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Tag: Diplomacy

Turkey and the Soviet Union during World War II: Diplomacy, Discord and International Relations

Reviewed by Edward Corse

The Second World War produced some intriguing quasi-conflicts amongst the much larger and better-known battles of that period. Onur İşçi’s analysis of the relations between Turkey and the Soviet Union at that time carefully plots out one such fascinating story – one that is understudied and often misunderstood.

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Towards ‘Neutrality Studies’: An Integrative Perspective on the History of War and International Relations

By Maartje Abbenhuis

In the history of warfare, neutrals rarely feature. When they do, they tend to be relegated to the peripheries, as marginal characters in a belligerent drama that takes centre stage. Unsurprisingly, then, ‘Neutrality Studies’ is not a well-established academic field, although there are more than a few scholars who specialise in neutrality. Still, no academic journal is dedicated to the subject, and no Anglophone academic publisher specialises in the field.

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Public Diplomacy: Foundations for Global Engagement in the Digital Age

Reviewed by Edward Corse.

Nick Cull’s introduction to Public Diplomacy is a great primer for practitioners of the art of influencing the people of other countries. This book builds on the overview of public diplomacy which the author created for the Foreign Office a decade ago, expanding its single chapter to eight and updating the argument for the digital age.  The volume brings together Cull’s expertise from his background as a historian and his more contemporary understanding of how governments today operate in this sphere in the digital age.

Cull calls this ‘public diplomacy’, a widely recognised term for this type of activity. However, its usage is in itself a matter of debate which Cull tackles head on. He starts with an interesting discussion about the term and alternatives which could be, and are, used by other scholars and practitioners. He dismisses the idea that public diplomacy is the same as propaganda. Cull writes ‘[p]ropaganda is about dictating your message to an audience and persuading them you are right. Public diplomacy is about listening to the other side and working to develop a relationship of mutual understanding’ (p. 1). Cull considers alternatives that are used by various authorities including ‘strategic communication’, ‘cultural exchange’ and ‘influence diplomacy’. All of these he suggests contain ‘baggage’ of some sort – with public diplomacy being the ‘least worst term’ (p. 2).

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Old diplomacy and new diplomats

Written by Paul Sharp.

From a combination of instinct and convention, most people have a sense that diplomacy is and ought to be important. They are much less clear on what diplomacy is and what diplomats actually do. For much of the past, this did not matter for both were thought to be far removed from the concerns of ordinary people.  This is no longer the case. Thanks to the revolutions in the technologies of how information is produced, distributed and exchanged, ordinary people are increasingly aware of what diplomats do, and diplomats are increasingly involved in managing, expanding, and exploiting this awareness.

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