Gem from the Past

5 April 2017

In his current issue of “Diplomacy’s Public Dimension” Bruce Gregory of George Washington University has cited the Paul Sharp and Geoffrey Wiseman, edited volume, American Diplomacy, (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2012) as being a “Gem From The Past”. The theoretical framework established in the lead chapter by Professor Wiseman “Distinctive Characteristics of American Diplomacy” (attached) provides a helpful framework into US diplomatic practices within the Trump administration.

“Essays in this volume, compiled by Sharp (University of Minnesota, Duluth) and Wiseman (Australian National University), address “America’s long-running difficult relationship with diplomacy.” As Wiseman summarizes in his lead essay, characteristics of American diplomacy include distrust and negative views of diplomats and diplomacy, an unusually high degree of domestic influence over foreign policy, a tendency to privilege hard power over soft power, a preference for bilateral over multilateral diplomacy, and a strong cultural disposition for a direct, low-context negotiating style. In other essays, David Clinton (Baylor University) discusses a US tendency to conflate diplomacy and foreign policy, Bruce Gregory (George Washington University) explores enduring characteristics and elusive transformation in US public diplomacy, and Paul Sharp asks whether America’s society and politics will permit the diplomacy it needs to cope with an evolving global diffusion of power. As Americans are seized yet again with changes in diplomacy’s direction, priorities, and resources relative to hard power instruments, this collection warrants a second look. American Diplomacy first appeared as a special issue of The Hague Journal of Diplomacy in 2011.”

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