Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues (Print ISSN: 1544-0036; Online ISSN: 1544-0044)

Research Article: 2020 Vol: 23 Issue: 2

Conceptual Basis of the Modern West and East Diplomacy Study

Durbek B. Sayfullaev, Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies


The aim of this article is to provide an insight into the modern diplomacy West and East theories and compare them; to manifest how they fit into the real-world foreign policy changes and how their knowledge helps to make correct and well-calculated decisions. Historical approach in this study is regarded as a key to the solution of number of current problems in the political, economic and cultural relations amongst the countries at the moment, both at the global and regional levels. Systematization, comparative, problematic-chronological and interdisciplinary methods made it possible to highlight common and different features of West and East diplomacy, foreign policy and international relations concepts, their interrelations, structure, types, past and modern state. Practical implementation is due to the fact that international politics actually emerge from frontline practice diplomacy and one has to combine the theories’ best moments and approaches and utilize them on a daily basis in studying modern diplomacy. Only political realism and its by-products cannot provide a viable long-term policy.


Oriental Diplomacy, Western Diplomacy, International Relations, Historical Approach, Bipolar World, Multipolar World.


Relevance of the Problem and Research Design

A diplomat or leader is presumed to have a physical existence as an individual and a legal-political identity entitling to speak and act on behalf of their government or their country. It sustains a tradition of elitism defining foreign relations as an arena suitable only for those with special expertise, though human beings are imperfect interpreters and executors due to cognitive bias, ideological distortion, gendered and racial assumptions, and other idiosyncrasies. Certain knowledge, biography and psychology influence how policymakers construct the interests they choose to pursue and the means they use to pursue them (Keys, 2020).

Recent research and scientific publications’ analysis suggest that the emerging scientific theories are causing serious debate due to the lack of explanation of the reality and existing problems. This can be explained by the changes towards bipolar West-East and multipolar world diplomacy occurred over the past decades and their challenges to diplomacy.

In this work the importance of diplomacy knowledge according to its historical implementations is observed and the influence of origin of a diplomat is highlighted. The shift towards a bipolar West–East and multipolar diplomacy process is reasoned. The interrelation of “Diplomacy”, “Foreign Policy” (FP) and “International Relations” (IR) concepts is presented in a problematic-chronological manner. Conceptions of modern diplomacy theory were introduced by the author as a result of deliberations with professor Mirkasymov.

Evolution of Diplomacy Theory

The word "diplomat" is derived from the Greek word "diploma", which means official credentials. In Ancient Greece official credentials were handed to ambassadors as their testimonies and granted the authority to act on behalf of the ruler. The Celtic word for "ambashador" originally means "servant" or "slave". A sixteenth-century Italian poet aptly described an ambassador as “a weaver of friendship” (tessitore dell’amicizia). A professional diplomatic corps was in all periods frequently supplemented by experienced courtiers or civil servants without specialized training or knowledge. In the late period, outright amateurs, such as nobility members, clergy, medical doctors, or scholars, were regarded as diplomats. In European countries the word "ambassador" identifies the permanent representative of the state from the middle of the 16th century. Prior to that, diplomatic representatives in Italy were called "orator-resident" (Akhtamzyan, 2001). Diplomacy historians believe that the concept of "ambassador" in Europe was first mentioned in the texts of Julius Caesar (102-44 BC) in the Gallic War.

Diplomacy combines special professional activities codified in English literature on “cameralism” (is the specific version of mercantilism, taught and practised in the German principalities (Kleinstaaten) in the 17th and 18th centuries) and governance dated 1645 (Nechaeva, 2011), and in 1693 the "diplomaticus" has been introduced in IR as a concept of relations between sovereign states in Leibniz’s International Code of Diplomacy; and since then the meaning of the term "diplomacy" has grown exponentially as a result of changes in IR (Durdyeva, 2017). In its modern meaning this term was first used by Francois Kaler, French diplomat, who was the first ambassador of Louis XIV (Popov, 2000). The concept of diplomacy widely circulated in the relationship between states only from the eighteenth century. But this does not mean that the concept and the process of diplomacy appeared long after the concept of FP.

Byzantium, Rome, the Franks, Khazars, Arabs, the Russian church, and the Ottomans diplomacy observation showed that it was largely restricted to negotiations for exchanges of prisoners of war, truces, and other short-term issues and just little attempt at "creating the conditions for longer term security" (Kostyrya, 2018). The oldest known agreement in science is dated the 13th century BC in Egypt. A historical fact was registered on 1278 BC, with regard to Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II signing a peace treaty after a long devastating war with Hittite King Hattusilis III. According to legends, his text is made of silver pieces, and, according to his composition, this agreement became a model for other countries (Selyaninov, 1998; Bederman, 2001). During 56 centuries of human civilization only three centuries have been peaceful. Most of approximately 8,000 peace accords in history were made for "infinite terms". But their average duration does not exceed 10 years (Kirgizbayev, 2013).

Definitions of Diplomacy by Different Experts

1. A process of communication and representation, not only between states, but also between different subjects and individuals (Strezhneva & Rudenkova, 2016);

2. A set of strengths and tools for government and non-governmental institutions and institutions that regulate non-violent IR (Baryshnikov et al., 2009);

3. A collective and emotional perception of self-preservation in a hostile environment, the ultimate goal of states (Derian, 1987);

4. The manner in which the negotiations are managed by the ambassadors and the authorities, the duty or art of the diplomat (Harold Nicolson (Oxford Dictionary, 2003));

5. A science or foreign affairs, and in a narrower sense, the science or art of negotiating (Sh. Martens (Zorina et al., 1959));

6. the use of reason and morals to establish official relations between the governments of the independent states, in short-use of peaceful means by means of states (Satow, 1961); but it is not only a peaceful means of ensuring and protecting national interests;

7. a mission of carrying out or managing a bilateral or multilateral relationship, its main content is protection and promotion of national interests. At the national level, this task is assigned to foreign affairs ministries, usually carried out by professional diplomats. But at present, this task can be accomplished by other representatives of states and NGOs authorized to negotiate, along with professional diplomats. At the international level, the management function is carried out primarily by the UN system (Kapitsa, 2009).

Evolution of International Relations Theory

IR existed in the past history but term itself has appeared recently. It was introduced by Jeremy Bentham, a British philosopher (Hoogensen, 2014). Its concept in modern interpretation represents a set of international, economic, political, ideological, legal, diplomatic, military, cultural and other types of relations between nations and (more broadly) peoples (Baimuratov, 2004). The modern structure of IR also depends on the proportion of major powers and their respective coordinating forces (Torkunov, 1999).

Theoretical study of IR began after the end of the First World War. Experts point to opening of the Department of IR at the University of Wales as the actual beginning of this process (Burchill & Linklater, 2005). The second wave of development of the theory of IR appears by the end of the 1930s. The famous representatives of this direction are E. H. Carr and Hans Morgenthau. The theory of IR that emerged and developed in the midst of the Second World War gave rise to the principle of collective security as the foremost principle of international politics. But theorists and FP practitioners had a very insignificant connection with them, thus making many theoretical writings seemingly irrelevant for states while making FP decisions (Tanter & Ullman, 1972).

Main Concepts that are based on the Theory of International Relations

The Political Realism Theory

Thucydides, Machiavelli and Hobbes have been dominant in IR since the emergence of the theory of realism or political reality (Moseley, 2019). Realists argue that IR are competitive by nature and every state as an autonomous rational structure must fight for its own security, interests and sovereignty (including through diplomatic means), based on its national interests.

Etatism Theory

It is a trend of realism; it emanates from the idea that national societies are the leaders in international affairs (in contrast to the liberal theory of IR, intergovernmental political structures, and international organizations). National interests have even higher priorities than the norms of law. For example, according to G. Kennan’s and H. Morgenthau’s political realism, the legal obligations should give the way to national interests (Khasanov, 2003).

The Theory of Survival

It is also a trend of realism; it is based on the notion that international political system is anarchical by its nature, and thus the priority of international politics belongs to Nation States who struggle in order to pursue their national interests. The realists, who are the advocates of the third approach, believe that it is impossible to rely on any partner in IR in order to survive, so every state should work on its own, maintain its own policies and defend its national interests.

The Modern Theory of Neorealism (Structural Realism)

It has emerged on the basis of political realism and its ideological founding father is Kenneth N. Waltz (1959). The structural realism suggested by Kenneth Waltz describes first, the anarchy-based system of IR, and, secondly, the distribution of their capacities in relations between states (Lamy, 2004).

The Neoclassical Realism Theory

It proposes the study of not just a pattern of state FP but rather the behavior of individual states. It explains the scope and ambitions of countries as driven by a relative material power, which, in its turn is indirect and very complex in manifestation because it strongly depends on perception of policy-makers and many variable factors (Rose, 1998).


It is one of the major and most important directions in the theory of IR. Representatives of this school state that the character of the state defines its own interests rather than its capabilities. Liberalism, in contrast to realism (state as a unitary player) states that the state should rely on pluralistic movements in its activities. Thus, the political regime and the economic system of that state are considered in its external relations, based on its priorities. Liberalism implies not only the security of the state, but also the implementation of contacts through institutions, organizations and individuals engaged in entrepreneurship. It recognizes IR as anarchic rather than complex. For example, a state’s culture can be spread across the globe by the means of its film industry. This situation demonstrates the potential and power of culture in IR. Also, it states that mutual benefit can only be achieved through cooperative and interconnected relations. At the same time, the aforementioned postulates are also the key to sustainability (Caughey & Warshaw, 2016).

The Neo-Liberal Concept

It expresses the basic ideas of liberalism, develops them closely with the process of globalization and acknowledges the states entering into all spheres of socio-economic life. It states that the role of multinational corporations in this process is increasing, and the national interests become secondary. The concept of post-liberalism that is heavily based on this theory gives priority to international organizations in IR and further downgrades national interest (Sutch & Elias, 2006; Chandler, 2010).

The Concept of Constructivism

It is a relatively new direction in the theory of IR. It has been shaped as a result of the Berlin Wall’s collapse and fiasco of communism ideas in Europe. It understands states on the basis of anthropological approach and acknowledges the emanation of international (foreign) policies from corporate identity, type identity, role identity and collective and social identities. Also, they assert that anarchy is a constant element of the IR system but it is not permanent and has purely subjective motives. They put social norms above national security in interstate relations (Wendt, 1992).

Marxist and Neo-Marxist Theories

It emphasizes the economic and material aspects of the system of IR, without denying the concept of realists and liberals in terms of "state" (Barrow, 1993; Kara-Murza, 2003). Marxists recognize the international system as an integrated capitalist system aimed at accumulating large amounts of capital and relentless quest for rising profits. In general, the error and the lack of supporters of this theory are due to their unanimous approach.

Apart from classical concepts such as realism, neo-institutionalism, and institutionalism, there are also the concept of non-communism, the French sociological school etc. (Manykin et al., 2009).

Thus, while the theory of IR has been formed as a science in the modern and most recent historical periods, it has developed the concepts of IR processes, including studying the theory and practice of diplomacy from different perspectives. Today there are two main popular areas in the theory of IR: realism and liberalism.

Research Results

The Interrelation of Diplomacy, Foreign Policy and International Relations Concepts

Foreign policy is one of the most important elements of diplomacy but it can be said that diplomacy is a component of FP at the same time. In its turn, FP, according to its tasks, is much wider and multifaceted and is a part of IR. Most of the diplomacy and FP researches are based on this approach. The interconnection of these concepts is due to such their features:

1. Diplomacy is closely linked with FP research and research tools, existing concepts, directions and schools (Keens-Soper, 1973; Sharp, 1999; Steiner, 2004; Sharp, 2009).

2. The FP pursued by diplomatic means, in turn, is the art of managing state affairs in the system of public relations. The FP of the state represents the main goals and objectives of its activities in international affairs. In this sense, diplomacy appears to be one of the main tools to achieve these goals and objectives.

3. Diplomacy is divided into economic, multilateral, parliamentary, regional, military, economic diplomacy, public diplomacy, and so on, depending on the FP goals and objectives of the state, its activities or orientation.

4. It is impossible to study diplomacy without studying the practical dimension and analyzing the goals, objectives, principles and priorities of FP.

5. Mechanism and legal framework of diplomacy can be of interest to research only if there are exact and certain outcomes in diplomatic activity. Diplomacy is of particular interest in terms of effectiveness of FP, in the system of public relations, from the point of view of achieving the military, political, economic, cultural and other goals and objectives of the state. Among these goals and objectives, security and internal socio-economic growth are emerging as the primary objectives.

6. Diplomacy is a political instrument for implementing FP. Consequently, official activity of the foreign affairs ministries, governments and foreign affairs agencies that carry out the tasks and goals of the state FP is called "diplomacy". The protection of the rights and interests of the state abroad is a separate sphere of public activity. Many international catastrophes have been accompanied by poorly implemented or unreliable diplomacy. At the same time, many achievements in world politics and IR have been provided through exceptional diplomats and high-level diplomacy (Khidoyatov, 2002).

7. At any historic stage the objectives of diplomacy are aimed at implementing a FP strategy to protect and promote FP interests. The strategy is based on leading ideas, goals, principles and long-term interests. Interests will arise as a reaction to the situation in the system of IR and may be both short and long term by nature. So, when we talk about strategy, we mean the long-term benefits and values (Kapitsa, 2009).

The Conceptions of Modern Diplomacy Theory

1. The establishment of diplomatic relations and the emergence of diplomatic missions;

2. Organizing of the operational activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the administration of embassies and diplomatic corps;

3. Establishment and structuring of diplomatic missions;

4. Diplomatic protocol and procedures;

5. Diplomatic privileges and immunities;

6. Consular services;

7. Multilateral diplomacy and international organizations;

8. International law and relevant practice;

9. Organizing and hosting conferences;

10. Cooperation with mass media;

11. Humanitarian and cultural cooperation;

12. Organization of information and analytical work and its directions.

Principles that Prevail in Modern International Relations

1. The state is the main actor (participant) of IR;

2. Emergence of new participants (non-governmental organizations, transnational corporations, etc.) In the international arena, except the states;

3. Recognition of the role of international law in almost all paradigms;

4. The growing role of the economy;

5. Steady globalization of the modern world, even though it is recognized and explained in various paradigms differently (Mavlanov, 2010).

Changes towards the World’s Bipolar West-East and Multipolar Current Diplomacy

A relatively ordered and stable period of tense confrontation formed after the end of the World War II is over. And the end of the Cold War doesn’t mean the beginning of new world order. The current situation isn’t yet the war of all against all but the wave of competition is growing (Karaganov, 2016). The balance of power in international politics has changed and is rapidly redistributed. The rules of the second half of 20-century of "unipolar world" are de-facto abolished, sovereignty and respect of territorial integrity, non-interference into domestic issues, and at least the respect for security interests of great powers, all of them are not working nowadays (Torkunov, 1999). So far, though unclear, new macro-principles are forming as a result of instabilities, and it looks like they will define the future picture of the world. Some experts believe that the use of a bipolar model is generally wrong in assessing the fledgling system of IR (Karaganov, 2016). For example, the idea of Francis Fukuyama’s "End of History" did not justify itself. The liberal-democratic values have been quickly disowned by own sponsors and they are not going to prevail in the foreseeable future. Samuel Huntington’s proposed concept of "Clash of Civilizations" also has not been proven and substantiated globally (Torkunov, 2012).

Such changes towards West–East bipolar and multipolar world diplomacy are observed:

1. The two centers of world economy and politics are emerging. After realizing the failure of strengthening unipolar world hopes, the United States began to restrict the development of China (mainly by economic and political means) and to create a US-centralized structure. And China is becoming the leading country in terms of economic power (Karaganov, 2016).

2. The 21-century as the final phase of the transitional "post bipolar world" period had to end with the multipolar world notions (Torkunov, 2012) but is has not yet finished. The growing controversy between the United States and Russia is manifested in the new conflicts and destabilizing IR.

3. The influence of the SCO on the changes in the world order is gradually increasing. Particularly, the prospect of membership of India and Pakistan in the SCO in 2016 and the prospects of membership for other countries is causing geopolitical changes. In this organization, China acts as the economic leader, while other powerful actors like Russia, India and Iran are able to balance its influence. Established in order to promote economic cooperation and security, this new center is posed as a counterweight to the West, but this does not necessarily imply that there is a bipolar confrontation – cooperation and competition are dialectically combined.

4. After the United States’ coronation as global leader, America is becoming a fearful and lonely democracy in a politically antagonistic world (Brzezinski, 2007). New contenders are emerging in the East striving to have a dominant position in the global politics. Therefore, today’s world has become less inclined to obey a single superpower (even in military terms), like the United States of America with strong and political influence (Brzezinski, 2015).

5. The United States and Great Britain, together with France, have maintained their position as the great powers that make major decisions in politics and security (Huntington, 2003).

6. A new model of global economic order is largely based on the recent features of US-Chinese relation. The transformation of Russia into an integral part of the international system is the main task of the current international order (Kissinger, 1997)

7. A conflict between the Western countries and Russia; violence or threats of violence, as well as demonstration of power (Khiltukhina, 2018).

8. Increased distrust among great powers. Emergence of new tension points with elements of military conflict.

9. The creation of "fake states" by terrorists and their turning into independent centers of influence (Bapat & Zeigler, 2016);

10. Emergence of geo-information competition in some parts of the world, including Central Asia. Some countries are trying to use international non-governmental organizations for their own benefit with the help of modern IT infrastructure. They are effectively using the web-sites, social networks and the Internet. There were about 50,000 websites, chats, forums, blogging groups, video-sharing sites, and social networks involved in terrorist activities in 2014 (Zhuraev, 2014) and increased now, especially because in 2019 the total number of Internet users increased to 4 billion people and reached 56% of total world population (Pylkin et al., 2019). To fight against this phenomenon, such tool as Userfocus can be used (Šišulák, 2017).

The emergence of a new world order debate in the scientific and political circles, the emergence and continual reflection of the concept of "bipolar" and "multipolar" world actually mean that it is impossible to forecast the modern IR system, particularly after the collapse of socialist camp (Tsygankova, 2002).

Uzbekistan, Central and Far Asia Diplomacy Difference

Uzbekistan’s diplomacy refers to the so-called "oriental diplomacy". While developing the West principles and methodology of their implementation, it has some unique peculiarities. Many foreign relations historians have endeavored to comprehend the influence of U.S. values on international publics, their emphasis-as can be seen in the literature on “propaganda,” “cultural diplomacy,” and “public diplomacy”-has been on the cause and effect of state-level policies and programs (Kitamura, 2020). Oriental diplomats from mostly separated from the outside world Japan and China or some of the de-facto colonized states like India and some African countries have to confront the external influences in the manner to respond in a cunning, skillful and even pretense way (Mavlanov, 2015). For a long time, Oriental diplomacy had to engage in intensive negotiations with a stronger opponent and there was a need to be extremely attentive, think about the end, and sometimes try to obtain more benefits from the partners and to put it figuratively due to the "spirit of Oriental bazaar" (Popov, 2000). This technique doesn’t have a generalized theoretical meaning but rather describes the behavior of some diplomats and some countries that are not necessarily Oriental. These features are unique to each country and don’t necessarily have to coincide with the definition above.

In the Central Asian region, the diplomatic etiquette (odob or politeness in English) has habits that differ from the European tradition and aimed at peaceful settlement of conflicts at any cost. A vivid illustration of the subtlety of Oriental diplomacy from history (Sayfullayev, 2016) was during preparation of the initial meeting of the first Russian ambassador and Emir of Bukhara. According to local customs, the emir should confront the ambassador while sitting on a throne in the presence of grandees and nobles, with a strict face. But according to European etiquette there was a rule to meet an ambassador while standing and smiling. Bukharian and Russian diplomats thought a lot over this delicate situation and finally found a solution. The Russian officer has brought a Holy Quran opened in the palace. Of course, in such a situation Emir had to stand up and confront the Holy Book. And he did so. As a result, everybody was happy and pleased (Chernogayev, 2014). Central Asian countries have never been homogenous on the ethnic, linguistic and even religious basis. For ages many diplomatic problems were resolved through dynastic marriages, and also delicately directing domestic and FP of rivals.

Chinese diplomat Tingfang Wu noted in 1968:

“The atmosphere of good friendship and equality, engendered by a well-furnished room, good cheer, pleasant company, and a genial hostess, disarms prejudice, removes barriers, melts reserve, and disposes one to see that there is another side to every question (Keys, 2020) "


Historical experience in IR and current rapid changes require States to frequently alter their FP strategies, quickly modify the trends and accommodate to environment. It contributes to the improvement of the methods and means of diplomacy. Thus, the above-mentioned circumstances of West-East bipolar and world multipolar balance of power require the further study of modern diplomacy and make the relevant conclusions, and, ultimately, elaborate proposals on the basis thereof in order to improve it.

The theoretical basis for studying diplomacy nowadays remains pro-realistic, which in its turn pretends to be "real" but it lacks ability to see the opportunities of gaining the welfare and securing interests of state through various mechanisms of cooperation and negotiation. This is the key problem of the approach of emerging powers and so-called post-colonial approach in IR theory. The changes in the balance of powers led to transformation of the international system structure but the nature of this system remains intact due to limited number of great powers with incompatible interests. But the world is not only about surviving in order to attain limited resources but it is also a place for cooperation and mutual benefit.

The nature of the structure of IR and FP illustrates its stability and variability, cooperation or conflict. The mission of carrying out or managing a bilateral or multilateral relationship and its main content -protection and promotion of national interests -lies not only on diplomats, but on scholars and specialists in different fields that represent their country on different levels.