achamila press- Published by Dr. Lawson Victor Tom

This article discusses the development of defence diplomacy. Defence diplomacy’s origins lie in the classic military diplomacy extant since ancient times and revived in the Napoleonic era. Its evolution, until the end of the Cold War, witnessed no major changes, being focused on military relations, and thus limited to the classic military field. In the 1990s, the dawn of a new era in international affairs, the steady rise of complex interdependence, the growing rise of new actors on the global scene, as well the emergence of public diplomacy, all made room for a new conception of defence diplomacy. An expression of network diplomacy, defence diplomacy links the implementation of foreign policy objectives to those of the defence sector. If managed properly, it can be an invaluable instrument of statecraft, by bringing to bear the manifold dimensions of both soft and hard power on any given issue. UN peacekeeping operations, which have undergone a dramatic increase in the post-Cold War era, are one of the best expressions of this

“Defence diplomacy” is a relatively new term, created in response to post-Cold War needs to name new tasks and international functions completed by the armed forces and the leadership of the Ministries of National Defence. However, it should not be understood as a kind of traditional “military plus diplomacy”. The lack of a universally recognised definition of “defence diplomacy” means that states try to adapt its content to the needs of their own security policy. In Poland, the term “defence diplomacy” appears in journalism, but there is no precise reference to it in the documents concerning foreign and security policy. The main goal of defence diplomacy is the co-formation and implementation of the state security policy, and its task – to create stable, long-term international relations in the field of defence. Conceptualisation of the concept is a starting point for understanding its role as one of the most important instruments of foreign policy and the security of contemporary states

Defence diplomacy is becoming an increasingly popular tool used by countries today to further their national interests. The term “defence diplomacy” was first officially employed by the British Ministry of Defence in the 1990s, a term used for several cooperative military activities conducted with other countries. There is no commonly agreed upon or even a widely used definition of the term. What is common, however, is the emphasis on the peaceful use of the military (equipment, personnel and knowledge) to build trust and goodwill, which excludes any use of force. In this regard, it can be seen as a subset of soft power, with which the practitioner seeks to alter the behaviour of other actors in the international system to secure its national interests

The most common and high impact tools deployed as part of defence diplomacy include those with the most visibility and the potential to build confidence among the two countries and their respective militaries. These include Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), bilateral exercises, port calls by navy ships, training and education at each others’ institutes and high- level visits by military officers. This helps cultivate long term relations between the military personnel while improving interoperability between two friendly nations at the same time

However, what is the extent to which defence diplomacy can be successful requires more thorough deliberations. There is a need to be realistic in terms of the expectations of defence diplomacy given its limited scope. Defence diplomacy cannot be hoped to be a bar to conflict between states. After all, it is not the lack of cooperation between two militaries that leads to conflict but rather the irreconcilable differences in the national objectives, threat perceptions and often ideology that breeds disputes and wars. There are some historical examples to support this argument. The pre-war military cooperation between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in the 1930s, including the training of officers, did not prevent a bloody war between the two states lasting around four years

There are, however, successful examples of defence diplomacy which can be attributed to conflict avoidance. In the 1990s, the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) did significant outreach with respect to the Indonesian military. Many Australian analysts believe that the personal relations built over years helped prevent an armed clash between the two forces when tensions in East Timor soared in 1999. Defence diplomacy has the potential, as far as military utility goes, to work at operational and tactical levels but the same cannot be said about the strategic level

The success of defence diplomacy depends on several factors like the balance of power between countries, historical background and political leadership among others. For instance, there is only so much that defence diplomacy can achieve, given the structural constraints of the region due to its power structure


The Kingdom of New Atlantis Government believed in defense diplomacy and is seeking for peace resolution and dialogue between Ukraine and Russia

Always know that when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. The two brothers (Ukraine and Russia) should know that fighting each will generate many casualties. The citizens of both countries must be allowed to move freely. The defense institution must know that all lives are important and must be protected

The inconsistency in results is the most salient feature of defence diplomacy, seek for peace and not war

Best Regards,

H. E. Dr. Lawson Victor Tom,

The Kingdom of New Atlantis Continental Ambassador to Africa and Nigeria Ambassador

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