Diplomacy in times of isolationism


After recent Summit US-North Korea we definitely could conclude that a bilateral position doesn’t cancel the possibility of dialogue and the most important: an exercise of Diplomacy.

The joint action focus seems to be the best way-out for a world in crisis that demands coordinated actions and supranational goals, however we must be open to the new realities in which isolationism, nationalism and an excess of independent leadership positions are the key goal. If we do not do it we are going to be frustrated and blocked in terms of capacity for delivering effective responses.

Let be realistic: in any ideological position any leader is able to exercise Diplomacy and make links among countries on an international basis although not within a global strategy.

We must see this new trend under an open mind as a new challenge to address. This political attitude will further innovation among European Union institutions and leaders in relation to US new focus and to all those countries that are stepping back from a global sphere of action.

In the case of the relations with North Korea it seems that it is most effective to get to a bilateral agreement that from global institutions. Not so with Iran that has shown capacity of Diplomacy and enough political flexibility to negotiate and being inserted in a global world within global codes.

We must be realistic on the fact that in times of crisis there are always people and leaders that see isolationism as the way-out. Brexit is one of those examples; the main message from Leave campaigners was about European financial and institutional crisis. Without taking into account that Europe was not the only responsible and that were –somehow still- immersed in a financial crisis that impacted all countries around the world. Despite that, the citizenship reacts positively to the idea of being isolated and “get rid of all their troubles” by leaving that “big monster” named Europe. It was unfair and now they are facing the mobilization of thousands of people demanding a 2d referendum. Is it time to reflect about the euphoria that isolationist positions create and that “sells” as the way out for all crises. More than the own risk of adopting isolated positions its important to move forward towards the need to be politically responsible of this kind of decisions. Strong processes of transparency and accountability are not incompatible with an anti-global focus.

Isolationism under a democratic system also means empowered citizens that demand a constant exercise of Diplomacy and action at international level.

An anti-global/isolationist position does not represent indifference of current crises and by sure, inaction.

As the sculpture we need to unfold the true essence of a global world by a results-driven strategy focused on Diplomacy and political empathy. Is a matter of realism but above all of effectiveness in terms of peace building results. If isolationism has become the “new ideology” lets accepted and adapted by giving a space in which dialogue and connection –within a global institutional framework or not- are part of a new global/international political stage.


*David Harber, Garden sculpture Kernel

The endless dialogue: a tool at the service of change. State-citizens.


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