Diplomacy embraces a multitude of interest, from the simplest matter of detail in relations between two states to vital issues of war and peace.
However, when it breaks down, the danger of war is real.
By Mosunmola Adetola
According to Oxford dictionary, “Diplomacy is the management of international relations by negotiation or the method by which these relations are adjusted and managed”
According to Ernest Satow, in his book ” GUIDE TO DIPLOMATIC PRACTICE”, he defined diplomacy as the application of tact and intelligence into the conducts of official relations between the government of independent states.
Diplomacy, on the other hand, is not an end but a means, not a purpose but a method. Thus, when agreement becomes impossible, diplomacy which is the instrument of peace becomes imperative – and foreign policy, the final sanction of which is war alone becomes operative.
It is often said that war and not peace is the normal condition of civilised human society. This is because of the frequency of war that had broken out throughout history.
In Quincy wright’s book, “THE STUDY OF WAR”, she noted that out of about 185 generations of man’s recorded existence, only 10 had known unsullied peace.
According to Karl Von Clausewitz, war is nothing but a continuation of political intercourse with the admixture of other means and a means to achieve objectives.
It can also be said to be a legitimate procedure to settling quarrels between sovereign states.
The greatest single underlying cause of war was the system of alliances which started after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. The eve of the first world war was a time of rapid globalisation, shifting power balances, rising nationalism and massive military technologies.
The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo by some Nationalist Students in 1914 led to the outbreak of the war, although negotiations could have resolved the war at that time but the Emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph saw it as a personal insult and humiliation to the country and as a result of these he gave Serbia an ultimatum to investigate and punish the culprit which Serbia challenge because of the series of Alliance entered into by most the countries, the war eventually became that of the allied forces.Russia and Germany had no business in the war but because Russia had to protect its Slavic citizens that are part of Serbia carved out of the Ottoman, while Germany got involved in the war because it wanted to regain Hungary which was its territory that got captured during the Austro-Hungary war.
Other countries like Belgium, Britian and France had to join in the war due to the series of alliance system entered into.
The failure of diplomacy to avert the war led to the killing of so many soldiers in the war, atrocities, loss of territories, the dissolution of the Ottoman empire which was a major power in the 15th century.
The Nigerian civil war can be regarded as a war where diplomacy failed. After the first coup of 1966 and the pattern of killing during the coup, the northerners felt marginalised. They however in collaboration with their British adviser, planned and executed a countercoup which brought a northerner to power. This coup kept Nigeria on a fast lane to a civil war which became a horrendous one for the country.
The war could have been averted if Ojukwu had listened to his senior in ranks as well as the Aburi accord on peaceful negotiation, but he was bent of fighting the war in other to create a state of Biafra and have total control of the Igbo populace.
Yakubu Gowon, on the other hand, was bent on fighting the war to keep Nigeria together as one.The war went on for 30 horrific months killing a lot of people and displacing others.
Korea, on the other hand, wouldn’t have been divided if diplomacy had served it primary purpose of negotiation.
After the surrender of Japan to the Allies at the close of the second world war, there were divided ideologies within the country.
The cold war era had a huge effect on their lives. After negotiations had failed on which system of government to adopt, North Korea backed by the Soviet Union made an attempt to unify the borders by forceful attacks. The United States with the assistance of United Nations-led a coalition with several other countries to provided aids and weapons to fight alongside the North Korean military forces throughout the duration of the war. A lot of lives were lost and they remained equally divided along the 38th parallel.
The 1990 Operation Desert storm which led to the Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait was another vivid example of diplomacy failure, after so many negotiations by the United Nations, the United States and other superpowers, Saddam Hussain went into war and invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, took over Kuwait and annexed its resources. The world frowned at this aggressive act by Saddam’s government at intimidating a smaller nation. As a result of these, Resolution 660 and 678 was enforced by the United Nations Security Council to use all available means including force to force Iraq out of Kuwait.
According to Tonny Benn, “war is the ultimate failure of diplomacy”. The experiences during the inter and post-war years have been discouraging and alarming to those concerned with maintaining peace, although military industrial complexes, Arms race, ideologies, Aggressive nature of man, economic imperialism and territorial borders e.t.c have however prevented the existence of war and has made diplomacy a mere negotiating tool.
The objective of diplomacy as a foreign policy tool is to protect the security of a nation by peaceful means if possible, also by giving every assistance to military operations if war can not be avoided after negotiations.