By Agha Iqrar Haroon
There is a saying in Diplomacy that leading and taking part in mediation is a laborious trade and every conflict is different from the last one we have encountered and already solved.
Diplomats have confidence in mediation for mitigating conflicts and believe that mediation is a heavily human-centric effort and there is no specific formula to be followed by mediators. There is one big impediment that students of diplomacy like me face the un-documentation of a majority of deliberations for conflict resolution because nature of confidentiality and secrecy unless warring parties do not reach to consensus. We still do not officially know what had been decided between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Geneva Summit that was held on November 19 and 20, 1985. Diplomats consider this summit one of the most important meetings that ever happened in the 20th century.
Being a Diplomatic Correspondent, I always follow diplomatic events and seminars to grab the sense and sensibility of what actually diplomacy is? Antalya Diplomacy Forum (ADF) is one such event. This year the Forum is being held on 11-13 March 2022 under the dark clouds of the Russia-US/NATO standoff in Ukraine.
Being a NATO member, Turkey stands with the United States and has justified the European vision that Turkey would never go against NATO’s decision if NATO has in serious trouble. I have been indicating this viewpoint in my writings for a long that people who promote the idea of a diplomatic bloc comprising of China, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and Turkey either live in dreamlands or do not understand the basic realities of international relations. Alas, a number of senior regional analysts in Pakistan have been promoting this misconception and Pakistani media has been using this delusion as headline stories. Good for them.
Antalya Diplomacy Forum” is a high-level gathering of professionals from all over the world who work in the field of diplomacy such as political leaders, diplomats, opinion makers or academics. It is an excellent platform for understanding with undercurrents of diplomacy, policy-making, and international challenges.
Diplomacy is no more a job rather a profession and an open space for writers, academicians, political philosophers, and thinkers to contribute in the field that had been an exclusive space for career diplomats just three decades ago because Diplomacy is transforming drastically. Its language and methods are changing. New fluctuations in global affairs have intensified the need for transformation.
This year over 2000 guests comprising Heads of State and Governments, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and high-level representatives of the International Organizations are expected to attend the Antalya Diplomacy Forum (ADF) providing a range of communications on global and regional issues among the representatives of politics, science, media, and business. ADF has become the first conference held with physical participation and remarkable attendance in the post-pandemic period.
This year the theme of the Forum is “Recoding Diplomacy”. The participants will address a wide range of topics in international relations under the overarching theme of “Recoding Diplomacy”.
The Forum agenda paper says that the recoding of diplomacy encompasses finding effective ways to communicate national interests with renewed language, insight, and impact while making extensive use of rapidly changing and innovative digital capabilities. Reaching out to a younger generation is among the top priorities.
In the last ADF that was held on June 18, 2021, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that he believed that Diplomacy is (was) an institution that constitutes the balance between the forces of peace and war, has constantly increased its importance with its preventive character.
He also talked about the system of the United Nations and said that the aim of his struggle under the banner of “the world is larger than 5” is to rid of the burdens of the old and embrace the new because the fate of approximately 8 billion people cannot be left to the mercy of the 5 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. I believe he is right to say this because all wars and invasions over weaker countries after World War II had been executed by any of five permanent members who used the right of Veto to continue their aggression over humanity. Erdogan is justified to say that a system (UN Security Council) that gives 190 countries the right to sit at the table for a while but not a say in their own destiny, cannot produce justice. So the question is how can we change this system because those who benefit from the status quo will of course not want to change the system.
I understand that agenda of the Forum was decided in the last session of the last Forum and Ukraine is not included in agenda officially but I am sure it cannot be out of the discussion. I believe that the Ukraine crisis is the ultimate result of diplomatic failure because nobody was listening to anybody and everybody was showing every muscle it could, resulting in a situation that could have been averted and avoided. I am a firm believer that humanity needs robust diplomacy to resolve tensions, manage change, facilitate adaptation and promote cooperation to avoid Afghanistan bombing, Iraq disaster, or Syrian ruined cities but for this diplomacy must stay efficient and “acceptable” to all irrespective of their military might or poor resources.
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.