Habitat III and Mrs. Dalloway

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Blog · Comments ( 0 )

An interesting recent article about the UN’s Habitat III global summit and the confluence of old and new diplomacy

Habitat III impasse resolved with Mexico, Philippines to lead talks
Still, observers increasingly worried about time lost for New Urban Agenda negotiations.
Greg Scruggs

June 9, 2016

UNITED NATIONS — A political impasse that had stalled progress on negotiations toward the New Urban Agenda, the outcome strategy of this year’s Habitat III conference on urbanization, has been resolved with the appointment of diplomats from Mexico and the Philippines as co-facilitators of the talks.

Starting immediately, their task is to shepherd the delicate process of transforming the first draft of the document into a text ready to be negotiated word by word in the hopes of reaching consensus by the time the conference begins in October. Such an achievement would allow the gathering in Quito, Ecuador, to serve largely as a victory lap focused on implementation rather an ongoing exercise in hard-nosed diplomacy.

The selection resolved a two-week stalemate that prevented the preparation of an updated version of the New Urban Agenda following the first round of intergovernmental negotiations last month. Thus far, the Habitat III process has been guided by France’s Maryse Gautier and Ecuador’s María Duarte, who are the co-chairs of the 10-member Habitat III Bureau and had also been serving as co-facilitators.

During last month’s negotiations, however, a Nigerian diplomat called for new co-facilitators with the autonomy to take the reins of the negotiating process. That request, which the Bureau acceded to, prompted a search that did not immediately yield fruit. As early as this past Friday, Citiscope confirmed that the Philippines had taken the job on behalf of the Global South. But a counterpart — traditionally, for balance, a country from the Global North — was not forthcoming.

Sources close to the process indicated that Italy, Norway, Sweden, Romania and Australia had all been considered or were asked directly. But each either was deemed unsuitable or rejected the offer.

“It’s not that simple to jump into a heavy process,” European Union diplomat Isabelle Delattre told Citiscope by way of explanation for the difficulty in finding a second co-facilitator. In other words, it would have been easier embark upon a leadership role from the outset, rather than joining in partway through when much of the work has already been done by other parties.

By late Tuesday night, the Bureau had successfully convinced Mexico to step into the role. While not a traditional Global North country, Mexico is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); it is also the only Latin American country other than Ecuador to have hosted two Habitat III meetings.

The announcement came just in time, as the second round of informal negotiations was scheduled to begin Wednesday. With Mexico on board, those talks were able to proceed, with the two new co-facilitators taking the dais and the Bureau co-chairs formally stepping aside from the facilitation role. (Gautier was present; Duarte was not.)

No new draft

The two co-facilitators bring significant diplomatic experience to the process. Lourdes Ortiz Yparraguirre is the permanent representative of the Philippines to the United Nations, having come to New York after an ambassadorial post and several stints as permanent representative to U. N. agencies in Vienna. Dámaso Luna Corona, the adjunct director general for sustainable development in Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, was his country’s lead negotiator during the Rio+20 process that led to the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Yparraguirre immediately called for this week’s negotiations to result in “a meeting of the minds” that would yield “converge points”, or agreements between member states, in order to form the basis of a constructive way forward.

Luna Corona reminded delegates, “The New Urban Agenda must fit into the SDG framework, and all of its provisions with regards to sustainable development need to complement the SDGs over the next 20 years.”

While the appointment of co-facilitators points to a way forward for the Habitat III process, member states were swift to make their displeasure known about the delays. Based on terms announced by Gautier during the May negotiations, a new draft of the New Urban Agenda had been expected by 27 May.

In turn, that document should have served as a basis for this week’s three-day negotiating session. Instead, all that was delivered to delegates ahead of Wednesday’s resumption of talks was a 104-page compilation of inputs received thus far. Member states said this was a useful reference but hardly equivalent to a revised negotiating text.

“We cannot neglect the significance of not having a revised draft declaration for this meeting,” said Canada’s Berthe Bourque. “Canada must stress the importance of the Bureau in playing a leadership role in ensuring that the negotiations of the New Urban Agenda proceed, and we look forward to continuing this process in a timely manner.”

The European Union and the Group of 77 developing countries (G77) plus China — traditionally opposed blocs in U. N. negotiations — struck a note of agreement on this topic. “It is regrettable that we have lost precious time in the last weeks,” said Delattre. “It is time that we make the best use of the negotiations to come up with an ambitious New Urban Agenda.”

Thailand’s Thanavon Pamaranon, speaking on behalf of the G77, said, “The Group is of the view that given the time limitations, we urgently need to change gear and significantly accelerate our progress towards the final Quito outcome.” Thailand currently is the head of the G77.

However, with no new text to work from, member states were forced to refer to the New Urban Agenda’s first draft, which was published in early May.

A few countries did offer some enhanced comments. Jamaica’s Nicola Barker-Murphy, notably, provided detailed tweaks to the preamble, which it is coordinating for the G77.
Yet the overall sentiment was one of frustration with the lack of a new draft. “At this point we should be negotiating the text word by word, paragraph by paragraph, something that will not be done this week,” said Brazil’s Carlos Cuenca. “I must stress that we don’t want the intergovernmental process to somehow get derailed.”

Slowed by ‘distrust’

While there are bumps in any political negotiation, seasoned U. N. observers have expressed concern about the state of affairs in which Habitat III finds itself.

“We’ve had lots of dysfunction in every process,” said Christopher Dekki, a policy officer with the Communitas Coalition. But in the case of Habitat III, he said, “Distrust pervades the process.”

In Dekki’s estimation, “blame should be equally shared” for the current negotiating climate. The recent impasse was the result of a “collective problem”, he said, not the fault of any one party.

In recent negotiations that Dekki has followed closely, such as those around the SDGs, he said he observed more mutual respect and genuine dialogue between member states and non-governmental stakeholders. By contrast, he said: “I feel like everyone involved in [Habitat III] is talking past each other. It seems the urgency of the topic is being missed.”

Meanwhile, stakeholders who have spent months preparing for this moment with the hopes of influencing the New Urban Agenda have also struggled with the muddled situation. During last month’s negotiations, for example, the Russian Federation questioned the participation of stakeholders in the process, despite a U. N. General Assembly resolution on Habitat III authorizing their role.

That issue remains unresolved. In her opening remarks this week, Yparraguirre said that stakeholders would be given the floor. But later the negotiations were temporarily halted at the request of the G77 — which may affect that plan.

“Compared to other processes, it’s concerning that we are not clearly applying the agreed procedure and protocol,” said Katia Araújo, who has eight years’ worth of experience in following U. N. negotiations on behalf of NGOs.


The new co-facilitators are also fighting the clock, as the Habitat III conference is now set to start in just over four months. A more immediate deadline is the third and final preparatory meeting — the site of formal negotiations — in Indonesia at the end of July.

Many hope the Indonesia sessions will be able to make as much progress as possible on finalizing the New Urban Agenda, in order to avoid having the text come down to the wire in Quito. Yet the less progress that is made in New York in the coming month, the more the Indonesia talks will be forced to take on.

Yet the time currently on the diplomatic calendar to negotiate the New Urban Agenda is limited. Given that this week’s negotiations are not working from a revised text, actual line-by-line negotiations will have only three days of informal negotiations — currently scheduled from 29 June to July 1 — as well as three days in Indonesia. With four more days available in Quito, that’s a total of just 10 days to finalize a major negotiated document — one that is supposed to set the global urbanization agenda for the next two decades.

It is possible that member states will call for additional informal negotiating days, but that remains to be seen.

It is useful to compare the current process with the last Habitat conference, which took place in Istanbul in 1996. At this stage in the run-up to Habitat II, there were 26 more negotiating days still on the calendar — both the third preparatory negotiations and Habitat II itself included 10 such days each. That said, the document that emerged from Istanbul was the 109-page Habitat Agenda, versus the comparatively leaner 22-page New Urban Agenda first draft.

Such a calculation may ultimately provide enough negotiating time for the New Urban Agenda to maintain its current format — a preamble, a declaration, and a detailed implementation plan including follow-up and review. But structural adjustments to the document could also be in the cards.

Whatever the outcome, the most vocal member states are repeatedly urging that the process move forward, because time is of the essence. The United States’ Ian Klaus used a literary allusion to make that point.

“The ringing clock of Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs Dalloway” that tracks the movement of time in the city continues apace,” he said. “This negotiation is an opportunity for the member states to take leadership on how urbanization will happen. Unnecessary time lost on politics and process is time lost on delivering an ambitious New Urban Agenda which can helps shape the future of urbanization.”

Review of R. Kolb, Commentaire sur le Pacte de la Société des Nations

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Blog · Comments ( 0 )

Robert Kolb, dir. Commentaire sur le Pacte de la Société des Nations (Brussels: Bruylant, 2015).

Reviewed by Steffen Rimner, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University

This book belongs to that rare and virtuous type of scholarship which delivers more than it promises. It represents the only comprehensive study of the League of Nations Covenant since 1939 and one of the most critical guides to the foundations, activities and lessons of the League of Nations in general.[1] Although the commentary is chiefly directed at scholars and practitioners engaged in international law and international organizations, first and foremost in the orbit of U.N. agencies, historians will not regret receiving this tome of 1,410 pages as a gift to their profession, for nothing less it is. To most historians, it will be a gift from strangers. The majority of the contributors hold positions in law across universities and institutes in France, Britain, Italy, Belgium, Turkey and Germany. Of special note is Francophone Switzerland which stands out as a research hub and where the mastermind of this project, Robert Kolb, serves as Professor of International Public Law at the University of Geneva. Much to its credit, the collection eschews Eurocentric analyses, despite the contributors’ distinctly European affiliations. Given that the Asia Pacific region is currently facing challenges eerily similar to those confronted by the League of Nations, the frequent and fitting appearances of Japan and China are as welcome as they are essential.

Whereas the quality of the analyses is high throughout, the length of the chapters is more uneven. Some contributions offer succinct commentaries of a Covenant article on ten pages. Giovanni Distefano’s interpretation of Article 22 features a miniature monograph across more than 160 pages, emphasizing that the “sacred trust of civilisation” that assigned colonies to the Mandate System remains as relevant to international law and politics as it is to international history.[2] Each chapter provides a commentary on far more than the production and initial purpose of a Covenant article. The discussions assess the changing uses and the political significance of each article, with a focus on transitions to the U.N. system. All analyses draw extensively on historical literature. The bulk of referenced articles and books stems from the 1920s and 1930s. Numerous chapters connect those historical discussions to legal scholarship from the post-Cold War era. Overall, the references are dominated by the much-ignored universe of Francophone literature on the League.

This collection teaches us far more than a formalistic understanding of the twenty-six Covenant articles. Supplementary chapters discuss the League’s own documentation machinery, public opinion, juridical personality, economic and financial organization, the League’s initiatives in world health and environmental law, the protection of minorities, direct territorial administration, the pacific settlement of disputes, the legitimacy of national self-defense and peacekeeping. This panoply of international and transnational politics across the twentieth century speaks to the current concerns of global historical research. One example among many is the intersection of regionalism and global governance, illustrated by the long series of League withdrawals of Costa Rica in 1925 and Brazil in 1926, followed by Paraguay in 1935, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua in 1936, El Salvador in 1937, Venezuela in 1938, Peru in 1939 and Haiti in 1942.

The Covenant of the League of Nations, contrary to the clichés attached to the institution, has not altogether vanished from contemporary world politics. As the more than thirty contributors argue convincingly, the Covenant represented the founding document of “international organization,” a concept, we might add, that was more capacious and less “beleaguered” than the postwar idea of global governance. The negotiations over competing Covenant blueprints provided a crucial template for creating the U.N. Charter. As Florian Couveinhes-Matsumoto explains, the French Covenant proposals exerted greater influence on the U.N. Charter than on the Covenant itself (74-75). After the Second World War, initiatives in multilateral economic stabilization, crisis resolution, arbitration and elsewhere drew actively on League precedents, even if international publicity and international history has largely avoided acknowledging the historical element in policy planning and privileged instead its novelty and real-time response. By way of serving as a serious reminder of youthful aberrations, however, the League framework possesses a legacy that could be considered posthumous, if that term would not reassert the now almost proverbial, if misleading, morbidity of the institution. Even the roads not taken by the League continued to inform the contours of postwar international cooperation. Of equal significance for historians and political scientists, the critical engagement with League weaknesses by officials in Geneva, member states around the world and outsiders like the United States defy the caricature of interwar idealists blinded by their own love of international peace and harmony. Starting with the Paris Peace Conference, continuing throughout the life of the League and surviving into the U.N. era, the questions of adjudicating international justice, of ameliorating the abuse of economic and political power in a hierarchical world and of the military means necessary for international security were subject to intense, professional and protracted negotiations. The rigorous evidence conveyed in this collection does not confirm a League roused from its naïve slumber when Japan, Germany and Italy decided to take the world apart. It had been awake since its birth and remained so for years to come.

Every scholar and practitioner engaged in the study of sovereignty, international conflict and cooperation, the fragmentation of international law, human rights, global justice and a host of other problems of our time will benefit from this reference work which is unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon. The fact that the only English chapter is surrounded by more than three dozen in French should not deter readers. This book offers the opportunity for scholars to break down barriers of active and passive isolationism and to recognize that international, interdisciplinary and multi-lingual cooperation is very much in their own interest, just as it was for officials at the League.

New Diplomatic History: Call for Papers, University of Copenhagen 11/2016

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Announcements · Comments ( 0 )

Call for Papers
Borders, Networks, and Organisations through the 20th Century
2nd Conference of the New Diplomatic History Network
Centre for Modern European Studies, University of Copenhagen
24-26 November 2016
Confirmed Keynotes:
Noe Cornago (University of the Basque Country)
Iver Neumann (LSE)
Geoff Pigman

This conference aims to gather together scholars from all relevant disciplines who have diplomacy as their main subject of interest. The New Diplomatic History (NDH) network was founded several years ago to promote the study of diplomacy, diplomats, their institutions, and the cultural, political and social contexts which shape them and in which they function. This ‘rediscovery’ of diplomacy and the diplomat has involved reassessing the role and identities of those involved in the diplomatic realm, and how the distinctions between official state diplomats and non-state actors have become blurred. This involves both a ‘broadening’ and a ‘deepening’ of diplomatic studies: a widening of its field of interest, and a focusing of its attention on the individual, the particular and the ephemeral. NDH therefore welcomes the introduction of approaches from cultural studies and the social sciences, and promotes the use of new methods from oral history, prosopography, memory studies, gender studies, discourse analysis, the sociology of knowledge, musicology, the study of emotions, gastronomy, network theory, and the digital humanities to open up new fields of diplomatic investigation.

Special attention is also given to the ‘digital revolution’ in the storage of and production of knowledge. How do we write diplomatic history in a digital age? Sources are being digitized and new digital research tools being developed, and from the 1990s onwards we are dealing with sources that were born digital. How do we handle the challenges of vast amounts of (new) data, how do we critically engage with new kinds of sources, and what opportunities does ‘big data’ offer?

In order to provide structure to this wide variety of approaches, this conference is organised around three broad themes:

1) Borders of Bureaucracy, Diplomacy and Politics
This theme covers the transformation of diplomatic, bureaucratic and political practices in national, transnational and international settings through the last century. How have responsibilities, competences, and norms developed in the field of diplomacy through professionalization and multilateralisation? How have these processes played out and interlinked at the national, transnational and international levels? How should we understand and interpret the changing behavior, rituals, and semiotics of diplomatic activity?

2) The Rise of Global Civil Society and the Role of Transnational Networks
This theme explores how diplomats and ministries of foreign affairs have disputed, adhered to or incorporated competences and discourses from an increasingly global civil society. Transnational networks, social movements and cross-border alliances have transformed the spaces and settings of international politics, particularly through effective media techniques and the use of digital technologies. Many of them have adopted or assumed ‘diplomatic roles’, either in alliance with foreign ministries or entirely separate from them. Are new forms of diplomacy and new diplomatic actors being established? How have diplomacy and diplomats responded to these changes? Has diplomacy as a practice been radically altered?

3) Europe, International Organisations and Diplomacy
This theme investigates how diplomatic practices, responsibilities and norms have changed with the growth of international organisations, and how in turn diplomats have contributed to establishing, shaping, hindering, and running them. In particular, it is evident that the processes of European integration have generated new arenas for diplomatic interaction, both enhancing the political role of the diplomat but also transmuting diplomatic loyalties over time. European integration has reconstituted the very fabric of diplomacy. But how, when and to what degree? How have other international and regional organisations changed, and been changed by, diplomacy?

Call for Papers
All paper and panel proposals that address the above subject-areas are welcome. Please send 300-word proposals, together with a one-page CV, to the conference email:
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2016
Organising Committee:
Karen Gram-Skjoldager (Aarhus University)
Haakon Ikonomou (Aarhus University)
Dino Knudsen (University of Copenhagen)
Marianne Rostgaard (Aalborg University)
Giles Scott-Smith (Leiden University)

Paris Conference: J.-B. Duroselle & P. Renouvin

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Announcements · Comments ( 0 )

“Pierre Renouvin, Jean-Baptiste Duroselle (1917-2017): The Building of an academic field, the History of International Relations”
Paris, June 8-10, 2017
Deadline: 1st June 2016

Co-organizers: L. Badel (Professor, Panthéon Sorbonne University), R. Frank (Professor Emeritus, Panthéon Sorbonne University), A. Marès (Professor, Panthéon Sorbonne University), G.-H. Soutou (Professor Emeritus, Académie des sciences morales et politiques), M. Vaïsse (Professor Emeritus, Institut d’études politiques, Paris)

Supported by the Labex EHNE, the BDIC and the Mission du Centenaire

As is well known, the First World War influenced the lives of Pierre Renouvin and Jean-Baptiste Duroselle. It left its mark on their personal, institutional and academic lives. Aged twenty four, the former was seriously injured at the Chemin des Dames in 1917. The latter was born in that very year and would be “haunted” his whole life long by the memory of the Grande Guerre des Français to which he devoted his last book in 1994. A generation separates them but both their names are brought together on the title page of the book “Introduction à l’histoire des relations Internationales” published in 1964. This book is dedicated to a field, which, as with other humanities and social sciences, was born from the intellectual turmoil that marked the First World War. Neither intended to be a mausoleum in memory of both French historians, nor an hagiographic account of a specific French historical “school,” this conference aims to situate the intellectual and academic career of these two historians within the intellectual debates. It will focus on the birth and the development of an academic area: the History of International Relations. The methodical building of this new academic area will be thoroughly examined, in particular through its interaction with other fields of the human and social sciences.

The careers of P. Renouvin and J.-B. Duroselle cannot be isolated from their social and political environment. Far from being confined to an ivory tower, they took part in the intellectual battles which left their mark on these decades (such as the criticism from Lucien Febvre or Marcel Merle). Deeply rooted within a French and Francophone field, they built transnational academic and political networks, which extended beyond France and Europe. Historians firmly engaged in the debates of their time (the role of Germany in the outbreak of the First World War; the Cold War; European construction), they practised an instant history, at the heart of the institutional struggles in France or worked to resolve them. Thus in order to understand fully their distinctiveness these two historians need to be studied in the context in which they lived, worked and taught. Having principally devoted their research and reflexions to Europe and its peoples, they did not however neglect other continents. Academics, but teachers first of all, they taught whole generations in France and abroad who were indelibly marked by their lectures. As researchers, they opened up research paths that their students have followed and deepened. Members of the intellectual establishment of their time, both men accumulated honours and responsibilities: their political networks will be brought to light.

At the beginning of a twenty-first century marked by the flourishing of global history, this conference will be the place for a free and specific debate on the character, subjects, sources and particular approaches of international history. This conference aims to offer a comparative and transnational approach of their itineraries, combining a thematic and a biographical approach.

We particularly welcome papers from foreign historians and scholars from other academic fields.

Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:

The wars and their influence upon:
-academic careers
-institutional careers
-public and private writings
-the place of the military and strategic questions in their work

The institutionalization of international relations, a mark of the new influence
of the United States
-Diplomatic history and history of international relations
-reforms, new academic fields and academic chairs
-key role of American foundations (Carnegie, Rockfeller, Ford);
-Swiss and Italian collaboration
-The United States in the writings of P. Renouvin and J.-B. Duroselle

Sources, publishing and teamwork
-The Documents diplomatiques français
-Documentation as a source of action (Commission des archives

Translation, transmission and reception
-The construction of an academic field: the history of international relations
-The building of a library: la Bibliothèque de documentation internationale contemporaine
-The publications: la Revue d’histoire de la Guerre
mondiale, L’Année politique, Relations internationales
-The establishment of an academic chair
-Topics of degree courses
-Masters and followers (Tuesday evening workshop of J.-B. Duroselle)
-The birth of the CERI (Fondation nationale des Sciences politiques)
-The institutional consecration : the académiciens des Sciences morales
et politiques

Europe and the world
-The “Asia” of Pierre Renouvin
-“Europe” as seen by P. Renouvin and J.B. Duroselle
-The United States of J.-B. Duroselle

Public action of both French scholars
-Academic and institutional struggles
-Pierre Renouvin during the Second World War
-Jean-Baptiste Duroselle during the Second World War
-Catholic and Christian-Democrat networks of Jean-Baptiste Duroselle
-Renouvin, the Dean and the creation of research centers at the Sorbonne
-The University of Vincennes and Jean-Baptiste Duroselle
-The “Europeist” action of Jean-Baptiste Duroselle and May 1968

These topics are not restrictive and each submission will be considered

The conference languages will be English and French. Regardless of language, all proposals will receive due consideration.

The deadline for paper proposals is: 1st June 2016
Please send your proposal (abstract in English or French of no more than 500
words and short CV) to Andrea Martignoni: martignoni.andrea@yahoo.fr

Scientific Advisory Board of the Conference:
Laurence Badel (professor, Panthéon Sorbonne University),
Andrew Barros (professor, Université du Québec à Montréal),
Eric Bussière (director, UMR Sorbonne-IRICE),
Antoine Fleury (professor emeritus, Geneva University),
Robert Frank (professor emeritus, Panthéon Sorbonne University),
John Keiger (professor, Cambridge University),
Peter Jackson (professor, Glasgow University),
Thomas Maissen (director, Deutsches Historisches Institut, Paris),
Antoine Marès (professor, Panthéon Sorbonne University),
Antoine Prost (president, scientific board of the Bibliothèque de documentation internationale contemporaine, Paris),
Matthias Schulz (professor, Geneva University),
Georges-Henri Soutou (professor emeritus, Académie des sciences morales et politiques, Paris),
Arnold Suppan (professor, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien),
Valérie Tesnière (director, Bibliothèque de documentation internationale contemporaine, Paris),
Maurice Vaïsse (professor emeritus, Institut d’études politiques, Paris),
Antonio Varsori (professor, Padova University),
Andreas Wirsching (director, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, München)

Emotional Diplomacy

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Blog · Comments ( 0 )

Todd H. Hall Emotional Diplomacy: Official Emotion on the International Stage (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2015).

Reviewed by Steffen Rimner, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University

With a study that is rife with political lessons and rich with analytic achievements, Todd H. Hall has done more than one profession a great service. Combining rationalist and constructivist political science with contemporary history, he defines “emotional diplomacy” as “coordinated state-level behavior that explicitly and officially projects the image of a particular emotional response toward other states.” (2) Hall’s concept expands the study of state-level encounters, specifically among heads of state, by focusing on the premises, expressions and consequences of emotional practice as an element of political competence. The analysis can be summarized as follows. Before an official consensus or a shared perception between two or more officials has necessarily emerged, the initial act of emotional diplomacy communicates “that a normatively significant boundary has been crossed.” (4) This signal prepares the ground for the practice of emotional diplomacy, on the premise that the recipient does not discount it “as strictly instrumental” (8). At its most basic, then, the book points to the trust that can bind the signaler and the recipient (or “target”) into communicative engagement, with the hope of reaching a normative rapprochement. That trust does not prevent but rather enables the further, political use of emotional diplomacy. Targets can choose to “discredit it or elicit further substantive action, or alternatively […] to entrap its authors.” (6) In other words, emotional diplomacy can be both the quid and the quo of a quid pro quo; its deployment is interactive rather than unilateral.

To the author’s credit, the book travels between the lofty heights of conceptual abstraction and the empirical ground where case studies test political performance. Emotional diplomacy – “a completely different animal from personal emotion” – forages through a variety of habitats. Following a conceptual outline, Chapter 2 on “the Diplomacy of Anger” presents a lucid reconstruction of the Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995-96. China’s military response to the visit by Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui to Cornell in June 1995 was a response rife with the Chinese vocabulary of indignation (bianyici such as fenkai and yifen). The chapter identifies the factors that raised and lowered the political temperature and explains the long-term impact of the crisis. Chapter 3 on “the Diplomacy of Sympathy” reminds us that the first international leader to call the White House after 9/11 was none other than Vladimir Putin. His expression of solidarity was replete with the international vocabulary of condolence. Condoleezza Rice recalled in her 2011 memoirs that “I thanked him, and for one brief moment the thought flashed through my head: the Cold War really is over.” (80)

In many ways at the heart of this book, Chapter 4 reevaluates the history of the Luxembourg Agreement of 1952. Held in secret to prevent assassination plots by Jewish extremists, as Hall tells us, the diplomatic agreement brought together Israel’s foreign minister Moshe Sharett, Nahum Goldmann of the Jewish Claims Conference and Konrad Adenauer, the German chancellor. It designated 3.45 billion Deutschmarks worth of goods and services to flow from Germany to Israel with the explicit purpose of making amends. Needless to say that the human lives and suffering of the Shoah cannot be smoothly translated into monetary value, if they can be translated at all. The strictly political significance of the Luxembourg Agreement, however, is undeniable. How exceptional was the agreement? Hall’s more recent forays into its applicability to East Asian reconciliation still leave open many questions about the cross-cultural conditions of political lessons.

In his last chapter, Hall offers useful forays into the further potential of emotional diplomacy, providing snapshots of the Cambodian attacks on Thailand’s embassy in Phnom Penh in 2003 and Ecuador’s protest against Colombia’s attack on a FARC insurgent camp in 2008, among others. Throughout, his questions and explanations draw our attention to the very terms of political engagement and why these terms can shift substantially during and after experiences of crisis. In political emergencies, above all, the stakes for all sides are higher than during intervals of perceived routine. In such moments, the absence of an appropriate signaling of emotional diplomacy can carry greater risks, chiefly because the state primarily affected by the emergency finds itself already in an emotional mode of heightened sensitivity.

Curious historians, in particular, may wish to know by whom emotional diplomacy is “coordinated.” Which advisors, confidantes, friends or spouses help invent, recommend, mandate and synchronize emotional diplomacy, prior to the regular, top-down missives by a head of state that Hall aptly calls the script? Who wrote the script? Human beings, as Hall reminds us, “do not divest themselves of emotional experience by becoming policymakers.” (8) Even so, not all official emotion necessarily finds its way directly from the presidential heart to an ambassadorial assignment of appropriate behavior. It is, however, in the very interest of those compelled to deploy “emotional diplomacy” to keep the deliberate dramaturgy and the bureaucracy of emotional decision-making off the record. Sincerity and strategizing are uneasy friends, if they are friends at all. The less the “target” – and the public – knows about the managerial aspect of policy-planning in emotional diplomacy and the more strategic intentions recede backstage, the greater are the prospects of emotional diplomacy to succeed.

The bibliography ranges across scholarship and sources published in English, German and (simplified) Chinese. An unfortunate error is the repeated misidentification of NATO as the “North American Treaty Organization.” Readers in doubt will be reassured to know that the acronym still stands for the “North Atlantic Treaty Organization.” This book will appeal to scholars interested in ritual as a sociological concept, in the behavioral edge of political psychology, the history and analysis of international relations and the vastly unfamiliar terrain between these fields. Undoubtedly, the performance of emotions has been for a very long time the heart, if not the pulse, of diplomacy. This book was published before the Paris attacks. The international responses unraveling since give us more reason than ever to utilize the important findings here.


Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Blog · Comments ( 0 )

An interesting look at the diplomatic role played by some scientists:


When Scientists Do What Diplomats Can’t

The scientific world’s quiet influence over foreign policy

Audra Wolfe
The Atlantic | September 26, 2015

Last Thursday, Senate Republicans failed in their third bid to block the nuclear deal with Iran. Signed in July, the agreement between Iran, the United States, and the five other PN+1 countries gradually eases economic sanctions on Iran in return for strict controls on that country’s nuclear-weapons program.

Virtually all of the debate surrounding the agreement has focused on the political and economic scorecard. Obama wins, as does the Iranian economy; hawks, in the United States and Iran, lose. Behind the scenes, though, a number of participants are also claiming a quieter victory for scientists.

Scientists have been involved in the international politics of atomic weapons since the fall of 1945, when veterans of the Manhattan Project, led by the physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, attempted to convince the U.S. government that world security depended on the international control of fissile materials. In the 1950s and 1960s, U.S. policymakers experimented with a more formal role for scientists in international relations, installing science attachés and technical advisors in key embassies. Sometimes as private citizens, and sometimes as government officials, American scientists participated in the negotiations that produced the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963, the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) of 1972, and many more.

The popularity of “science diplomacy” has waxed and waned, but the U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz’s role in promoting the Iran deal surely heralds its return. In practice, science diplomacy can mean any number of things: Scientists might serve as technical advisors to a government agency with international responsibility, or they might participate directly in negotiations. But because scientists routinely cross international borders to attend conferences and to work with foreign colleagues, science diplomacy also has a more informal mode, something more akin to “building fellow feeling.” Think of American astronauts exchanging “handshakes in space” with their Soviet counterparts after docking their Apollo and Soyuz capsules in July 1975.

Think of American astronauts exchanging handshakes in space with their Soviet counterparts.

Since 1950, when a report by the physicist Lloyd Berkner urged the State Department to incorporate science into its regular operations, the concept of science diplomacy has mixed an optimism associated with the most idealized visions of scientific behavior with raw cynicism about scientists’ access to people and information. At the moment, optimism is ascendant, thanks in no small part to the role of scientists in the nuclear negotiations.

This spring, several reports noted the odd, and yet somehow inevitable, coupling of Secretary Moniz and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization. The two men both spent time at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1970s: Moniz as member of the physics faculty, Salehi as a graduate student in nuclear engineering. Although their paths didn’t cross in Cambridge, they shared the language of science and mutual acquaintances. By late March of this year, Moniz and Salehi were on a first-name basis, “disappearing for hours at a time,” according to The New York Times, to discuss centrifuges and plutonium production.

Richard Stone, the international editor for Science magazine, credits the scientists’ participation with “getting the negotiations back on track.” Stone has been covering science in Iran since 2005, and has recently interviewed Ali Salehi.

In the interview, Salehi makes bold claims not only for the importance of technical expertise at the negotiating table, but also for being able to communicate with Moniz, scientist-to-scientist. As he told Stone, “We tried to be logical and fair. We understood each other.” Their national commitments “did not prevent either of us from being rational.” (While the Department of Energy did not respond to a request for comment for this article, a spokesman confirmed the broad outlines of Salehi’s account of events for Science.)

While acknowledging that both parties represented their own national interests, Stone says he finds the general sentiment credible. “Thanks to their scientific track records and their personalities, they respected each other and could ultimately reach compromises on a number of sensitive technical issues—compromises that had eluded the political negotiators.”

“Scientists can show technical solutions are possible if the political will is present.”

This idea—that the language of science can achieve what political negotiation cannot—comes up again and again in conversations with advocates for science diplomacy. As Sandra Butcher, the Executive Director of the Pugwash Conferences, an international group devoted to bringing a scientific perspective to global problems, said, “scientists can show technical solutions are possible if the political will is present.”

The physicist Rush Holt, the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a former seven-term Congressman for New Jersey, agrees that scientists’ participation was critical. Aside from the closed-door meetings between Moniz and Salehi, Holt points to the work of the broader scientific community in suggesting alternative solutions. “In the months leading up to the agreement,” he says, “unofficial American scientists were proposing in print and in private discussions with Iranian and American leaders specific proposals, such as changing the core of the plutonium-generating reactor and limiting not only the number of uranium-enriching centrifuges but a combination of centrifuges and uranium supply.” Both of these proposals made it into the final agreement.

Of course, scientists are people too, and not necessarily people with the political savvy necessary to conduct international negotiations. “It would be naïve,” Butcher says, “to think that scientists themselves are personally neutral.” Moreover, she notes, scientists from different countries often have “varying levels of independence” and access to different levels of classified information.

On the whole, though, science diplomacy has few contemporary detractors. Those who oppose the Iran deal oppose its politics, not the role of scientists in making it happen. As Stone puts it, “It’s amazing how bona-fide scientists, no matter where they are—Pasadena or Pyongyang, Toledo or Tehran—can come together and bond over a common cause.”

Stone’s reference to Pyongyang is not coincidental: With the U.S.’s relationship with Iran set to improve, advocates for science diplomacy are wondering what the approach can accomplish in North Korea. Vaughan Turekian, the State Department’s new science advisor, has participated in several events sponsored by the US-DPRK Science Engagement Consortium, a group co-founded in 2007 by Linda Staheli to promote a better relationship with the secretive North Korean regime. Whether science can accomplish more than attempts at informal engagement remains to be seen, but it surely can’t be worse than, say, Dennis Rodman’s attempts at hoops diplomacy.

International Law Conference, Antwerp

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Announcements · Comments ( 0 )

from Houssine Alloul:

International Law and Arbitration
From The Hague Conferences to the League of Nations
Global and Belgian perspectives

Seminar organized by PoHis (UAntwerpen)
2 June 2015
University of Antwerp, Prinsstraat 10, 2000 Antwerp, room P.002

9:45 Welcome

10:00 Maartje Abbenhuis (University of Auckland): A Global History of the Hague Peace Conferences, 1898 – 1914

The two Hague conferences of 1899 and 1907 have a contested historiography. Depending on the historical tradition, the conferences are presented as either irrelevant, mere footnotes ‘en route to the First World War’, or as foundational moments shaping twentieth-century international law and order. Based on a variety of published and archival sources, this talk explains how contemporaries looked to The Hague conferences as golden opportunities to shape the international law and organisation and explains why these events are so important to understanding global realities of the time.

10:40 Vincent Genin (Université de Liège): Juristes, parlementaires et diplomates en Belgique dans le processus menant aux Conférences de la Paix de La Haye de 1875 à 1899/1907

Il n’est pas inintéressant de souligner que la manière dont la Belgique a appréhendé les Conférences de la Paix de La Haye de 1899 et 1907 mérite encore une étude solide. Notre ambition, dans le cadre de ce séminaire, est d’analyser les circonstances qui ont entouré ce rapport entre un pays déterminé et un phénomène défini, à savoir un aboutissement du processus de diffusion de l’arbitrage obligatoire entre les États. Promu en Belgique par diverses institutions, depuis 1870, et défendu de manière plus ferme par le Parlement dès 1875, cet arbitrage ou la volonté, par extension, de mettre sur pied un tribunal arbitral international, sont l’objet de débats importants en Belgique, tant au Ministère des Affaires étrangères, qu’au Parlement ou dans les écrits et correspondances privées des juristes de droit international. L’étude de ce phénomène et de la manière dont il a été représenté et accueilli, est l’objet de notre contribution.

11 :00 Maarten Van Alstein (Vlaams Vredesinstituut): A Realist View: The Belgian Diplomatic Elite and the League of Nations

After the First World War, principles such as collective security and arbitration were enhanced in international politics, not in the least because they formed the cornerstones of new international organizations such as the League of Nations. After nearly eighty decades of neutrality, Belgian policymakers and diplomats were determined to pursue a more activist foreign policy and engage in international organizations and alliances. Although Belgium became a member of the new League of Nations and provided the first president of its general assembly, Belgian policymakers and diplomats’ attitudes towards principles such as collective security and arbitration ranged from cautiousness to clear skepticism. Although an evolution towards increased trust in collective security and arbitration can be observed between 1919 and 1929, Belgian policymakers’ and diplomats’ views during this period remained predominantly based on realist premises and beliefs.

Participation is free, but registration is required. Please send an email to : henk.desmaele@uantwerpen.be.