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Social Sci LibreTexts

2: Diplomacy

  • Page ID
    11103
  • As the previous chapter showed, war compels and focuses public attention, leaves a clear mark on human life, and is responsible for shaping our world. On the other hand, despite its importance, diplomacy rarely gains much attention. When military theorist Carl von Clausewitz remarked in the early 1800s that war was the continuation of policy by other means, he sought to normalise the idea of war in modern politics. But, his words also indicated that actions short of war are available to help states achieve their objectives. These are typically the actions of diplomats. And, their work is often far less expensive, far more effective and much more predictable a strategy than war. In fact, unlike in centuries gone by when war was common, diplomacy is what we understand today as the normal state of affairs governing international relations. And, in the modern era, diplomacy is conducted not only between nation-states, but also by a range of non-state actors such as the European Union and the United Nations.