Empathy Is the Best Strategy for Diplomacy On Some Special Features of Contemporary International Relations
Historically, the fundamental function of diplomacy is to represent one sovereign before another and ensure communication necessary for that. Diplomacy as a practice has rich traditions. Its two most important features—the privilege of being received by the sovereign and personal security—have naturally transformed into the high status of an ambassador. During the Renaissance, diplomatic missions became permanent in Europe. With time this practice spread to the whole world and the legal basis of diplomatic activity expanded (Zonova, 1999, pp. 1-3; Hamilton and Langhorne, 2011, pp. 37-60). However, diplomacy is not only a practice, but also a function. The key question here is not how international communication occurs, but why, that is, what its purpose is. General explanatory models, applied to different areas of human activity, answer the “why” question differently. From the idealistic and humanistic standpoint, communication between sovereigns and peoples is a natural wish of civilized actors. Therefore, as civilization developed, international communication expanded. From the economy-centered point of view, the development of trade is a beneficial phenomenon that requires the broadening of external relations and international communication. From the standpoint of rational interest understood the Machiavellian way, external communication gives a sovereign greater opportunities and additional tools. Taken individually and described in historical retrospect, these factors and their combinations bring one to the conclusion that since the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance the need for international communication and related diplomatic practice expanded almost continuously. There were attempts at self-isolation or forced isolation, but all of them ended in a “reunification” with the outside world. Moreover, in the second half of the 20th century, forced disconnection from the international environment began to be perceived as a punishment and turned into a tool—a full-fledged policy of sanctions. Recognition of the fact that international communication has been constantly expanding for centuries does not fully explain why it is so necessary. So, it would be appropriate to highlight some features of international communication in different historical periods.