[FOUNTAIN]The necessity of diplomatic reorganizationDiplomacy is the art of negotiation. If negotiations are to proceed, they must be preceded by the gathering and use of accurate and extensive information. If negotiators enter talks without full preparation, they may not be able to achieve their goal. When the principle of peace is respected, talks will go smoothly, but when nationalistic exclusionists and hard-liners are in power and propose a war, the situation is different.
On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the Hapsburg throne, was assassinated. In the early 20th century, Europe was on the verge of a collision between Pan-Germanism and Slavic nationalism. The assassination developed into a war between the Slavs and the Germans. But there were people who had made their best diplomatic efforts to prevent a war.
Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany used the network of kinship among European royal families to try to save Europe from a devastating war, but heightened nationalism proved stronger than the family relationship between Russia’s czar and the kaiser, and Europe fell into the vortex of World War I.
Some strategists say that the war could have been prevented if Europe had competent diplomats who had the ability to read the demands of the times and the negotiating skills to balance them with the interest of each nation.
After World War I, each nation tried to reform its diplomatic and intelligence organizations. England and other countries that successfully completed reform made the short list of developed countries again. Such a reorganization was also attempted in Bolshevik Russia. The Bolsheviks had once believed in Leon Trotsky, who said his ultimate mission was to shut down the foreign ministry. But they began thinking that competent diplomats and foreign affairs administration were essential to protect the interests of the state and the classes, and established a new organization to train diplomats.
For seven decades, the Soviet diplomats waged a war of reason and games of intelligence with their counterparts from the capitalist camp. Recently, Korea’s intelligence and diplomatic organizations are faced with demands for reform in order to accommodate the post-Cold War situation. The demand is only proper. When the reorganization is planned, the architects must make a fundamental and long-term design for the next century.
by Kim Seok-hwan
The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.