Just Greasing the Wheels? Mediating Difference or the Evasion of Power and Responsibility in Diplomacy

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We traditionally see diplomats as mediators.They build bridges between nations and they repair them when they break. During a crisis, diplomats ‘keep it cool’ and try to prevent the crisis from worsening into armed conflict. Diplomats are the men and women who keep the international system running despite its fundamentally conflictual nature. At least, this is how diplomats have portrayed their profession for hundreds of years. However,the focus of this contribution is how diplomacy in general is seen as mediating among states, peoples and ideas — and why this is an incomplete view. This short contribution is therefore concerned with the way in which scholarly understandings of diplomacy as the mediation of estrangement raise — but also evade — questions of power and responsibility.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalThe Hague Journal of Diplomacy
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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