Evolution of Diplomacy and Obsolete Diplomacy
Diplomacy can be assumed to be undertaking negotiations between two factions. Normally, this is overseen through deliberations between representatives. Diplomacy is a common practice in international relations where states use diplomats as representatives of the state in crucial international matters. Diplomacy has tremendously evolved, with the earliest forms of art being witnessed among the pharaohs of Egypt. Greece also used diplomatic measures to negotiate wars and commercial issues. The first diplomatic embassies were set up in Italy and later other European countries followed suit by setting up their embassies across the globe.
In the earliest forms of diplomacy, the man at the helm of state diplomatic relations was the ambassador. He had to be a nobleman in the country. At the start of diplomacy, the process was much more bureaucratic than it presently is. The criterion for choosing ambassadors was very complex due to the influence of the Catholic Church. An ambassador was backed up by a team of employees; some of whom supported espionage. States, therefore, embarked on employing a support team to assist their diplomats in effectively undertaking their duties. The system spread across most states in the world (Blair, p. 45).
A diplomat usually enjoys several rights which find their basis in the Vienna Convention of diplomatic relations resolved in 1961. Diplomats are therefore immune to prosecution in the course of their duty and their documents cannot be searched when on transit; for whatever reason. Diplomats can however be summoned from their duties when the country they are serving conflicts with the host country. This can also be observed as a personal security measure in times of war. Lower-level employees are however retained to carry on diplomatic duties (Blair, p. 83).
I don’t agree that modern communication is rendering most diplomatic relations obsolete. The use of ICT has been known to effectively reduce the workload or eliminate some traditional diplomatic functions but cannot render the functions of diplomats obsolete. In any case, modern communications supplement and streamline diplomatic relations. The use of web conferencing for example would eliminate the need for a diplomat to travel to a geographical location. Instead, he/she can carry out his diplomatic functions wherever he/she is, through technology. In essence, web conferencing or any other modern form of communication cannot substitute the role of a diplomat but enhance his/her functions.
Canadian Foreign Policies
The most important foreign policy in Canada is bilateral trade relations and most especially Cuban relations. Canada’s trade relations with Cuba have been Cordial and can be traced back to the 18th century. In this century, Canada traded industrial goods for agricultural products like sugar from Cuba. The first representative of the Cuban capital was Emile Vaillancourt. She was initially a writer and philosopher. After the Cuban revolution which took place in 1959, Canada and Mexico were the only countries that maintained a sound relationship with Cuba.
However, the bilateral relationship between Canada and Cuba hasn’t been well received by the United States of America (USA). The USA-Cuban bilateral relations have not been good and as an interest group in Canada’s relations with the island, the USA has always tried to influence Canada to change its foreign policies towards Cuba. The soiled relation between Cuba and the US started after the Cuban revolution and was followed by sanctions. America however has undue influence on Canada in terms of the bilateral trade agreement between the two countries. The situation is therefore tricky for both Canada and the US because their economies are entangled together. The state of diplomatic tension is bound to unsuitably change the existing equilibrium (Guy, p. 413).
Influences on Diplomacy
One of the most contemporary forms of diplomacy is the geographical boundaries of a nation. A country’s boundaries in terms of size will ultimately dictate the ability to create international relations with other countries and control its territory. This can be evidenced by the comparative ability of Israel and the United Kingdom (UK) in creating international relations. The UK has a smaller territory hence much easier to defend and harder to attack. Israel on the other hand covers approximately four continents and has been invaded about four times, hence creating diplomatic friction with other nations. Balance of power also influences diplomatic relations in the sense that if a nation is observed to be amassing too much power, it is bound to affect the general security of a region. Diplomatic relations will therefore seek to create a balance of power such that all nations feel safe.
Economic empowerment will influence diplomatic relations because this will dictate the negotiating power of a nation. When a country has greater economic empowerment, it is bound to control most economic actions thereby having a higher negotiating power. Military empowerment will also influence diplomatic relations because the stronger a nation’s military power, the higher its influence in diplomatic relationships.
Bilateral relations define various aspects of the relationship between two sovereign states. They normally include political, economic, and social aspects. Multilateral relationships on the other hand entail the definition of relationships among many countries, all concerted towards the realization of a common objective. Multilateral diplomacy is bound to replace bilateral diplomacy in the 21st century with the emergence of worldwide organizations like the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO), NATO, and the likes. Countries are establishing greater relationships to realize common interests that may involve trade, peace, security, terrorism protection among others. Bilateral trade is therefore slowly fading away.
Summit diplomacy involves the meeting of various world leaders of powerful nations to deliberate on contentious issues. This method of diplomacy however poses several dangers. Summit diplomacy has the risk of locking out contributions from smaller states which would be affected by the decisions from the deliberations. Ineffective decisions are also likely to be reached when leaders come from distinctively different cultures and background negotiation styles. However, summit diplomacy decisions are likely to sustain because they are made at the highest point of political deliberation (Guy, p. 340).
Threats to Canadian Security
Canada is currently vulnerable to the threat of espionage, terrorism, and global warming. Global warming is however a global threat but it highly impacts Canada’s national security because it is a great contributor to this phenomenon. This is because of its high carbon gas emission. Espionage could be directly linked to security matters and terrorism, considering it deals with the exchange of information. The Canadian government could however undertake various foreign policies to curb these threats.
Canada should ensure imported machinery, automobiles, and other imports, and also foreign companies are strictly monitored to ensure they are environmentally friendly. The government should undertake a green energy initiative on all foreign transactions with other nations. This will ensure all machinery, equipment, and the likes conform to Canada’s standards of environmentally friendly policies.
Immigration policies should be effectively evaluated to curb the threat of espionage and terrorism. Foreign intelligence systems should be strengthened to ensure the country doesn’t host terrorists or its affiliates. Globalization has also exposed Canada to foreign businesses and the government should evaluate foreign trade policies to ensure such businesses are not used as tools to fund terrorist activities (Guy, p.345).
Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
The US-led Iraq war has not done much to improve world peace. In any case, it has only worsened the hostilities between nations thereby making the world more unstable. Presently countries that face similar actions from the US like Iran are bracing themselves for military action in case the US carries out the same approach. Other nations like North Korea have also embraced the same approach and are trying to express their sovereignty on the world map and most especially against the US.
It is clear that after the Iraq war, the country has never found peace. Weapons of mass destruction were never recovered and the new government put in place never seems to be working. Suicide bombs have been the order of the day and the country has even been more unstable than it was before the war. Similar approaches have been undertaken in other nations such as the US-led invasion into Somalia in the 1990s. The Somali invasion had nothing to write home about except for the noteworthy fact that the country hasn’t had peace to date.
Canadian military presence in Afghanistan has not improved world peace either. From its involvement in the war, only strong ties have been established with US and Britain which also sent their troops to Afghanistan. World peace is still a mirage for Canadian forces because Afghanistan has a more or less similar fate as Iraq. However, Canadian forces in partnership with other nations managed to diffuse the influence of Al-Qaida, though terrorism activities are still ripe in the world. Canada can however incorporate a more collaborative approach in the realization of world peace as opposed to military action. The country should facilitate mediation and diplomatic initiatives in the realization of world peace.
Preparation for war is in no way a means of facilitating world peace. Preparation for war would involve military development, high research, and development of military weapons, and purchase of sophisticated military ware. If countries undertake the preparation of war, they would channel most of their resources in the development of their militaries. Other priority areas like health and education would be particularly deprived of funds, thereby leading to a country’s instability. If nation-states are allowed to prepare for war, it would mean nothing short of an arms race and the strongest nation would stamp its authority over weaker nations thereby destabilizing the world.
Applicable foreign policies to facilitate world peace would be based on mutual relationships between countries. In essence, foreign policies should be standardized. Part of the problem of world peace is created by divisive foreign policies that exist between nations. Nations should respect each other’s sovereignty. For example, in Canada-Cuban relations, the US should be able to respect Canada’s stand on the matter and refrain from reevaluating its foreign policies with Canada.
Peace is an ideologically charged issue because of different country interests held among different nations. For example, antiterrorism policies would easily be affected by nations that belief are under the same risks. Independent nations are more likely to waiver their support because they have no interests to protect. World peace is therefore elusive because of different interests nations have (Guy, p. 423).
Nuclear Proliferation and International Peace
Claims that world peace has improved in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are true but the threat to world peace has grown, two-fold. This can be attributed to the sophistication and development of weapons in the world. Nuclear proliferation has never been more imminent, thereby greatly increasing the threat of international acts of violence. Ironically, occurrences of violent acts have decreased tremendously in the world as compared to previous decades. This can be attributed to the presence of regional and international peace blocks like the (UN). It should also be a known fact that world economies have tremendously grown closer together than ever before; due to globalization. To some extent, this has kept many nations in check. The risk of nuclear annihilation has contributed to world peace because most nations dread the effects of these kinds of weapons. Nuclear weapons developed are said to have the ability to wipe out an entire town or nation. This fact has therefore enabled many nations to respect each other because none has the proper knowledge on the capability of another nation. Negotiated arms control will lead to arms reduction because nations acquire these arms to prepare themselves, in case of external aggression. If nations could sit down and negotiate an arms deal, the threat to national security would be eliminated; thereby decreasing the acquisition of arms. However, total disarmament cannot be achieved because of distrust among nations. In addition, total disarmament is undesirable because it would leave nations vulnerable to even the slightest attacks. Moreover, this state is impossible to be realized.
Recent trends in the world have attested to the fact that there exists a population problem. In 2009, United Nations estimated that the world population stands at 6.8 billion people. The population has been observed to increase since the end of the Black Death around 1400. The total population growth rate has been observed to increase by approximately 1.5% in the 1950s and increased further between the periods of 1960-1970s. The rate was approximately 2.2%. Populations have however decreased in recent years with a projected increase estimated at 1.1%. The problem existing with the current world population is that the planet’s resources cannot withstand higher population growths (Blair, p. 45).
The world’s resources are being strained. Oil reserves, for example, have been noted to deplete with no reliable forecast of how the world would be short. China and India currently pose among the highest nationalistic population figures. Certain regulations have therefore been imposed to check the population. This can at least be evidenced in China. Education remains the key to persuading people to have fewer children without necessarily infringing on their human rights. If people are educated on the implications of a high population rate, they are more likely to understand the importance of keeping the population in check (Guy, p. 417).
Environmental degradation is a manifestation of man’s greed for money through the exploitation of natural resources. Resultant erratic climatic changes have been evidenced in the world. Carbon emissions brought about by the burning of fossil fuels have been scientifically proved to cause environmental degradation; more specifically global warming. Rapid industrialization has also increased environmental degradation as companies rushed to amass more wealth at the expense of the environment. Lakes, rivers, oceans, and other environmental factors have been polluted by industrial discharge. Harmful chemicals have also been released into the atmosphere, badly impacting the ozone layer and leaving people vulnerable to cancers (like skin cancer) as a result of environmental degradation.
The solution to this menace can however not be solved by one nation, single-handedly. Partly, the reason attributed to this is the fact that we are protecting one planet which we all live in. This involves the participation of every nation in the world. If laws or regulations are imposed in one country and relaxed in another, degradation is likely to happen in the less rigid country but the effects of environmental degradation will also be felt in the strict nation. This, therefore, calls for the participation of all states. This initiative can be effectively channeled through world bodies like the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and other international environmental agencies. State corporations that control most of the oil reserves like Esso, in the United States need to be controlled by their host countries. Effective legislative policies should therefore be able to bind all or most nations in observing environmentally friendly practices.
A sustainable environment should be perceived as a universal human right because it bears the very essence of life. If individuals or organizations do anything to jeopardize the ecological system which supports life, action should be taken. A sustainable environment is not only essential for human life but also plant and animal life. For example, recent oil spills off the Gulf of Mexico have resulted in the death of aquatic life by depriving oxygen to animals and plants living underwater. A sustainable environment is therefore important for mankind and animals alike to exist. This is also seen by the lack of life in deserts or cold areas like Antarctica because these environments are not quite sustainable for a majority of the human population. It is also through the environment that humans and animals can obtain their food and water. Endangering the environment would therefore mean denying people their source of food and water which would also mean denying people their basic human rights. Access to clean water is currently a basic human right and is no different from the environment which sustains clean water (Neuman, p. 167).
We can have a positive impact on the ecological system at the grass-root level by tending to our primary environment. For instance, we should undertake proper waste disposal of non-biodegradable matters lake polythene bags. We should also minimize unnecessary energy consumption to minimize the effects of carbon emission damage. Ultimately, any form of pollution on the environment should be declared a crime. Corporations and individuals should be held accountable for any actions against the environment and punished by the law. Independent environmental bodies should also be empowered to prosecute offenders because normal policing functions may be ineffective.
- Guy, James J. People, Politics, and Government 7th. ed. Scarborough, Ontario: Pearson Education, 2010.
- Blair, Diane D. Arkansas Politics & Government: do the People Rule. University of Nebraska Press, 1988.
- Neuman, Russell W. The Paradox of Mass Politics: Knowledge and Opinion in the American Electorate. Harvard University Press, 1986.