Diplomacy in the 21st Century: A Crossroad for ‘Small States’ Amidst Global Power Play

Thomas Otieno Juma, Amb. Dr. Paul K. Kurgat, Amb. Muthi Gitonga


Whereas diplomacy in international relations still remain to be the use of negotiations and discussions in the daily interactions of states and non – state actors, the former takes precedence without a minimalist approach to what the former brings to diplomacy in the world system. The imperative of diplomacy has spread from its inception to the contemporary pitting its practicality with what the discipline ought to be. In this scenario, the traditionally big states seem to be cognizant that the ‘small states’ have a central place for proper global balance of power and to their success. This robust – dynamic nature of diplomacy creates crossroads of a kind in the 21st Century. In this matrix, this paper would want to interrogate the central idea by; examining changes in diplomacy through to the 21st Century, assess the systemic vis a vis practical attributes of diplomacy in global power play of the 21st Century, and finally to establish possible strategies that ‘small states’ can take in their diplomacy in the 21st Century. At the end of this discourse, the field of diplomacy will have been enriched by suggestions that diplomacy as a practice and a language among modern states is about what works – this being the reason for its constant change. The study will also underscore that ‘small state diplomacy’ is bound to re-ignite the Westphalian principle of equality of states in the 21st Century despite size and other dispositional attributes of states. The exigency/flashpoint of the 21st Century is its proneness to being an open field for practical purposes due to technology explosion.

Keywords: Diplomacy, Practical Diplomacy, Small State Diplomacy, Global Power Play, Traditional Diplomacy, Modern Diplomacy, 21st Century Diplomacy

DOI: 10.7176/IAGS/83-04

Publication date:June 30th 2020

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ISSN (Paper)2224-574X ISSN (Online)2224-8951

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