A diplomat with a background in strategic studies, Freeman Chas is popular for realistic approaches to state diplomacy. His book, Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy ( cross-cultural negotiation books) second edition that describes critical concepts of foreign policy (Freeman, 1997). Published by the United States Institutes of Peace, this is a reference tool for learners and professionals in the global cross-cultural environment. Freeman develops the book into subcategories of ‘The power of the State, Diplomatic Maneuver and The Skills of the Diplomat’. Linked to his other book ‘The Diplomat’s Dictionary’ (Ignatius & Freeman, 2010) the books gives essential assistance to scholars who need to define and understand key terms. The 224-page book is a combination of researched information and opinion, on handling diplomatic relations. Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy brings out his experience in diplomacy with realist ideologies presented in ideas from different parts of the world (Freeman, 1997). The author’s service in defence, intelligence and international foreign policy areas such as The Middle East add value to his multicultural approach. Freeman writes about state diplomacy with reference to the functions of a country’s diplomatic office.
Theoretical definitions of diplomacy involve the management of international relations between countries. He is an ardent supporter of the interventionist approach to foreign policy hence he looks at diplomacy as a cultural influence (Freeman, 1997, p. 41-44). Several factors could influence his concept approach. His experience as a diplomat involved relations in the Islamic world featuring Asia, Europe, and the Americas. His experience as director of the National Intelligence Council gave him a reputation and he stands out as an outspoken personality. He approaches this concept by looking at state power, diplomatic manoeuvres and skills. His researched discussions on diplomatic reflections and negotiation as an art in the midst of a conflict-ridden environment. Freeman follows the example of his predecessor Henry Kissinger in National Security who wrote about diplomacy as a new world order (Kissinger, 1994). The Cambridge Dictionary defines diplomacy as an art of dealing with people tactfully without offending them; it refers to this as the ability to control complex situations amicably (Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary, 2018). Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy leans towards the skill used by diplomats for service in the international representation office. The book recognizes the task of diplomats in politics, economic, cultural and military endeavours.
His concepts analysis features a people-oriented focus in which diplomats, spies, the military, politicians, and people interact under various interests (Freeman, 1997, p. 34). His discussion on political action brings out the influence that leaders have on national interest. Its preliminary chapters discuss ‘The Power of the State’ with a concern for national power. This is a multifaceted approach to national intelligence, political action, and cultural influence. The author views a diplomatic agency as a tool for making negotiations, strategies, and state relations (Freeman, 1997, pp. 87-93). From the analysis, a “statecraft” is a skill used in advocacy, dialogue, and stewardship. This present diplomacy as a craft involving individual practitioners.
Freeman’s approach and style
Freeman uses the second edition to emphasize on negotiation as a key aspect in a diplomat’s tactics and the role of the international community in influencing relations. His choice of words depicts a scholarly piece of work, which highlights the management of states affairs as an art. For example, in the Preface, he says, “When I entered the profession of diplomacy, I naturally began to look for something similar to international statecraft and diplomacy, directed by statesmen and diplomats. I did not find it. There are to be sure a number of a renowned world on the practice of statecraft’s, such as Chinese classics, the Arthasatra of Kautilya, the didactic sections of the Shah Nameb, Nizam al Mulk Tusi Siyasat-Namab, and Machiavelli’s The Prince…” (Freeman, 1997, p. ix). Forwarded by Richard Solomon head of the United States Institute of Peace, the book stands out as a multicultural His argument on diplomacy gives an idea of state diplomacy features negotiation, diplomacy skills, and tasks. He presents a collection of observations made from revised editions. In support of what scholars have analysed before, he makes new revelations about diplomacy as statecraft for warring nations, nations affected by power influence in the global spheres (Freeman, 1997, p. 3).
The book is an easy read with clear fonts and use of simplified language. It helps students to understand diplomacy from different perspectives. Diplomacy is about special envoys, international agreements, an art of negotiation and managing foreign relations (Berridge, 2010). This is a clear presentation of ideas and concepts within a specific subject of foreign policy. Freeman harmonies ideas such as the use of negotiation, strategy, and interests in the creation of cooperation under one concept of skilfulness or artisanship. The reader easily connects with the contemporary ideas of the post-Cold War era. Ideal for the modern scholar, the book captures topics of concern such as ‘Intelligence, Espionage and Covert Operations’ (Freeman, 1997, p. 23). Freeman’s language is authoritative and he uses a friendly tone to inform and discuss ideas. He adopts his home country’s perception of diplomacy as negotiation.
Critique of the central argument and hypothesis
Freeman’s argument about foreign policy and diplomacy is from a multicultural perspective. This is positive because it connects with a global audience. The book considers key issues in the subject featuring the policymaking, public service, human agenda and power struggle. The writer incorporates a variety of definitions to capture scholarly ideas across different generations by different personalities. No wonder he uses more than one definition of terms in his reference book where he defines ‘Foreign Aid’ with five references capturing Sisley Huddleston’s 1954, Watson Adam’s 1983 and Machiavelli’s approaches (Ignatius & Freeman, 2010, p. 5). In order to capture critical ideas in the foreign policy subject, he looks at persons, who they are and what they stand for. The information covered refers to fundamental principles of state craftsmanship, the state as a system and its relationships.
Despite the positive aspects, Freeman’s strong opinion on global foreign policy is evident in his use of different approaches to negotiation tactics in international affairs. He does not capture historical quotes from a multidisciplinary point of view yet diplomacy today's affects different industries, especially the business sector. The book needs an updated version explaining changes in the global sphere such as the emergence of China as a superpower and Americas laid back politics (Nye, 2015). The discussion on the power of the state embassy defines it as an agency handling state affairs, an advocacy centre, and diplomatic dialogue. This was true in 1980, the 1990s and early 2000s. In the information age, technology plays a significant role in the intelligence discussed in Freeman’s book. The author needs to refocus on new threats to diplomacy such as cybercrime as seen in Russia versus US elections saga (Danvers, 2016). New events in the international scene have come with a shift in new directions. For example, in the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East and the emergence of terrorism has redefined diplomacy. The emergence of Russia as a US foe is also new in diplomacy.
The book unveils discussions about diplomatic dialogue and stewardship, events, reporting, and analysis. He addresses critical elements of international relations namely, political actions, economic power, diplomatic strategy and cultural influence. These are common topics in the subject today. Economic diplomacy, maritime diplomatic relations, the environment and diplomacy and human rights issues are some of the concerns of modern diplomacy. This is no longer a mere craftsmanship but a systems process with institutions. The emergence of an international community limits the influence of diplomats in negotiations, policy-making and implementation processes (Barston, 2014: Smith, 2016). These changes have reduced the role of embassies to formal institutions for communicating government agenda instead of controlling and spying. The focus for new leadership is to reshape strategies in international policy. E-commerce, ICT, and telecommunication continue to drive economies and people’s lifestyles thanks to globalization effects (Gallaga, 2013). Multinational corporations access information about their companies within a short time via online systems such as cloud computing.
Literature contribution to the wider literature
The international political scene is dynamic. Security is critical in contemporary politics and covers all issues of insecurity including civil and global strife. It also includes environmental challenges. Although Freeman’s analysis does not delve into this directly, it looks at negotiation, which is critical in negotiation and advocacy. The book creates a new hypothesis of whether embassies have a role today. It lays the foundation for discussions on international relations and professionalism. Theorists in power politics should support Freeman’s notions on the role of the state in influencing international policies. Covered under the topic of stewardship, leadership in foreign policy for Freeman is incorporating intelligence and features political influence, economic, military and nonviolent prowess. Freeman applies international law in diplomacy as a job governed under international relations between two countries. His thesis on ‘arts of power’ described by realists as supremacy wars raises questions about the diplomat as a skilful person or a puppet under the influence of political leaders. Behind the national power are individuals who determine the decisions made.
The Arts of Power book reveals the secret behind international powers like the US in the post-cold war period. Experienced military and intelligence personnel Freeman creates a knowledge gap through the hypothesis whether economic, political or military might is more recognizable in the global spheres. On page 12, he gives a brief discussion on norms and the role of values in shaping national values, ideology, and interests (Freeman, 1997). Diplomacy tools such as negotiations may work in some regions but its failure in some regions such as Syria raises questions about the effect of diplomats in international politics today. Although the world has moved steps forward in innovation, new and more complex problems in international affairs have emerged. Freeman addresses the cultural perspective but needs to place an emphasis on a code of ethics because, in modern times, power corrupts leaders and foreign missions (Pamment, 2014).
The rationalization of international politics as a power factor brings out the role of diplomats in providing intelligence, political action, and economic support. Freeman’s book is a discussion on how embassy professionals apply these tactics through negotiations to influence state interactions in the global environment. Based on the research question, the book asks, does state craftsmanship and diplomacy give a state more power? The answer lies in the role of power politics and its changing dimensions. Today countries face new security threats including terrorism and climate change. State-based power measures today feature new investments. The national budget has new priorities such as human development, food security, and political repression. Diplomacy in Freeman’s perspective features a historical perspective, state power and the use of foreign embassies for foreign policy initiatives. Although this notion has gaps, it lays the foundation for modern-day diplomacy. Freeman’s professional and career background influences his conceptualization and thoughts. He points out that values and good conduct are strategic and enhance a nation’s image. However, in the midst of political scandals in the US, Freeman might not be a proud citizen today. Great nations of the world are moving towards a new world disorder.
Barston, R. P., 2014. Modern Diplomacy. s.l.: Routledge.
Berridge, G. R., 2010. Diplomacy Theory and Practice. 4th edition ed. s.l.: Palgrave Macmillan.
Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary, 2018. Diplomacy. s.l. Cambridge University Press.
Danvers, W., 2016. US and Russian relations under Trump and Putin. Centre for American Progress, 14 December.
Freeman, C., 1997. Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy. s.l.:s.n.
Gallaga, M. G., 2013. Do we still need embassies? The diplomat, 4 September.
Ignatius, D. & Freeman, C., 2010. Diplomat's dictionary: Second edition (Cross-cultural negotiation books). Second ed. s.l.: United States Institute of Peace.
Kissinger, H., 1994. Diplomacy. s.l.: Simon & Schuster.
Nye, J., 2015. Is the American Century Over? 1st ed. s.l.: Global Futures.
Pamment, J., 2014. Articulating influence; toward a research agenda for interpreting the evaluation of soft power, public diplomacy, and nation brands. Public Relations Review, 40(1).
Smith, R., 2016. Embassies can shape policy. The Interpreter, 17 March.