Diplomacy and Empathy

A good diplomat will always try to put himself in the position of the person with whom he is negotiating, to understand his objectives and needs, and try to imagine what he would wish, do, and say, under those circumstances.

— Satow’s Diplomatic Practice

Perspective

One of the main purposes of university education is to escape from the Zeitgeist, from the mean, narrow, provincial spirit which is constantly assuring us that we are at the peak of human achievement, that we stand on the edge of unprecedented prosperity or unparalleled catastrophe…It is a liberation of the spirit to acquire perspective…to learn that the same moral predicaments and the same ideas have been explored before.

— Martin Wight

The Nuances of Diplomacy

Diplomatists are specialists in precise and accurate communication. They are more than mere couriers or heralds; they are experts in detecting and conveying nuances of international dialogue, are equipped not merely to deliver a message but to judge the language in which it should be couched, the audience to whom and the occasion at which it should be presented.

–Hedley Bull

Diplomacy and Peace

The diplomat possesses a dignitas, which derives from the state he or she represents. We speak of war diplomacy in awareness that the activity does not and arguably must not cease during wartime, which creates its own problems of diplomacy. It is usual, however, to think of diplomatic activity as a branch of politics in the service of peace and not war. Diplomats, at their best, are peacemakers and peace-preservers rather than warmongers. Classical diplomacy, Martin Wight’s phrase, is a civilized and civilizing activity.  — Robert Jackson