The Art Of Diplomacy

The Art Of Diplomacy

In the Red Corner, we have the President of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, and in the Blue Corner (but wearing a red tie) is another President, Donald Trump. Both have red buttons to push. Both have ego issues. Both have said they’re open to a diplomatic pow-wow.

In encouraging signs, Kim has dismantled some of his weapons-testing capabilities. No such initiatives from the Trump side. He’s decided to engage in war games with South Korea. Understandably, this has upset Kim and imperilled the pow-wow.

Or – was it clever? Will Rogers once said that diplomacy was the art of saying “nice doggie” until you can find a rock. Is this Trump picking up a rock? You make the call.

The world of international diplomacy can teach us a thing or two about settling disputes in day-to-day life. More particularly, it can teach us what NOT to do. Let’s have a look at some different types of diplomacy.

PREVENTATIVE DIPLOMACY heads off potential conflict before it happens. Think - keeping open communication, obtaining frequent feedback, explaining “why”.

SOFT POWER DIPLOMACY exerts influence through a hearts and mind campaign. Be nice, serve ‘Tim Tams’, work on your EQ skills.

PUBLIC DIPLOMACY seeks to win support from the other party’s support base (the public). Obtain lots of “likes” from the other side.

COUNTERINSURGENCY DIPLOMACY uses advisors and tactical support from powerful sources. This translates into initiatives such as using mediators and counsellors.

ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY uses foreign aid and trade embargos. Transmuted into normal life, this means using financial leverage and pointing out the economic benefits of reaching an agreement.

GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY uses intimidation. In an age made sensitive to victimhood, this is best avoided. It can be cause legal problems – and, quite frankly, it’s not nice.

NUCLEAR DIPLOMACY exercises the mutually assured destruction (MAD) argument. Last ditch stuff. But, there can be merit in pointing out the doomsday scenario for both parties if things don’t go right.

As some unknown wit once remarked, diplomacy is the art of telling someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. As a learnt art-form, it has its uses as much in business and domestic life as it has on the world stage.

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