Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or nations. In an informal or social sense, diplomacy is the employment of tact to gain strategic advantage, one set of tools being the phrasing of statements in a non-confrontational, or social manner. International treaties are usually negotiated by diplomats prior to endorsement by national politicians.
- Look and see which way the wind blows before you commit yourself.
- Aesop, Aesop's Fables
- DIPLOMACY, n. The patriotic art of lying for one’s country.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1948), p. 72 (originally published in 1906 as The Cynic's Word Book).
- 'You're in America now' I said. 'Our idea of diplomacy is showing up with a gun in one hand and a sandwich in the other and asking which you'd prefer.'
- Mr. Scott: Diplomats. The best diplomat I know is a fully activated phaser bank.
- Star Trek: The Original Series A Taste of Armageddon (1966), teleplay by Gene L. Coon and Robert Hamner
- It would be some time before I fully realized that the United States sees little need for diplomacy; power is enough. Only the weak rely on diplomacy. This is why the weak are so deeply concerned with the democratic principle of the sovereign equality of states, as a means of providing some small measure of equality for that which is not equal in fact. Coming from a developing country, I was trained extensively in international law and diplomacy and mistakenly assumed that the great powers, especially the United States, also trained their representatives in diplomacy and accepted the value of it. But the Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy. Nor does the United States. Diplomacy is perceived by an imperial power as a waste of time and prestige and a sign of weakness.
- Boutros Boutros-Ghali, as quoted in Unvanquished : A U.S. - U.N. Saga (1999), p. 198.
- Diplomacy is to do and say
The nastiest things in the nicest way.
- Isaac Goldberg, The Reflex. October (1927)
- We are ready to expand the friendly people-to-people exchanges and enhance exchanges and cooperation in science, technology, culture, education, and other areas... Enhanced interactions and cooperation between China and the United States serve the interests of our two peoples and are conducive to world peace and development. We should stay firmly rooted in the present while looking ahead to the future, and view and approach China-U.S. relations from a strategic and long-term perspective... We should, on the basis of the principles set forth in the three Sino-U.S. joint communiqués, respect each other as equals and promote closer exchanges and cooperation. This will enable us to make steady progress in advancing constructive and cooperative China-U.S. relations, and bring more benefits to our two peoples and people of the world... We are ready to work with the U.S. side in a spirit of seeking mutual benefit and win-win outcomes to properly address each other's concerns and facilitate the sound and the steady growth of bilateral economic cooperation and trade. We are ready to expand the friendly people-to-people exchanges and enhance exchanges and cooperation in science, technology, culture, education, and other areas.
- In the ideal American universe, diplomats stayed out of strategy, and military personnel completed their task by the time diplomacy started—a view for which America was to pay dearly in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
- May the pens of the diplomats not ruin again what the people have attained with such exertions.
- A Foreign Secretary—and this applies also to a prospective Foreign Secretary—is always faced with this cruel dilemma. Nothing he can say can do very much good, and almost anything he may say may do a great deal of harm. Anything he says that is not obvious is dangerous; whatever is not trite is risky. He is forever poised between the cliché and the indiscretion.
- Harold Macmillan, secretary of state for foreign affairs, remarks in the House of Commons (July 27, 1955), Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), House of Commons Official Report, vol. 544, col. 1301.
- In international relations, sharing food with people from different cultures to break down barriers is called culinary diplomacy.
- These, then, are the qualities of my ideal diplomatist. Truth, accuracy, calm, patience, good temper, modesty and loyalty. They are also the qualities of an ideal diplomacy. But, the reader may object, you have forgotten intelligence, knowledge, discernment, prudence, hospitality, charm, industry, courage and even tact. I have not forgotten them. I have taken them for granted.
- Sir Harold George Nicolson, Diplomacy (1939), chapter 3, p. 126.
- There are all sorts of things you have to do in foreign policy, to get along in the world. To lessen tensions and prevent war. You have to hold your nose and deal with beasts. But you don’t have to tell outrageous and insulting lies, and you don’t have to break faith...
- Let me also say this: The promotion of human rights cannot be about exhortation alone. At times, it must be coupled with painstaking diplomacy. I know that engagement with repressive regimes lacks the satisfying purity of indignation. But I also know that sanctions without outreach -- condemnation without discussion -- can carry forward only a crippling status quo. No repressive regime can move down a new path unless it has the choice of an open door. In light of the Cultural Revolution's horrors, Nixon's meeting with Mao appeared inexcusable -- and yet it surely helped set China on a path where millions of its citizens have been lifted from poverty and connected to open societies. Pope John Paul's engagement with Poland created space not just for the Catholic Church, but for labor leaders like Lech Walesa. Ronald Reagan's efforts on arms control and embrace of perestroika not only improved relations with the Soviet Union, but empowered dissidents throughout Eastern Europe. There's no simple formula here. But we must try as best we can to balance isolation and engagement, pressure and incentives, so that human rights and dignity are advanced over time.
- As commander-in-chief, I make no apology for keeping this country safe and secure through the hard work of diplomacy over the easy rush to war.
- Barack Obama, Weekly Address: A Comprehensive, Long-Term Deal with Iran, White House Office of the Press Secretary (18 July 2015)
- I'd like to think the best bunker buster is a diplomat.
- Scott Ritter, in Chris Davis, "Scott Ritter Says Controversial Things About Clinton, Bush, Fox News, the Surge, etc.", Memphis Flyer (May 3, 2008).
- A good many of you are probably acquainted with the old proverb, “Speak softly and carry a big stick — you will go far.” If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble, and neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the softness there does not lie strength, power... So it is with the nation. It is both foolish and undignified to indulge in undue self-glorification, and, above all, in loose-tongued denunciation of other peoples. Whenever on any point we come in contact with a foreign power, I hope that we shall always strive to speak courteously and respectfully of that foreign power.
- Theodore Roosevelt, speech at Minnesota State Fair, as it appeared in the Minneapolis Tribune (3 September 1901)
- Our position is made difficult because of the general impression, held by all Terrans, that an ambassador is a man who lies to you, who knows that he is lying, and who further knows that you know he is lying—and still goes ahead and lies, smiling cheerfully at the same time.
- When you spend money on defense, on military solutions, it's like surgery. It's painful. It's high-risk. Things go wrong. When you spend money on diplomacy, with our wonderful foreign service officers, it's kind of like going to the clinic and using a variety of different drugs and physical therapy. And when you think about development and soft power, it's preventative medicine. It's those things like working out, taking an aspirin. It's low-cost, low pain, and yet it has long-term benefits. So any military person will tell you, use us as a last resort. Use surgery only when you have to. When you can, use preventative medicine - that's development - or diplomacy, but don't reach for that military instrument too soon.
- James Stavridis interviewed by NPR: Ex-Military Leaders Bemoan Trump's Proposed Cuts To Diplomacy (12 March 12, 2019)Heard on Morning Edition
- Unequivocally, the most important ships that I deployed to Latin America and the Caribbean were not aircraft carriers, they were hospital ships. They conducted hundreds of thousands of patient treatments all over Central America, the Caribbean, South America.
- James Stavridis (a retired United States Navy admiral) interviewed by NPR: Ex-Military Leaders Bemoan Trump's Proposed Cuts To Diplomacy (12 March 12, 2019). Heard on Morning Edition
- An ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.
- Henry Wotton, Written in the album of Christopher Fleckmore (1604).