During the last decade, Professor Joseph S. Nye introduced and developed the concept of Smart Power as a combination of coercive and soft power to achieve goals in international relations, arguing that neither soft nor hard power alone could produce effective foreign policy.
A few years later, under the Obama administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton popularized smart power and defined it as choosing the right combination of tools – diplomatic, economic, political, legal, and cultural – for a particular situation.
In this article, Younes El Ghazi advocates for the concept of Smart Diplomacy as the practice of smart power beyond traditional diplomacy, identifying as well the three critical pillars that could grant effectiveness to this new paradigm: Digital Capabilities, Multi-Stakeholder Diplomacy and Feminist Diplomacy.
Image source: Pixabay – geralt (Public domain)
During a demanding negotiation, when interests at stake are radically divergent and it seems that there is no more room for the dialogue, a radical shift in the approach to the pourparler could be the turning point of the whole negotiation, even in case of major discussions over national interests, such as the controversial right of the Islamic Republic of Iran to carry on the uranium enrichment process started in 2006.
In effect, this article highlights how a radical shift of the Iranian negotiators’ approach to the nuclear dossier, which opposed the Islamic Republic to the international community, led to the signature of the so-called Vienna Agreement in July 2015.
By shunning the bombastic and confrontational language that had become the hallmark of the Islamic Republic’s officials, Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian Foreign Minister and chief of the Iranian delegation, build up a personal relation with foreign diplomats thanks to his easy smile and mastery of English.
In conclusion, when the negotiation is stuck and all options seem inconsistent, a “smile” approach to the negotiation could be more useful than a simple force demonstration, and, in some cases, it could even bring to make an agreement over a nuclear issue possible.
The principle behind the art of public diplomacy is not new: in order to advance your goals you need to engage, listen, discuss, persuade and ultimately influence others.
Now, if all this is true, is there a chance for introverts to be good diplomats?
First of all, she explains what introversion is. She argues that Western culture misunderstands and undervalues the traits and capabilities of introverted people although some of our leaders in history have been introverts: Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Gandhi.
Nowadays, according to Cain, we entered a new culture that historians call the culture of personality and introverts are pressured to act like extroverts instead of embracing their serious, often quiet and reflective style.
In our workplace when we think to leadership, introverts are routinely passed over for leadership positions, even though introverts tend to be very careful, much less likely to take outsize risks and introverted leaders often deliver better outcomes than extroverts do. Introverts tend to be more empathetic, modest, deep-thinking and innovative.
Cain is not seeking introvert domination but a better balance and inclusion of different work styles, acknowledging that big ideas and great leadership can come from either personality type.