Alternative Diplomacy

I find non traditional diplomacy fascinating.  It’s why I looked into the role of international cooperation in Cuban space projects.  I was going to explore China’s panda program, but Vox beat me to the punch:

Diplomacy isn’t old men in powdered wigs speaking French in elegant rooms.  Since the beginning of international relations, there have been interesting examples of states using whatever tools they had available to send a message.  Want to avoid war? Marry your son to the other guy’s daughter.  Someone make a wrong move in a trade agreement?  Take their panda.*  One of my favorite, more personal (and unsuccessful) examples are the letters between Kaiser Wilhelm and his cousin, Tsar Nicholas, on the cusp of the first world war (familial diplomacy?).

It may be false to term it “non traditional diplomacy,” as these methods are, in fact, the most traditional.  It’s just not the stiff postured family pictures of world leadership.  It’s not all intellectual elites and sterilized conversation.

Clearly, alternative diplomacy can be a weapon, sending grimace or a growl.  But it makes you (or me, at least) think that the dance between nations is less a waltz than a zeibekiko.

*Want to establish an effective national park system and encourage peace democratic institutions?  Send in park rangers!

Note: the picture is of a panda at the American National Zoo.


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