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Posts Tagged ‘madman theory

What is Diplomacy?

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Dr. Tony Corn writes in “COIN in Absurdistan: Saving the COIN Baby from the Afghan Bathwater (and Vice-Versa)” (full PDF):

Diplomacy is not simply “the art of remaining silent in several languages,” nor is it just the mastery of techniques and tactics of negotiation. Diplomacy must also be, at times, the art of brinkmanship. As Thomas Schelling remarked long ago:

“There can be times when a country wants to shake off the rules, to deny any assurance that its behavior is predictable, to shock the adversary, to catch an adversary off-balance, to display unreliability and to dare the opponent to respond in kind, to express hostility and to rupture the sense of diplomatic contact (…)This is still diplomacy: there are times to be rude, to break the rules, to do the unexpected, to shock, to dazzle, or to catch off guard, to display offense, whether in business diplomacy, military diplomacy, or other kinds of diplomacy.”

You have to be crazy, or at least let the other side think you are crazy, to succeed in foreign policy.


Written by hybriddiplomat

August 2, 2010 at 13:46