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A test of diplomatic maturity

By Ioan Voicu - posted Wednesday, 16 September 2020


In the opinion of some academics,leadership maturity may be the most overlooked factor in the global political arena. This is a paradox, because almost every meaningful decision of national leaders has multi-systemic and sometimes local, national, regional and even global implications affecting diplomacy. In such circumstances, in order to be able to pass the test of diplomatic maturity it is necessary to take advantage of the most mature transformative leadership capacities at the national level.

From this perspective, an interesting concept launched by Princeton University (USA) Professor Richard Falk, one of the world's leading authorities on international politics, might be considered during the forthcoming UN deliberations on global health. Professor Richard Falk used the expression "medical solidarity"in an article and in a recent interview while pleading for "a rule-governed geopolitics, anchored in respect for the UN Charter and embodying commitments to promote a more peaceful, just, and ecologically responsible world ".

While UN future resolutions are expected to contain appeals for developing global solidarity in fighting COVID-19, it can be anticipated that, irrespective of their substance, they will contain only recommendations. A resolution is an invitation to act which may not be implemented by some member states. This is a valid reason for robust diplomatic efforts to start preparing an international convention dedicated at least to "medical solidarity", a legal instrument which once adopted, ratified and entered into force would oblige states parties to it to act and to report periodically about the implementation of its provisions.

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In the process of such efforts, diplomats might be inspired by the wisdom of Edmund Burke (1727-1797 according to whom "Society…. becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are dead and those who are (yet) to be born".This truth is valid for all human beings , including the actors of multilateral diplomacy who are expected to successfully pass in the near future the test of diplomatic maturity.

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About the Author

Dr Ioan Voicu is a Visiting Professor at Assumption University in Bangkok

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