SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Political Leadership Crisis and Failed Diplomacy – Correlation or Causation?

Dr Daniel Levin

Date: 25 October 2017Time: 6:30 PM

Finishes: 25 October 2017Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Talk

Political Leadership Crisis and Failed Diplomacy – Correlation or Causation?

Static, ineffective diplomacy is the international manifestation of increasingly tribal and paralyzed national politics, which has led to an alarming absence of aspirational talent among both political leaders and diplomats. In an active exchange with the audience, this event will aim at analysing the key reasons that have led to this crisis of diplomacy by drawing on real events and examples from Dr. Daniel Levin’s personal experience, in particular in US-China and US-Russia diplomacy as well as conflict zones in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and the DRC.

The discussion will analyse the consequences of the current winner-takes-all political culture and its impact on failed, zero-sum diplomacy, which equates compromise and compassion with weakness, and leaves no room for nuanced analysis and interpersonal sensitivities. Politics and diplomacy in the age of showbiz and personality cult, combined with a singular focus on commercial interests, have led to both a values vacuum and a dumbing-down to a point where talented and motivated young professionals, who in past years might have been drawn to intellectually and culturally stimulating assignments, now seek alternate career paths outside politics and diplomacy. The ubiquitous presence of social media has been an accelerator of this unfortunate development by dramatically increasing the volume and shrillness of diplomatic efforts, and thereby decreasing their effectiveness and success rate. This event will highlight some disastrous consequences of this trend, in particular the diminished value placed on confidential, behind-the-scenes “track three” diplomacy (to the point of near-extinction), the increased failure in matching the appropriate diplomatic parties necessary for meaningful dialogue and common ground, and the hibernation of the intelligence community in this climate of shrillness and indiscretion.

Dr. Daniel Levin is a member of the board of the Liechtenstein Foundation for State Governance and the author of Nothing but a Circus – Misadventures among the Powerful, a humorous account of his personal experiences over the past twenty years in the world of politics and international development. He is a frequent lecturer and commentator on geopolitics, diplomacy, and foreign policy, with a particular focus on political reform and economic development through financial literacy, political inclusion, and constitutional initiatives. He is currently engaged in several mediation efforts in conflict zones and works with think tanks on novel political models, including the integration of religious political systems in secular constitutional frameworks and the democratic legitimization of monarchies.

OPEN to ALL - please register on EVENTBRITE.

Please note, this event will be VIDEO RECORDED and PHOTOGRAPHED. 

Organiser: CISD

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