From scheduled jet airline services to millions of bookings simultaneously around the world, experiencing foreign exchange turnover $3,500 billion in a daily basis, a broadcast of CNN reaching 260 million households within a second, on the other hand, several airplane crashes or computer viruses which are designed by an individual who knocks off a bank account at the diametrically opposite geography in the world…
These facts are being considered as a daily routine for most communities without interrogating the insight of these facts, however, a combination of forenamed practices also poses a challenge for our reality and our perception on reality: namely globalization. To describe the phenomenon, liberalists argue that its main focus is the economic interconnectedness of actors while political realists put forward inter-state activities in terms of core-periphery relations. Nevertheless, the mutual opinion which they agree on is that intensification of supra-territoriality in the 21st-century world affairs and the decline in statism promoted the notion of global governance which emphasizes polycentric governance notion. Since the consensus has been reached by many scholars, accessing a coherent basis for operational polycentric global governance and actors of the concept have become prominent variables. From this perspective, understanding Global South is the key component to launch a more inclusionary and functioning system.
In the contemporary world, it is a fact that multinational actors and NGOs have an ability to act beyond the defined borders. For instance, agencies who are heads of global financial and communicational companies like Shell and General Motors or non-governmental organizations such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International have the capacity to lobbying and involving decision-making mechanisms, shaping future global agenda on various topics from ecological preservation to transcontinental agreements. Equivalent practices are recognized as the primary characteristics of globalization also known as the post-Westphalian state model. Before the post-Westphalian understanding, the majority of states were functioning as Scholte argued “Westphalian sovereignty held that each state would exercise supreme, comprehensive, unqualified and exclusive rule over its territorial jurisdiction” (2005, p.188). This notion of centralised and incontestable state authority dominated world affairs for almost four hundred years, however, as a result of a decline in statism, the state has transformed itself into a polycentric and more transparent model that authority has become a questionable concept by states’ “citizens”. More significantly, the state authority has recognized its society as rulers, not the subjects to be ruled. In this sense, states are expected to adopt and internalize some patterns such as an efficient social welfare system, avoiding unnecessary armed conflicts or defend its domestic interest by collaborating through foreign investors. Thus, obsolescence of statism has been proposed as a new outlook which paved the way for polycentric global governance driven by reconstructed intrastate relations and capable agencies in the system.
Apart from all these progress, there is Global South where the historical development of state-state and citizen-state relations are fairly dissimilar in comparison with the Global North case which limits Global South’s contribution to the global governance. To specify most diversified inspirations on global governance, nation-building myth can be elaborated. It is assumed that the idea of nation is standardized by a common language, law, religion and territory. Furthermore, discussion maintains as such “Longevity, effectiveness, and successful mythmaking are essential ingredients of the state legitimacy formula” (ed. Aydinli & Rosenau, 2005). From this viewpoint, industrialized countries in Global North, namely in Europe and North America, have had the stage and considerable material and intellectual capability to accomplish communal nexus and to form collective myths which ended up with the foundation of the EU, NATO and suchlike bodies which substantially contribute to global governance at the moment. However, most of the countries in Global South, particularly the Third World countries, are far beyond reaching such an integrity with their neighbors since the Third World emancipation has been started in mid-18th century up to mid-20th century. According to Scholte, “National identities in the South developed largely through opposition to colonial rule” (2005, p.132). It can be deducted from the argument, there is no wonder that components and historical developments of the post-Westphalian state structure sound unacquainted advancements to communities in Global South which have established their national identities against the predecessors of post-Westphalian argument. In fact, as Scholte argues, “polycentrism both captures the multi-sited character of current governance and invites an exploration of the interplay between sites” (2005, p. 187). Nevertheless, within this North-South framework, approaches to the global governance do not highlight inclusive skeletons of the notion and support the polycentrism idea which ensures practical basis on the topic since interplay between states are mainly based on one-sided view and the social cognitions are immensely dissimilar.
Secondly, another core element of the global governance is a civil society that assists to exceed the polycentric point of view by the masses whose constitutional rights and liberties are not evaluated as low politics any longer thanks to the changing state dynamics. At this point, Scholte argues that “The shift from statism to polycentrism has prompted changes in the object of civil society activity away from the state alone to a multi-scalar and diffuse governance apparatus” (2005, p. 186). Within this context, civil society is principally organized around NGOs and empowering them to act on the legitimate basis in order to monitor events at the UN or the WTO; also lobbying to remark various concerns as well as proposals. Yet, the participation of Global North to civil society activities are much influential than Global South because the state transformation of the Third World has not been experienced comprehensively. Since colonial ties of Global South were not broken off until the mid-20th century, the state reconstruction process building upon social evolutions of communities has not taken place in most Global South countries. Scholte mentions that “National-territorial constituencies remain very important, but raison d’état has become more than raison de la nation” (2005, p. 194). The situation is a meaningful fact for societies in Global North but not for authoritarian regimes of Global South which control and intentionally restricts its citizens’ participation to civil initiatives. In other words, the polycentric outlook in the global governance which apprehends the compact interaction between states, actors and agencies has to concentrate on civil society of Global South and critically approach to understand the limited dynamics towards the concepts.
In light of the aforementioned explanations, it can be claimed that globalization has broadened our outlooks both on the world affairs and societal relations. This domain also revitalizes academic dialogues taking a shape around how to explain and expand the global governance idea in a more effective and functional way. Accordingly, if the global governance is analyzed to offer polycentric and inclusionary solutions addressing world-wide difficulties or, at least, catalyzes the delicate issues, understanding characteristics of actors and making an effort for their ongoing emancipation on nation building phenomenon and civil society case play a crucial role. Therefore, Global South constitutes a key paradigm for the better global governance.
The evolution of the concept of diplomacy
Transformation in diplomacy, like the transformation of other international scenes of international relations, has not stopped at a specific point, and whenever the global structure of transformed diplomacy has changed. Throughout history, various forms of diplomacy have been observed between countries and governments. This development is due to the activity of various factors, and as long as the factors of transformation remain, the process of transformation remains. The new age in international relations has been marked by significant developments in diplomacy. In explaining the dimensions of this evolution, we use the term “modern diplomacy” against classical diplomacy. This paper tries to highlight the historical milestones of this evolution and its components.
The increasing role of global awareness, the diminished governance of states, the growth of information and communication technology, and the growth of non-state actors are among the main factors contributing to the development of diplomacy. Diplomacy involves managing relations between governments and government relations with other Actors. With the changes in the international system, the focus and content of diplomacy have also changed and, as in the past, they are not focused on top policy. In the traditional understanding of realism of international relations, the actions of governments are influenced by tangible factors of power and the content of diplomacy is also a matter of war and peace. In the new environment, new issues such as illegal immigration, human rights, terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking, environmental risks, proliferation of arms, transnational trade, financial, economic, non-proliferation, human rights and aid issues Humanitarian, AIDS, population pressure, the prevention of indigenous and ethnic conflicts, and other crises and challenges beyond the international community that traditional diplomacy alone cannot cope with through the methods available. In other words, diplomacy in the information age includes wider areas of economic, social, cultural, environmental, scientific, legal and traditional political and military factors, and the issues of the underlying policy are more important in the agenda of diplomacy.
The five main tasks that the diplomatic apparatus does is to collect information and data, political advice, representation, negotiation, and consular services in a new international environment. New functions have also been developed: helping to enforce international regulations, representing the interests of various state and private actors, facilitating the establishment of relations between national and transnational entities, coordinating the activities of various actors in the interests of national interests, the importance of the policy of convincing and image More flexibility in foreign policy issues, crisis management in the new international environment, the development of transnational flows and the increasing role of non-state actors. Many of these tasks are withdrawn from the monopoly of the diplomatic apparatus and are carried out by new actors, while governments are still the most important actors in international politics. But at the same time, they have to divide their duties and responsibilities with diverse, broad-based, state-owned, non-state actors, transnational, and sub-national actors in different fields.
Changing the content of diplomacy, its implementation and guidance has also changed. In this new international environment, the existence of complex diplomatic relations between actors with various interests and boundaries is unclear. This undermines the role of governments in monopoly conduct and enforcement Issues and issues of foreign policy. Prior to the departure of information technology, ambassadors and diplomatic representatives had more relative credibility and independence to conduct diplomatic affairs, such as negotiating and representing duties. In traditional diplomacy, the true role of diplomats was, depending on their personal capacity, the power of the government and the powers given to them by the governments. Diplomats were aristocrats from the upper classes of the community. Bilateral relations were important to them. The protocol and procedures were of great importance.
However, as a result of the development of these technologies, the duties and responsibilities of diplomats have been subject to fundamental changes, and the facilitation of extensive and direct contact with governmental and non-governmental entities across national borders has been facilitated. If the main duties of diplomats prior to this change, the delivery of the message Leaders of countries, attending various ceremonies and formalities, sending information and negotiating, and sometimes making decisions when needed, have now changed these tasks for the sake of high-tech messaging. From the aspect of ceremonial ceremonies and diplomatic events, the concepts of these traditions have changed. In terms of sending information, the role of diplomats has lost much of its importance and also because of the natural circumstances of diplomats, diplomats consider that instead of persuading one or more people should be held accountable to public opinion and diplomatic talks It has been outsourced to a multilateral shape. In the current era, governments usually prefer diplomacy by politicians rather than diplomats. Between the heads of high-level media, private and informal relationships have been created, and the private diplomacy of heads of state and meetings, meetings, negotiations and treaties has increased. However, despite all the changes made in the implementation and guidance of diplomacy, the role of diplomats and their diplomatic expertise cannot be denied.
With the telecommunication revolution, the increase in information and the exchange of information between different countries, on the one hand, the world has become smaller and convergence has increased among countries, and on the other hand the international system has become more complex. These transformations have portrayed the role of diplomats in such a way that the existence of communications devices such as radio and television, and diplomats with more delicate tasks. On the other hand, increasing communication has had a great impact on one of the other responsibilities of diplomats, namely the gathering of information, since the spread of a variety of communication tools has made it possible to more accurately aggregate information. The Internet also created virtual communities to engage people in foreign countries that are not limited to geographical boundaries. The rapid transfer of information from mass media and new communication technologies such as satellite and Internet has ultimately led to a change in public opinion and Directions to it are intended to take advantage of new tools.
The use of new technologies in diplomacy plays an important role in facilitating and expediting negotiations, exchanging and accessing information, expediting exchanges, influencing public opinion and increasing global relations, and making the diplomatic apparatus of the countries more efficient. In the past, traditional national security tools, such as diplomacy, have addressed the physical effects of national power, such as military power and economic power, but these are not suited to new challenges and new international environments. As a result, soft power, public diplomacy, thematic, specialized diplomacy are the main elements of new diplomacy that must be met with countless actors with different interests.
Most new tools for dealing with the new challenges come from information, awareness, and out-of-state control of the state and associated with modern communication technologies. The ability of diplomacy to face new challenges and threats requires structural reforms in the use of modern tools and techniques. Today, diplomacy requires communicating with the public media, which requires special attention. “Advertising” and “public opinion” are two of the most influential factors in diplomacy. There is now a close relationship between diplomacy and the press and mass media. The broad range of people’s access to information through satellite and computer networks has flooded the socio-political environment and brought dynamism and transparency into the political literature of the twenty-first century.
Potentials of cultural diplomacy in Iran- Belgium relations
Term ‘Diplomacy’ stands for guiding of relations between individuals, groups, and nations and it is one of political terms used in the field of international ties. Under current conditions in the world, rather than the subjects which have proposed on diplomatic discussion between various countries such as commercial relations and cultural and scientific ties, this concept plays important role in improvement of world peace and international security. Basically, diplomacy is an important tool for realization of national interests within political, economic, and cultural relations between nations and diplomacy requires for adaption of special and professional forms of interaction between agents of nations in various fields e.g. politics, trade, and cultural ties etc. so that it is discussed about political diplomacy, economic diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, and public diplomacy and the like.
The cultural diplomacy is deemed as one of the efficient and important techniques in relations between nations that aim to improve cultural, scientific and educational relations which will be consequently led to enhancement of political and economic relations as well. This type of diplomacy looks for deepening of cultural relations among the countries and improvement of relation and interdependence between them and upgrading of level of recognition and perception of various international environments and it is implemented through different tools such as educational and academic relations and holding of various conferences and academic communications, exchange of teacher and students, educational and researching cooperation, artistic exchanges (cinema and theatre etc.), games and sports, festivals and holding of book fair etc. and currently this type of diplomacy has devoted high capacity at the international arenas.
Principally, Iran and Belgium are two important and influential countries in both Asian and European continents and improvement of communication between these two countries may lead to strengthening of relations among Europe and Asia and the Middle East.
Due to geographic situation, high population (over 75 million), wide economic market, cultural and civilization potentials, and power for influence in Islamic world, Iran enjoys high potential effect in Asia, the Middle East, and Islamic world and at the same time Belgium is a country with approximately 11million peoples is also deemed highly important in Europe for the following reasons: Firstly, the presence of several wide road arteries, great ports and significant airports has converted Belgium into a transit hub at Europe; furthermore, this country enjoys the annual volume of foreign trade up to 700 billion Euros and possesses advanced industries including in the field of transportation etc. secondly, this country is the headquarter of European Union (EU) and the related institutes and for this reason it is called as European capital ‘ therefore, it highly influences in Europe EU. At third place, Belgium is presently the fifth trading partners for Iran among EU countries where the existing potentials can be developed.
The scientific and cultural cooperation is the complementary dimension for these potentials which may have synergic effect on relations between two countries and cultural diplomacy id the foremost tool in such communications. One of important examples of these potentials is the educational and researching relations between two countries as well as holding of joint meetings, conferences and workshops and exchanges of cultural and artistic products for which this diplomacy may prepare the ground for improvement of relations other cooperation fields. Accordingly, in addition to contribution to interests of both countries, such diplomacy can pave the way for more extensive relations among Europe and Iran and even under current conditions when the world suffers from insecurity, extremism, and terrorism, such scientific and cultural relations and interaction and communications between elites of two nations can contribute to creation of common perception of threats to which the world peace and symbiosis is exposed in order to strengthen moderate and peaceful discourses among Islamic world and the west.
First published in our partner Mehr News Agency
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