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Nature of diplomacy

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The process of practising diplomacy involves a lot of complex activities of either trying to prevent or resolve crises and conflicts. The circumstances surrounding a tense situation often determines the method of diplomatic means to be adopted to restore normalcy.

There are various methods open to diplomats that may help to speed up the process of diplomacy, though some of these methods are integrally related, they are however targeted at specific objectives. Some of the most commonly used methods have been summarized into four; they are preventive diplomacy, peace-making, peace-keeping, and peace-building.

Preventive Diplomacy 

This is meant to prevent disputes from arising between parties, prevent existing disputes from escalating into conflicts, and to minimize the effect of conflicts when they occur.

To make preventive diplomacy effective, some of these steps may be followed; fact-finding through enquiry; early warning of crisis situation through communication, preventive deployment by which armed personnel or civilians are deployed to areas of potential conflicts to reduce the chances of crisis degenerating into violent conflicts, and possible demilitarized zone.

Peace making

This is an effort to reconcile hostile parties either through judicial decision, sanctions of any nature, use of military force, and peace enforcement units.

The introduction of the World Court- ICJ is meant for the peaceful adjudication of disputes, amelioration through assistance, which is facilitated by international action to ameliorate circumstances that have contributed to the dispute or conflict.

Sanctions are at times imposed on states when their actions are considered as security risk to the international system, and most often economic sanctions are commonly used. The cases of Libya and Nigeria are good examples of countries that have experienced the harsh realities of socio-political and economic sanctions (HOW?).

The use of military force is recommended to maintain or restore international peace and security in the face of a “threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, however, it should be noted that this method is ONLY required when ALL diplomatic means have failed, the Iraq – Kuwait war 1990 code name ‘Operation Desert Storm’ is a good example.

Peace-enforcement units are sent on missions to respond to outright aggression, imminent or actual, especially when there is a breakdown of ceasefire agreement.

Peace Keeping

This process is close to peacemaking and monitoring, but the difference here is that peace-making could be considered as the second stage of peace-making, in the sense that after peacemakers have negotiated peace, there are times when there will be need to make the negotiated peace work, which is akin to monitoring.

That is where the deployment of peacekeeping instruments is required. To facilitate the duties of peacekeeping involves increase and development in personnel, logistics and finance. Personnel both in civilian, police and the military play a central role in peacekeeping operations.

Peacekeeping requires that civilian political officers, human rights monitors, electoral officials, refugee and humanitarian aid specialists complement the efforts of the police and the military in the business of keeping the peace.

Logistics has to do with relevant equipment necessary to undertake successful peacekeeping missions such as vehicles communications equipment, generators, air and sea lift capacity, etc. Finance is strategic to the success of the peace-keeping operations may be jeopardized.

Peace –Building

This is a post-conflict mechanism to identify support structures that tend to strengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid a relapse into conflict.

Some measures that can aid peacebuilding may include but not limited to discerning the previously warring parties and the restoration of order, the custody and possible destruction of weapons such as demobilization and disarmament, advisory and training support for security personnel, monitoring elections, strengthening governmental institutions and promotions formal and informal processes of political participation. The liberal situation before the election of 2006 is a good example.


In summary, preventive diplomacy seeks to resolve disputes before violence breaks out, peace-making and peace-keeping are required to halt conflicts and preserve peace once it is attained.

If successful, they strengthen the opportunity for post-conflict peace-building, which can prevent the recurrence of violence among people and nations.

Read More

  • Objectives of Diplomacy – Tadexprof
  • Objectives of Diplomacy – Tadexprof
  • Diplomacy: Meaning, Nature, Functions and Role in Crisis Link
  • diplomacy | Definition, Meaning, Types, & Examples | Britannica
  • Diplomacy – Wikipedia