Issues in Brief, No. 14, April 2010

IIB014coverDiplomacy is Stalling: How the G20 Can Catch Up with the World
By Ambassador Paul Webster Hare

April 2010 (8 pages)
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In the past 65 years, diplomacy – in contrast to business, non-governmental organizations and communications – has made few fundamental changes in its operations. The traditional form of negotiations practiced by our governments continues. The forces that are fashioning how we interact as global citizens have not generated effective adjustments in the diplomatic world; governments are not harnessing the power of the “global community” that would add a new dimension to our diplomacy. Now the G20 presents an opportunity to overtake years of sterile debate on institutional reform.

This paper argues that outdated diplomacy contributes to our governments’ failing performance, and proposes four steps the G20 could take quickly that would tap into new sources of international convergence, provide a new collective vision, and offer more productive approaches to the transnational issues that our leaders talk about. It suggests creating a new Global Calling, an international peace corps operated by governments for the 21st century.

Ambassador Paul Webster Hare, British ambassador to Cuba from 2001-04, served for 30 years in the British Diplomatic Service. He is currently a Fellow of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, a member of the Brookings Institution Core Group on Cuba, and he lectures on international relations at Boston Unviersity.