description and naming are employed to deal with aspects and phases of action, without final attribution to 'elements' or other presumptively detachable or independent 'entities,' 'essences,' or 'realities,' and without isolation of presumptively detachable 'relations' from such detachable 'elements.',,47 Examples of this way of thinking can be found for instance in Marx's understanding of class as a relational (not pre-given) phenomenon. The bourgeoisie exists only in relation to the working class. Another example is Bourdieu's field theory, which shows that social practices are never isolated activities. A human practice, for instance playing golf, cannot be understood in itself and as a practice for its own sake. People may play golf because they like to do so, but playing golf also brings "distinctive gains" (at least in the 1970s) in contrast to, for instance, rugby.48 Relationalism can also be found in Cynthia Enloe's analysis of diplomats' wives who appear as almost invisible women, but who help promote the national interest abroad and are complicit in the global injustices that produce hierarchies between the Third and the First World.49 To analytically isolate the wives from our understanding of (the male) diplomats is therefore problematic.
Dewey and Bentley, quoted in Emitbayer, "Manifesto for a Relational Sociology," 286.
Pierre Bourdieu, "Sport and Social Class," Social Science Infonnation, 17(6), 1978,828.
Cynthia Enloe, Bana/las, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of 4' International Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press 1990).
296 Rebecca Adler-Nissen Similarly, this book has shown that diplomacy is not an isolated, detached activity. 50 Tilly famously argued that "states make war and war makes states.,,51 This book adds: so does diplomacy. More specifically, diplomacy is co-constitutive of other practices. For example, Barkawi shows that diplomacy and war cannot be separated as easily as diplomatic scholars (and diplomats) suggest. The underlying rationale of the diplomatic profession may be to facilitate orderly and peaceful relations among states,5z but this is not necessarily done peacefully. As Barkawi demonstrates, the a priori (substantialist) classification of war and the juridical fiction of the state as a unitary actor hinder understanding its true nature, including the way war helps sustain a particular order. The Correlates of War project, which conducts quantitative research into the causes of warfare since the 1960s, builds on a classification of war that makes it possible to argue that the coup against Guatemala's Arbenz in 1954 was not orchestrated by the United States because "interstate war is defined as organized violence between two sovereign states involving at least one thousand battle deaths over the course of a year.,,53The international administration of war is a web of relations.54 In Hurd's chapter, it is argued that the "essentially state-centric nature of diplomacy could conceivably change if non-state actors become more central to public international law.,,55 Similarly, Seabrooke identifies change in the sense that brokers take over a number of diplomatic tasks. Importantly, but this remains more obscure, this change of actors also implies a change in the nature of diplomacy.56 Indeed, the diplomatic system cannot be defined by its structure, but by "the conflicting relations, which maintain reproduce and sometimes transform it.,,57 These conflicting relations involve soldiers, lawyers, religious groups, consultants, human right activists, In many ways, the new diplomac; literature evokes this entanglement but steers away.from an explicit theorization of it.
Charles Tilly, "War Making and State Making as Organized Crime," in Peter B. Evans, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, and Theda Skocpol, eds., Bringing the State Back In (Cambridge: Camhridge University Press, 1985), 170.
52 James Mayall, "Introduction," in Paul Sharp and Geoffrey Wiseman, The
Diplomatic Corps as all b,stit"tioll of Illtematiollal Society (New York:
Palgrave, 2007), 6.
53 Tarak Barkawi, Chapter 2, this volume. 54 Ibid.
ss Ian Hurd, Chapter 1, this volume.
56 Leonard Seabrooke, Chapter 7, this volume.
57 James Ocr Dcrian, 011 Diplomacy: A Genealogy of Westem Estrallgement (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987).
Conclusion 297 citizens, and a range of other people. Diplomacy is deeply entangled with other practices, and it is not separate from the states it helps constitute. Consequently, the distinction between war and diplomacy (which is so central to most theories of diplomacy) is problematic. This brings us back to diplomatic studies' somewhat rosy account of diplomacy, which this book has begun to undermine.
Diplomacy beyond the mediation of estrangement If diplomacy is as deeply entangled in world politics as this book suggests, it raises the question of whether diplomacy can still be seen as the mediation of estrangement, or if that notion risks concealing more than it reveals. I understand mediation in Der Derian's abstract way as the mediation of distinct identities,58 not as the concrete practice of third-party mediation between two or more conflicting parties in terms of reconciliation that Neumann analyzes.59 This book, while steering away from an explicit definition of diplomacy, adopts a mediation perspective on diplomacy, in insisting with Sharp that diplomacy requires a "condition of separateness.,,60 Diplomacy is about constituting and representing states as separate units.61 Indeed, a classic argument in diplomatic theory (and in diplomatic self-understanding) is that diplomats are essentially mediators. Previously, Neumann has described diplomacy as a third culture, that is, a culture for mediation between political entities with diverse cultures.62 Similarly, Sharp's diplomatic theory of international relations insists on diplomacy
necessarily leads to their alienation from one another. This means that they can only recognize themselves or the others completely, if the principle of universality works. The diplomatic process arguably resembles the necessity of mediation between identities being left in the confusion about themselves and others, in which constant cognition and recognition of the actors is in place at all times.
Iver B. Neumann, Chapter 5, this volume.
Paul Sharp, Diplomatic Theory orIntemational Relations (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Ole Jacob Sending, Chapter 9, this volume.
Neumann, "To Be a Diplomat."
Rebecca Adler-Nissen retammg separateness between entIties, individuals, cultures, and states.63 For Hall and Jonsson, diplomacy is "a timeless, existential phenomenon.,,64 It is constitutive of any international society and at the most abstract level, "diplomacy can be analyzed as the mediation of universalism and particularism.,,65Somewhat similarly, Sending and Neumann argue that diplomacy "derives its strength in part from allowing disagreement and contestation, also over the appropriate form and content of diplomacy in different situations.,,66 As Sending puts it, "diplomacy constitutes a 'thin' inter-subjective space inasmuch as it includes a minimum standard, or expectations, to 'keep on talking.",67 There is a great deal of ambivalence in these different calls for acknowledging diplomacy as a mediating practice, from the English School pluralists (Bull and Butterfield) to Constantinou's poststructuralist calls for humanism in diplomacy.68 They range from pragmatic system maintenance to more uncompromising attempts to sustain "global hope" and "restore diplomacy as a virtue.,,69 In Lynch's account, religio-theological debates give a primary role to diplomacy to mediate and manage the tension between universalist (Christianity) and particularist authority claims (state sovereignty) as well as between the Christian and the non-Christian other. 70 As she demonstrates, the quest for universalism can be envisaged in very different ways (from cosmopolitanism tp moral leadership or more pessimistic forms of system maintaining), leading to different forms of mediation (with different moral and political agendas) and consequently different forms of diplomacy.
However, the scholarly defense of diplomacy's (postulated) ability to mediate distinct ideas or world visions is problematic. While mediation Sharp, Diplomatic Theory of International Relations.
Jonsson and Hall, Essence of Diplomacy, 3.
Ibid., 25. Emphasis in original.
Ole Jacob Sending and Iver B.Neumann, "Banking on Power: How Some Practices in an International Organization Anchor Others," in Emanuel Adler and Vincent Pouliot, cds., International Practices (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 236.
Ole Jacob Sending, this Chapter 9, volume.
Constantinou, "Between Statecraft and Humanism."
•• Costas M. Constantinou and James Der Derian, "Sustaining Global Hope:
Sovereignty, Power and the Transformation of Diplomacy," in Costas M. Constantinou and James Der Derian, eds., Sustainable Diplomacies (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010),3.
70 Cecelia Lynch, Chapter 6, this volume.
Conclusion may sound like a relational idea, it often conceals inter-actionist assumptions, failing to fully access how diplomatic ideas and practices of mediation themselves are productive of particular politics. While we may agree with the importance of separation or respect for differences, we need to dissect carefully the idea that diplomacy always equals mediation of estrangement.
Ambassador White's account may serve again as illustration.
Whether the negotiations concerned regulation of sugar trade, imperialism in North Africa, or agriculture, the Ambassador recalls that "a certain amount of kindly hospitality was exceedingly efficacious in greasing the wheels of the conference, as I have so often known it to be in the settlement of other diplomatic questions.,,71 Ambassador White represented the United States in the Algeciras Conference in 1906, addressing the Tangier crisis (Germany had attempted to prevent France from establishing a protectorate over Morocco). The chief concern of most delegates was that the conference should not break up without an agreement, as this would possibly lead to war. The US
ambassador reports the following:
I felt at the time, and have felt ever since, that it was owing to the perpetual exchange of views which rook place day after day between the delegates outside the conference, and consequently, informally, and to the agreeable and intimate personal relations which could hardly fail to be established between a number of men of the world meeting all day long for three months, that all friction at the formal sessions was avoided, in spite of an amount of tension in the atmosphere prevalent almost to the end, and very difficult to realize by anyone who was not present.72 For the diplomat, "substance" is important, but in the end "the perpetual exchange of views" is crucial. "Greasing the wheels" is still a fitting metaphor for how diplomats think of their job. This reflects the White et aI., "The Organization and Procedureof the Third Hague 7' Conference," 182, emphasisadded. The focuson greasingthe wheelshelps explain conflicts between line ministries and foreign ministries that disagree on whether "relations to foreign powers" arc important, or whether "substance" regarding agriculture, environment, energy - or even security and defense - is more important. Thomas Nowotny, Diplomacy alld Global Govemallce: The Diplomatic Service ill all Age of Worldwide Illterdepelldellce,. (NewBrunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers,2012).
For diplomats, nothing is more important than process.
White et aI., "The Organization and Procedureof the Third Hague Conference," 183-184.
300 1124-~ rOOlYl\"SICIJ?~EWI61SlI'1w.llR!lNGfOlDffilSENGm!1t"""'.""JD 145lDiS41PM
form of governance. This is perhaps most evident in Pouliot's account of multilateral "group diplomacy" or PRIO cliques. Pouliot (and several other contributors to this book) approach diplomacy sociologically, identifying strategic moves in a Bourdieusian sense. Consequently, when Pouliot talks about how "multilateral diplomacy involves addressing multiples audiences simultaneously,,,76 he also sh9wS the sociological impossibility of a sharp distinction between representation and governance. A great deal of "information asymmetry" exists in multilateral arenas that have grown increasingly complex and technical. The multilateral scene is secluded from home capitals, and yet it still features diplomats promoting national interests. In the ED, this turns into a form of late sovereign diplomacy?7 The practice of "joining the consensus" that Pouliot analyzes is not entirely the same as the mediation "that allow[s] life to go on when major differences persist.,,78 Instead, permanent representatives in different multilateral venues "develop a stake in the success of multilateral ism itself, they,seek to help their partners in trouble, and they contribute to the collective effort at compromise." 79 This form of diplomacy, while it involves "keep on talking" transcends national representation. It is in itself a form of global governance. In her analysis of the Concert of Europe and the effect of forum talks - that is, repeated face-to-face diplomacy - Mitzen concludes that even a world state requires a "diplomatic moment.,,80 This might have been the case in the nineteenth century, but is it still the case?