Strategies for building awareness for the potential of peace education in Cameroon Ben Oru Mforndip
Special Report
Has Democracy Enhanced Development in Africa? Conrad John Masabo
Permanent Emergency Powers in France: The ‘Law to Strengthen Internal Security and the Fight Against Terrorism’ and the Protection of Human Rights Lena Muhs
Women’s Political Representation in Sri Lanka: Leading towards Prosperity or Peril Pujika Rathnayake
On the Migrant Crisis Daniel Bagheri Sarvestani
Book Review
Inclusive Transitional Justice through Truth Commissions: A Book Review Amos Izerimana

Was it permissible for The United Nations to authorize humanitarian intervention in the post-election conflict in Cote d’ivoire? Dramane Ouattara
Special Report
Reflections of Refugees in Africa Wyclife Ong'eta Mose
Challenges and prospects of AU to implement the Ezulwini Consensus: The case of collective security and the use of force Tunamsifu Shirambere Philippe
The Right to Food Shant Melkonian
Freedom of Expression Under Threat in Zambia Mariateresa Garrido
Douglas Janoff on LGBTQIA Human Rights Luciana Téllez
Common Things: Communication, Community, Communal Peacebuilding Lina Patricia Forero Martínez
Lack of empathy as a threat to peace Victoria Scheyer
Comment II
The death of democracy in Honduras Daniel Bagheri S.
Research Summary
Water Security in the Sixaola River Basin Adrián Martinez Blanco and Diana Ubico Durán
Reborn Arunima Chouguley
An Open Letter to the American People: Political Responsibility in the Nuclear Age Richard Falk, David Krieger, and Robert Laney


Last Updated: 04/19/2013
Experiments with Diplomacy: The changing understanding of “real” in Realpolitik
Fausto Aarya De Santis

This article traces the history of diplomacy as a history of shifting ideas and values, and also of surprising coherence across time and space, as ancient ideas of political interaction continue to underpin modern diplomatic practices and the emerging structure of 21st century international relations.

The development of human civilization is a history of social interaction that, when organized in closed communities in the form of tribes, polis or large Empires and Nation States, also takes the form of political interaction. Political interaction requires tact – the art and practice of which is diplomacy.

This essay examines diplomacy as a historical narrative from ancient practices of the East and the West to its current expression of global economies, communication and governance; where the political discourse is not only a playground for nation states and their representatives, but of interwoven relations that include interstate organizations, international civil society, and multinational corporations. Keeping this perspective, the essay will analyze the challenges of today's diplomacy by studying the main dilemma of diplomatic thought: (i) diplomacy as based on ethics or (ii) interest. It will argue that contemporary diplomacy has become a cautious but interesting experiment on building an international political structure, based on the premise that cooperation is the foundation of not only mutual Nation State survival and security, but also of mutual growth and prosperity in a world of limited resources.


The term diplomacy stems from both Greek and Latin etymological origins. The Greek word d?p??µa (diploma) is composed of diplo, meaning “folded in two,” and suffix -ma, meaning “an object”.[i] In Latin the word diploma, means an official document that conferred a privilege – often to travel – to the bearer. Later the term denoted documents containing agreements between sovereigns.

Contemporary diplomatic practices are mostly a product of post-Renaissance thinking and the Westphalian European State system. This Euro-centric approach has meant that diplomacy today is broadly defined as the peaceful dialogue and interaction between political (often sovereign) units[ii], by means that advance the interests of a State/s in the international forum, either bi-laterally or multilaterally, through dialogue, negotiation, and cooperation.[iii] For this reason, the term diplomacy usually refers to international diplomacy, which is the conduct of international relations.[iv] The practitioners of this art are diplomats, a term whose connotation originated in France (diplomate) in the 18th century to refer to the person authorized to negotiate on behalf of a state.[v]

Throughout history, diplomats and leaders have been faced with the challenge of promoting national interest, while simultaneously striving for peace, prosperity, and stability in a constantly changing world. Challenges founded on the two dichotomous levels of diplomatic theory include: (i) diplomacy for national interest and stability through a policy of protectionism, or diplomacy for international peace and stability though cooperation, the effect on which will then trickle down on the nation state's stability; and (ii) if for this challenge of diplomacy should be based ethics or an expression of a zero-sum game based on self-interest and political power.

Diplomacy in the Ancient Era

The fascinating journey of international diplomatic theory and practice dates to 2300 BCE, when the first known peace treaty was signed between the king of Ebla, in what is today Syria, and the king of Assyria.[vi] Thereafter, Akkadian (Babylonian) became the first diplomatic language, serving as the international tongue of the Middle East.[vii]

Assyrian king and Marduk-zakir-šumi I of Babylon shaking hands in a public display of Assyro-Babylonian friendship. Reproduced from M. E. L. Mallowan, Nimrud and its remains, London 1966, vol. 2, 447 fig. 371d.

Before this period, early tribal societies formed by closed communities, with attributes of State dynamics, contributed to the growth of the first customs in what can be called international law. Tribes negotiated marriages as well as regulations on trade and hunting.

Communication between these closed communities was considered essential and messengers and envoys were accredited as sacred and inviolable and were received with elaborate ceremonies. In primitive cultures, women were often used as envoys because of their perceived mysterious sanctity and their use of “sexual wiles”. As such, they were often entrusted with negotiating the important task of maintaining peace.[viii] However, the participation of women in the diplomatic sphere had already disappeared by the time of ancient Greece, and was revived only in the second half of the 20th century.

The greatest knowledge we have of early diplomacy comes from the Middle East, the Mediterranean, China, and India. There is evidence that Egyptian diplomacy dates back to the 14th century BCE and the first records of Chinese and Indian diplomacy date from the 1st millennium BCE.[ix] By the 8th century BCE, the Chinese had leagues, missions, and an organized system of polite discourse between their many “warring states”. Sun Tzu, a 6th century BCE Chinese military officer and the author of The Art of War, is one of the first realists in international relations theory. The essence of Chinese diplomacy can be captured by the advice of Zhuangzi to “diplomats” at the beginning of the 3rd century BCE: If relations between states are close, they may establish mutual trust through daily interaction; but if relations are distant, mutual confidence can only be established by exchanges of messages.

Kautilya and Diplomacy in Ancient India

Ancient India, with its kingdoms and dynasties, had a long tradition of diplomacy. The importance of diplomacy is recognized in the Laws of Manu, a text of the sacred Hindi scriptures, the Vedas, estimated at around 1200 BCE[x]: "Peace and its opposite (that is war) depend on the ambassadors, since it is they who create and undo alliances. The affairs that provoke war or peace are in their power”.[xi]

The oldest treatise on statecraft and diplomacy in India, the Arthashastra, was written by Kautilya (also known as Chanakya), the principal adviser to Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Maurya 3rd century BC dynasty. The Mauryan Empire expanded from the Indian Ocean to Himalayas and up to Iran in the West. After Alexander left India this was the most powerful kingdom in the region.[xii]

Kautilya, frequently referred to as the Machiavelli of India, was famous for his realist approach to diplomacy. Foreign relations were determined by self-interest and power rather than by ethical considerations. In the Arthashastra he writes that nations must act in their political, economic and military self-interest and that foreign policy or diplomacy is practiced as long as the self-interest of the State is served. He saw the inter-kingdom dynamics as a constant warfare, either in war or preparing for war. In this constant tensed discourse, diplomacy was the tool to build alliances and ensure the safety and power of the kingdom. The highest morality for the king was the prosperity of his people and his kingdom, and the methods to achieve this were not subject to ethical criticism.[xiii]

Diplomacy for Kautilya occurred in a mandala, a Sanskrit term denoting a (dynamic) circle; a locus of relationships built around a center point, the kingdom, where the King should strive in bolstering his central position and reducing the power of others in the vicinity. Following this vein, the enemy of your enemy must always be your ally. In the book he emphasized espionage, diplomatic maneuver, and contention, and proposed four expedients of statecraft (conciliation, seduction, subversion, and coercion)[xiv] and six forms of diplomatic State policies.[xv]

The reason for elucidating Kautilya's idea of diplomacy is to show the relation between one of India's most ancient and prominent diplomatic traditions and the diplomatic structure that was built in Europe after the Renaissance, to be analyzed later in this essay. In doing so, this comparison will highlight the difference between traditional and modern diplomacy, not as a chronological difference but as an ideological difference based on the role of ethics in diplomacy.

Ancient Greece and Rome

Greek diplomacy begins with the city-states, where diplomats were sent for specific negotiations and would return after their mission concluded. The earliest evidence of Greek diplomacy can be found in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Sparta, which was actively forming alliances in the mid-6th century BCE, and by 500 BCE it had created the Peloponnesian League.[xvi]

Greek diplomacy took many forms, both historical and mythological. Heralds were the first diplomats sent on short-term visits to other city-states whose policies they sought to influence. They were protected by the Gods with an immunity that other envoys lacked and their protector was Hermes, son of Zeus and associated with all diplomacy. Interestingly, Hermes was also known as the protector of travelers and thieves due to his persuasiveness and eloquence but also for knavery, shiftiness, and dishonesty, imparting to diplomacy a reputation that its practitioners still try to live down.[xvii]

Commercial relations in ancient Greece were instead conducted on a continuous basis by an arrangement, or proxeni, where by the citizen of the city-state represented the economic interest of another city-state. A Proxenos, the citizen involved in the activity of proxeni, would use whatever influence he had in his own city to promote policies of friendship or alliance with the city he represented. Although proxeni initially represented one Greek city-state in another, Herodotus, in his famed work History, indicates that there were Greek consuls in Egypt in about 550 BCE. Commercial conventions, conferences, treaties, and alliances became common and in 4th century BCE, and for a period of 25 years there were eight Greco-Persian congresses, where even the smallest states had the right to be heard.[xviii]

The Roman Empire had an absolutist idea of diplomacy: best relations are maintained if the Roman Empire controls the land. For this reason, their contribution is more towards the legal aspect of diplomacy and the management of archives. Romans stressed the importance of adhering to agreements and treaties, and produced great administrators instead of negotiators. As Rome expanded it often negotiated with representatives of conquered areas, to which it granted partial self-government by way of treaties. To regulate these relations envoys were sent abroad with written instructions from the Senate. A nuntius, messenger, was sent for small town responsibilities. For larger responsibilities, a legatio (embassy) of 10 or 12 legati (ambassadors) was organized under a president.[xix]

Diplomacy in the Middle Ages

In the history of diplomacy, the middle age is often viewed as a break of its progress, a disappearance of Diplomacy.[xx] According to the author this is an exaggerated claim that simplifies international relations. To view diplomacy from this dangerous lens is to break the chronological progress of the activity (diplomacy) and detach it from its very theoretical development, where the Machiavellian era is a sudden rebirth, or re-discovery without a historical continuum.

In the western hemisphere, when the Roman Empire disintegrated in the 5th century, diplomatic traditions took a new expression. Monarchs negotiated directly or through envoys with nearby rulers where the institution of the Church took a new and leading role. Popes served as arbiters and papal legates served as peacemakers. The prestige of the church became important, with the Pope giving legitimacy to monarchies, and papal emissaries took precedence over secular envoys. This tradition continues in countries where Roman Catholicism is the official religion in the form of Diplomatic Deans.

As trade increased and decisions needed to be made faster, envoys faced difficulties in referring each negotiation to their heads. Thus, in the 12th century the concept plena potens (full powers) was revived from Roman civil law.[xxi] The plenipotentiary could negotiate and conclude agreements, and by the end of the 12th century the term ambassador appeared in Italy.

The location of Venice and the increase of trade in the Mediterranean provided the Italian city-state exposure to Byzantine diplomacy,. Envoys were given written instructions and a systematic archive was established (the Venetian archives contain a registry of all diplomatic documents from 883). Periodic reporting of host country conditions were submitted orally at first and in writing from the 15th century.[xxii]

With respect to the development of diplomacy in Europe, it is interesting to look at the Mongol Empire (1206–1294) in central Asia, which created something similar to today's diplomatic passport called The paiza were in three different types (golden, silver, and copper) depending on the envoy's level of importance. They authorized the envoy to ask for food, transport and accommodation from any city, village, or clan within the empire without difficulties.[xxiii]

Realpolitik” Diplomacy[xxiv]

Around 1300, in the Italian peninsula, the foundations of the medieval international order started crumbling and a new political institution began to fill the void left by that collapse. This new institution was called in Italian the Stato, and it is to them that the origin of Nation-State oriented diplomacy[xxv] is often traced to: specially the city-states of central and northern Italy during the early Renaissance.

Italy’s economic revival, geographic location, and a microcosm of state-systems led to frequent wars and the necessity to maintain a balance of power, which necessitated constant diplomatic interaction. The Medieval customs of diplomacy, based on occasional dispatch and receipt of envoys on specific short-term mission, was no longer adequate to their needs. A shift needed to take place at the theoretical/religious level, diplomats as representative of a State and not emissaries of higher needs of Christendom, and at the practical level, an effective and durable mechanism to gather and report intelligence and to sustain diplomatic dialogue.

Rome remained the center of Italian diplomacy, in the form of the Church, but by the late 15th century resident embassies became the norm among Italian city-states and the start of outside-the-peninsula permanent representation. In 1464, Milan sent its representative to the court of France.[xxvi] In 1494, confronted with the invasion by France, the Italian city-states enhanced their subtle and expedient diplomatic techniques as a counter balance to the force they lacked. The city-state's enthusiasm and growing conviction of developing diplomacy as a tool ensuring their survival within a win-lose game became stronger. Led by Niccolò Macchivelli's writing, this period in Italy became the birth place of a new era in the narrative of diplomacy: the “realpolitik”.

Machiavelli: The Prince

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469 –1527) was an Italian political philosopher and diplomat serving the Florentine Republic. Based in Florence during the heart of the Renaissance, Machiavelli was exposed to debates of his time where the empowerment of human beings was not seen as a preparation for the afterlife but as a tool for the living life. It was the historical moment when ancient Greek and Roman writing were re-discovered and where philosophy and “raison”, rather than belief and religion, became the basis of ethics.

From 1498 to 1512, Machiavelli worked as a diplomat for his Republic, but in 1512 the republic underwent a revolution and the autocratic Medici family returned to power. Machiavelli was forced into exile in a hamlet near Florence[xxvii] and it is during this period that he wrote the classics for what is known today as “political realism” or realpolitik.In understanding Machiavelli and his writings, it is important to contextualize him in the historical period he lived in: on the one hand the Renaissance, where “reason” was the most important tool for human beings, and on the other hand the overthrow of a republican state by an authoritarian regime.

Machiavelli’s contribution to political thought was instant and The Prince, his most widely read work, became to be considered as one of the bibles for a Nation State oriented diplomacy. The Prince is a first person narration which gives practical advice to an Italian prince trying to create a new State. His advice is simple: Kingdoms (States) are in constant conflicts with each other and the objective of the prince (Head of State) is to ensure the protection and growth of it. With a Darwinian understanding of State dynamics and evolution -the fittest survives – Macchiavelli elaborated the idea of raison d'etat. Translated into English as “National Interest” and “Interest of the State”, the literal translation is “Reason of State”. This literal translation implies a justification based on raison for the existence of the State, in the sense of “the actions that ensure the existence of the State are based on logic that secure the survival of the State”. This is an approach where the ends of diplomacy – State survival -justify the means of diplomacy – actions with respect to relation of States.

The desired end was to increase the powers of the prince and the State. The means were politically actions that referred to a different notion of justice and morality. The standard to judge was raison d’état, not Christian (religious) ethics.

Machiavelli's idea of how diplomacy must be approached, raison d’état, caught on, and its objective was understood and its means analyzed and evaluated. It became the basis for diplomacy in post 15th century Europe; the realpolitik form of diplomacy.

Raison looks at diplomatic relations from the lens of “reality” where the état functioned in relation to its politik. A diplomatic approach based on practical objectives rather than on ideals.[xxviii] Realpolitik is the gift of Macchiavelli to diplomacy; a diplomacy which “supposedly” is based on “reason” and “reality” and that looks at State security and prosperity as a win-lose game.

Westphalia and the pre-World Wars Era

At the end of the 15th century, the days of the Italian city-state microcosm were numbered. The more powerful world beyond the Alps began to influence Italian affairs and in 1494, the successful French invasion and Spain, along with the revived Holy Roman Empire, made Italy a battle field for 60 years.[xxix] The Italian microcosm was heavily destroyed, but the control and exposure of the trans-alpine forces on the Italian peninsula made them incorporate diplomatic techniques and institutions that the Italian states had developed. The Italian Renaissance paved the way of for the future European way of diplomacy: a diplomacy based on a concept of Nation States (to which Italian city-states resembled).

In 1648, after the 30 year war in continental Europe, the peace agreement of Westphalia was reached. This moment in History marked the beginning of separating State from religion and with it the formation of modern States based on their own will, their own sovereignty.

The development of diplomacy between Westphalia and the Congress in Vienna (1814-15) is described by Adam Watson as the five phase development.[xxx] First, the concept of a professional diplomat propagated. Second, the idea that diplomats belong to a special category of people with special privileges and a common objective of maintaining good working relations, even if their governments quarreled, took precedence. Consequently, diplomats started meeting on a regular basis and congresses began to play an increasingly important role in ending and regulating conflict. Fourthly, diplomacy was increasingly conceived of as a management mechanism for the balance of power; ensuring the existence of international actors. Finally, institutions managing diplomacy relations merged within ministries of foreign affairs.

In the period that followed the Congress of Vienna to the First World War, diplomacy was Great-Power-centric and the smaller or weaker powers were either colonies or depended on one of the Great Powers for their diplomatic relations. The colonial approach developed a diplomatic conception where Great Powers had a common responsibility towards the Small Powers in preserving their bilateral, intra and inter-State peace. This also implied a right to intervention in conflict or crises situations.[xxxi]

The precarious tendency and ability of European powers to manage their relations with recourse to diplomacy and not general war ended in 1914, with the beginning of the First World War. This historical moment seems to convey an accumulated inter-State tension that their diplomatic methods were not able to resolve. War was becoming the incorrect-solution, but 19th century and early 20th century form of diplomacy was not yet the answer.

Historians would later see the First World War and the inability to reach a stable settlement after in 1919 as the end of the bilateral and European-oriented system of diplomacy. New Nation States were established after decolonization and a new diplomatic structure needed to be conceived to address this shift in world relations.

Post-WWII Diplomacy

The treaty of Paris in 1919 established the League of Nations. This was not the first international organization, but it was the first whose objective was to achieve international peace and security[xxxii] based on inter-State diplomacy and co-operation with a limited delegation of decision making power to which the Nation States were bound.

As the first organization of its kind, the League of Nations (LoN) had certain defects[xxxiii] but it paved the path towards the possibility of an end to secret meeting, at least in some spheres of international relations. The failed objective of the League of Nations, with the outbreak of the Second World War and its subsequent peace agreement established two major new international bodies: the United Nations and the European Coal and Steal Community (the original organization of today's European Union).

The United Nations began with 51 member States and the European Coal and Steel Community with six. Today the UN has 193 members and the EU has 27, and a large number of intergovernmental organizations, both regional and global, have been established in the past 67 years. New diplomatic curves were born out of the decolonization process and the principle of self-determination. Envoys representing small States or indigenous communities were seen on the streets of New York and Geneva and as the small Nation-States gained importance. In some organization these small States have gained a combined majority (like the UN) and have altered the organization’s outlook and priorities by raising new world concerns (racial issues, environment sustainability, subsidies, etc.). Beyond the East-West division of the Cold War, they developed new separation parameters in the form of “North-South” or the non-Aligned Movement.

Diplomacy became both, specified (in content) and broad (in participation). Diplomacy was not only about ensuring peace and security but disarmament negotiations, environmental and border concerns. The complexity of diplomatic missions increased, and with it new experiments within the field developed. The rising importance of multilateral diplomacy encouraged the international community to adopt a new approach to diplomacy, a new standpoint to look at realpolitik, and a new lens for what is to be understood as “real” within today's “politics”.

The Diplomatic Experiment of Today and the problem with Realpolitik

Realpolitik has been the predominant diplomatic doctrine from the time of Machiavelli, both in Europe and subsequently the world. It is an outlook that is based on “raison”; where politics is a game of practical and material factors rather than on theoretical or ethical objectives.[xxxiv] The underlying assumption is that the success of one Nation State is the loss of the other.

Within the term, “real” suggest a win-lose game: the capacity of a State to survive, grow and ensure its security at the expense of the others. But does this understanding of “real” ensure the previously mentioned objective? And what do we understand by “real”?

Trying to define “real” is a fascinating, but very dangerous philosophical exercise, which does not serve the purposes of this essay and as such will not be elucidated. However, what the “real” implies is a notion of authority through its objective nature. With such and axiom, how can the “real” ever be contradicted? And if the “real” is a politics of a win-lose game then this is how the global community must look at diplomacy and international law.

Is the realpolitik a win-lose game where the ethical and theoretical raisons are not tangible with practical and material factors? And which kind of raison leads to survival? And whose survival is being discussed?

The post WWI and WWII changes in the diplomatic relations among States and the international organization experiments are at the root of a changing view of diplomacy. While the definition of realpolitik has not changed, the understanding of what is “real” within this “politik” is drifting from its original significance. The shift of what the international community understands as “real” can be gathered from the shift of international diplomacy in the form of intergovernmental organization (the United Nations, the European Union, etc.), non-governmental organizations and the development of international law and international adjudication.

The “real” has become an experiment of a win-win game, where Nation States are afraid of completely rejecting and straying from the Machiavellian philosophy. At the same time they are touching the waters of a realpolitik experiment based on cooperation as a tool for survival, prosperity and security, where ethics is the foundation for sustainability and mutual trust-building. Nation-States invest in military and work for disarmament, they protect national trade and open channels for development cooperation, and they invade Iraq and announce the Millennium Decelerations. These changing stances on diplomatic cooperation and strategy are the very expression of a win-win diplomatic experiment.


The history of diplomacy is the history of ideas and the changing virtues, and the flaw of diplomacy is the continuous struggle of finding a synthesis between the thesis and the antithesis of the values of diplomacy: the traditional vs. the modern.

Traditionalism maintains the unchanged ethical foundations and takes forward the foundations in its substance[xxxv] while expressing it in new forms with every passing generation. Modernism, on the other hand, believes in continuous change. Every generation re-invents everything anew. When diplomacy is based on ethics it is called traditional diplomacy and based on interest then its modern diplomacy.

Throughout history there have been very modern understandings of diplomacy in ancient times and very traditional approaches in modern times, and these have combined within their traditional and modern outlook towards beliefs. Kautilya, the 3rd century Indian diplomat, had a very traditional belief system but a very modern approach to diplomacy, and so does the current Vatican State or Israel. There also are modernist in ethics and in diplomacy, like Machiavelli, or traditionalist in both ethics and diplomacy, like Cicerone in ancient Rome or Ashoka[xxxvi] in ancient India. The fourth combination is the new experiment of the past 70 years, where modern belief systems are combined with traditional ethical policies of diplomacy: the United Nations is such a combination.

Diplomacy can be conducted for two reasons: either because it is not convenient to go to war or because there is an interest in collaboration, where States don't try to win over the other but win with the other. Today's changing diplomacy is an experiment of a new outlook to a traditional view of diplomacy. This is an experiment of cooperation for mutual security, prosperity and growth. The flaws of such will create the virtues for the future evolution of diplomacy; a diplomacy that on the author's hope will look at realpolitik as the challenge of the “we” and not the 'I”.

[i] History of Diplomacy. Britannica Encyclopedia, URL = <>

[ii] Nigro Jr., Louis J. Theory and Practice of Modern Diplomacy: Origins and Development to 1914. The US Army War College Guide to National Security Issues, Vol. 1: Theory of War and Strategy. Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College (SSI), Carlisle, United States (2010): p. 173.

[iii] Downey, Declan. History of Public Diplomacy. UCD School of History and Archives.

[iv] Barston, Ronald Peter. Modern Diplomacy. Pearson Education (2006): p. 1.

[v] History of Diplomacy. Britannica Encyclopedia.

[vi] Nigro Jr., Louis J.. Theory and Practice of Modern Diplomacy: Origins and Development to 1914.

[vii] History of Diplomacy. Britannica Encyclopedia.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Theology and Religion. Department of Philosophy, University of Cumbria.

[xi] Freeman Jr., Charles W.. Diplomat's Dictionary. DIANE Publishing (Nov 1, 1994): p. 26.

[xii] Chandrasekaran, Pravin. Kautilya: Politics, Ethics and Statecraft. Munich Personal RePEc Archive, MPRA Paper No. 9962 (05 May 2006): p. 3.

[xiii] Ibid. p 10.

[xiv] History of Diplomacy. Britannica Encyclopedia.

[xv] Sandhi (peace): based on accepting other kingdoms, allowing them, where the aim is keep relations rather than resolve hostility
Vigraha (shows of force): showing “hostility” towards kingdoms that are equal in power or subordinate in power is sometimes necessary.
Asana (non-alignment): a policy of non-alignment with kingdoms (States) which are “neutral” with regard to their foreign policy towards you and also it can be beneficial in the case of equal power status.
Dvaidhibhava (double-dealing): “double” policy with kingdoms of superior militarily power and keeping strong relations with kingdoms whose alliance could swing on either side.
Samsarya (alliances): The policy of protection over weak kingdoms from attacks of stronger kingdoms and use this alliance.
Yana (war): The policy of going to war in situations where an unjust king keeps his society unhappy for ethical reason but also because such a State is potentially weak due to social unrest, making the chances of winning higher

[xvi] History of Diplomacy. Britannica Encyclopedia.

[xvii] Ibid.

[xviii] Ibid.

[xix] Ibid.

[xx] Ibid.

[xxi] Ibid.

[xxii] Ibid.

[xxiii] Ibid.

[xxiv] The historical origin of contemporary diplomacy is often associated with Machiavelli and the Italian Renaissance. Machiavelli's theory of diplomacy is referred as the Realpolitik and I preferred using this term as the title instead of “Contemporary” because of the theoretical shift of diplomacy, in this period, in analyzing diplomacy through a lens of “reality” (the “rational”) where the aim is a win-lose play. This period also marked the beginning of nation-state oriented diplomacy.

[xxv] Also known as “modern diplomacy” or “contemporary diplomacy”

[xxvi] History of Diplomacy. Britannica Encyclopedia.

[xxvii] Nigro Jr., Louis J.. Theory and Practice of Modern Diplomacy: Origins and Development to 1914.

[xxviii] Encyclopedia Britannica.

[xxix] Nigro Jr., Louis J.. Theory and Practice of Modern Diplomacy: Origins and Development to 1914.

[xxx] Ibid.203.

[xxxi] Ibid.203. As described by Harol Nicolson in The Evolution of Diplomacy, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1966, pp. 100-105. Interestingly the concept of a right to intervention is still present in the current international relations in the form of Humanitarian Intervention and its development into Responsibility to Protect.

[xxxii] The Covenant of the League of Nations.

[xxxiii] Among other reasons, the very State that proposed the project and idea, the United States of America, never became a party to the organization.

[xxxiv] Merriam Webster Dictionary.

[xxxv] If the ethical principles are based on religion then they do not change, but if they are based on other parameters then they can change.

[xxxvi] Codified in the Edicts of Ashoka. Interestingly Ashoka was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, the King Kautilya had trained, but he rejected most of Kautilya's diplomatic teachings.

Fausto Aarya De Santis is Communication Manager at the Eugad Project, New Delhi Area, India. He holds an MA from the University for Peace.