In this chapter the final conclusion for the problem formulation will be sought. This will be done through a critique of the previous three analytical chapters which took their basis in soft power, neorealism and constructivism.
In relation to the theory and analytical chapter of neorealism, this theory is in its very nature quite conservative and static. Because of its firm view that the basic ways states are relating to one another never changes – there will always be anarchy and states will always secure themselves, even if it means attacking others. This leaves no room for analysis of concepts like public diplomacy or nation branding, but it rather dismisses these outright. Furthermore a puzzling aspect to this theory is that if the state is a rational actor and public diplomacy initiatives equals nonsense – how can a state then rationally choose to organize and fund significant public diplomacy strategies.
As for the analytical approach of constructivism – this theoretical approach leaves plenty of room to speculate about the causes and effects of public diplomacy strategies. As it potentially attributes quite a significant amount of importance to public diplomacy initiatives, it thereby also makes it more understandable why so much time, effort and resources are channelled into public diplomacy, nation branding and cultural diplomacy initiatives. Furthermore it leaves open room for the most positive explanation of why these public diplomacy initiatives have been initialized around the world. This is explained in the analytical chapter as because there is a change of culture taking place or about to change place in the international environment which will affect how states are reacting towards one another.
One of the more problematic areas of the explanatory model this theory offers is also why it is ultimately rejected as usable in achieving a satisfactory answer to the problem formulation is that the theory is too open-ended. Basically the theory leaves room to explain any and all state behaviour towards other states. Some firm standpoints of the theory would make it easier to utilize efficiently. As the theory stands now, the only firm standpoint it has is that international relations is what states make of it. As it stands, state actions and behaviour is completely dependable on how states are socialized towards one another in the international environment. If the international environment does not see armed conflict for a significant amount of time the states inhabiting this environment will ultimately stop even considering armed conflict in the future.
With regards to the theory of soft power and its analytical approach to the present problems it occupies a middle-ground between the stance taken by the constructivist approach and the stance taken by the neorealist approach. The explanatory model used with this theory attributes a certain amount of potential towards the public diplomacy initiatives seen around the world. Even though attributes much significance to what the initiatives are aimed at achieving it promotes some scepticism towards whether it will succeed or not. The reason for this scepticism is that presently it seems like most states are prioritizing other areas before considering soft power – namely economic, military or domestic issues. As the theory of soft power estimates that it is necessary to act on a large front in order for soft power to rise to any significance – even if it means taking unwise decisions in relation to economic growth or domestic support. A point of interest is especially with regards to nation branding. As nation branding is a close cousin of public diplomacy one would assume that they would complement each other but that is not the case as it was discovered. Rather the false or idealized images promoted through nation branding campaigns diverts quite a bit from several of the basic principles of public diplomacy – namely to promote openness, dialogue and most importantly increase credibility and honesty.
Finally, to address the problem formulation with some concluding remarks – the reasons why public diplomacy initiatives has gained prominence in the last years can be attributed to an increased recognition of soft power. It is currently not deemed to be of much importance though, as the area still has a secondary priority despite praising words from ministries of foreign affairs around the world. Since it is only a secondary priority and does not receive the kind of all round support it needs, it is not likely to foreign policy goals more easily attainable. In relation to the last part of the problem formulation – whether or not the focus on public diplomacy constitutes a breakthrough in international relations – the answer must be no. It might one time play a primary role of international relations but it will not change the basic principles states are operating under internationally.
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Abstract of “The New Era of Diplomacy: The Effects of Public Diplomacy, Nation Branding and Cultural Diplomacy”
The topic on which the thesis is centered is on concepts of public diplomacy, nation branding and cultural diplomacy – especially public diplomacy is in focus. The aim of the thesis is why these concepts has rised in prominence amongst several ministries of foreign affairs in Europe and North America lately and has become an integrated part of their diplomatic strategy. Furthermore it seeks to explore whether these concepts will contribute to an increased efficiency in reaching foreign policy goals and if they signify a fundamental change in the way international relations are viewed. The first parts of the thesis gives a short outline of the history of traditional diplomacy, followed by a presentation of public diplomacy, nation branding and cultural diplomacy. The biggest significance is given to the presentation of public diplomacy as it is the most analytically interesting concept in relation to the problem formulation.
These questions are explored from the viewpoint of three theories namely Joseph S. Nye’s theory of soft power, Kenneth Waltz’ view of neorealism and Alexander Wendt’s version of constructivism. Where the analysis from the neorealist perspective dismisses the importance of public diplomacy and partly nation branding the constructivist are more enthusiastic in its approach – accepting the possibility of fundamental change in international relations, partly due to the significance of public diplomacy. The theory of soft power occupies a middle-ground between the other two theories and is cautiously optimistic of public diplomacy but very sceptical towards nation branding. Regretably the analysis from the soft power approach deems public diplomacy to have limited relevance in international relations at the moment as most state initiatives to increase their soft power are at best half-hearted. In the conclusion the analytical results of the soft power approach are deemed more realistic than both constructivism and neorealism.
The methodological approach of the thesis is very theoretically centered and a significant effort has been put in presenting the three theories thoroughly with use of both the works of the theorists themselves as well as several works of philosophers often cited by them – including Immanuel Kant, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.