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Diplomacy's Possible Futures

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In an attempt to think beyond the immediate horizon for diplomacy, five possible futures are envisioned. 'Disintermediation' suggests that diplomats, in competition with a dynamic private sector, may need to adopt business methods and use the internet — or be bypassed. 'Europeanization' could largely subordinate bilateral diplomacy within the regional European Union framework, although space might be left for 'public diplomatic' functions. International 'democratization' would accord a larger role to states hitherto excluded from decision-making within multilateral institutions, and also to civil society. 'Thematization' would require a higher degree of flexibility from diplomats as they engage in crusade-like efforts against terrorism, disease and other such threats. 'Americanization' implies the adjustment by diplomats to a world in which 'international relations' are conducted along the lines of US domestic politics, with lobbying and advocacy becoming major activities. The need to win greater public support, if not necessarily to involve the people directly in diplomacy, is evident in all of these 'projective visions'.


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