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Diplomacy of Integration Essay

Diplomacy is the art of conducting relationships for gain without conflict. It is the chief instrument of foreign policy. Its methods include secret negotiation by accredited envoys (though political leaders also negotiate) and international agreements and laws. Its use predates recorded history. The goal of diplomacy is to further the state’s interests as dictated by geography, history, and economics. Safeguarding the state’s independence, security, and integrity is of prime importance; preserving the widest possible freedom of action for the state is nearly as important. Beyond that, diplomacy seeks maximum national advantage without using force and preferably without causing resentment.

DIPLOMACY OF INTEGRATION

As has long been known, regional integration agreements (RIAs) are examples of second best, the impact of which on economic welfare is ambiguous. Despite an enormous theoretical, empirical and historical-descriptive literature, no consensus on the desirability of RIAs has emerged. One case in which RIAs may in theory generate unambiguous welfare gains is if they correct externalities. And even though the standard static welfare impact of such a RIA may be negative for the reforming country, the latter is likely to gain once the benefits of the enhanced credibility of the reforms are taken into account. Countries may respond to third-country security threats by forming a regional arrangement. For instance, the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), which eventually developed trading arrangements under the Southern African Development Community (SADC), was formed to provide a united front against South Africa.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was created in part in response to the potential threat of regional powers such as Iran and Iraq. And a major motive of Central and Eastern European countries for applying for membership to the EU is as protection against the perceived threat from Russia. Regional integration describes the process in which neighboring countries promote and/or reduce barriers by common accord in the management of shared resources and regional goods. The drive for integration in various regions (e.g., European Union, East African Community, Association of Southeast Asian Nations), has internal (e.g., regional stability, economic development) and/or external drivers (e.g., geopolitical weight, trading blocs).

The various mechanisms to support the integration process reflect the ultimate goals and the degree of integration. Intra-regional scientific cooperation, which features shared responsibilities and resources for mutual benefit, can play a role in this process and has the potential to not only build positive ties between the various science stakeholders within the region but also may help develop broader norms of partnership between countries in the socio-political-economic context.

CURRENT FRAMEWORKS OF THE DIPLOMACY OF INTEGRATION

A distinctive pattern of diplomatic activity emerges when reviewing approaches to fragile states, defined by a series of critical tasks in support of peacemaking, in which steps towards negotiating peace are made; and peace-building, which typically begins when an interim or transitional government is agreed, and diplomatic and development support allows for progress that sets the country on a footing towards legitimate political representation and peaceful negotiation of issues of contention. For diplomacy of integration to succeed, the following themes ought to be present: A key diplomatic task is creation of a regional agreement at all stages of peacemaking and peace-building. The diplomatic community can work to ensure efforts are made to avoid the spillover effects of regional and related conflicts, and to bring surrounding countries together behind a regional approach to political, developmental and economic state and market building.

The region can also play a highly constructive role and provide enormous assets for nascent post-conflict governments and their international partners, such as border, trade, economic and governance agreements, negotiations for accession to regional organizations and bodies, and facilitation of meetings on issues of common concern. Diplomacy is inherently political, but the political party aspect of peace-making and peace-building has not received enough, or sustained thought and analysis in many post-conflict contexts. The central question in these places is how to orient the competition for power from violent to peaceful means through political processes. Rather, diplomatic attention must be focused on the need to build moderate institutions and parties that are capable of representing political interests through systems and structures rather than through personal agency and rhetoric. An emphasis on human security, as propounded by Kofi Annan and now understood by the international community, is hugely important.

However, security is very different from longer-term structural stability. Stability results from agreement among key political forces on the definition of a citizen-oriented system of governance and adherence to newly agreed-upon rules of the game. These rules of the game are bound by the rule of law, which allows a radical restructuring of the institutions of the state in which the role of different state institutions is transformed and the relationship between states and citizens is prescribed. This process allows power to be reconfigured from a repressive force, often used against citizens, into an instrument for the realization of citizenship rights, central to the formulation of a new state. However, the handling of the security sector is critical, and this stems directly from diplomatic efforts, which must yield international forces of the scale and capability necessary to prevent conflict. The international community must support this process and build local mechanisms for security.

Given the moral authority embodied in the United Nations, its presence in these contexts on peace and security issues is both essential and unrivalled. UN intervention requires an intricate consensus-making process, both at the level of implementation, and initially at headquarters, where binding resolutions which require agreement between the five permanent members of the Security Council are put forward. In this phase, there are critical players that are not part of the permanent five, who are very important to building consensus and acting as catalysts, especially when international attention is diverted or concerned with fire-fighting.

Conflict Mediation involves establishing discussion on the need for further dialogue, and can begin when actual conflict has ceased, or in tandem with ongoing fighting. The intensity and length of conflict mediation efforts can vary, depending on specific contextual dynamics. In certain cases, parties may not be negotiating in good faith, thus actually perpetuating rather than reducing conflict and diplomatic actors must seek to discern and distil intentions and information, generate real compromise, create a movement away from zero sum thinking, and develop mechanisms for moving forward.

FRAMEWORKS OF THE DIPLOMACY OF INTEGRATION IN EAST AFRICA.

The countries of the East Africa have a long history of working together. There is much support from African governments for regional integration. Indeed since independence they have embraced regional integration as an important component of their development strategies and concluded a very large number of regional integration arrangements (RIAs), several of which have significant membership overlap. There are however few success stories. African RIAs are generally ambitious schemes with unrealistic time frames towards deeper integration and in some cases even political union. African RIAs are usually neighbourhood arrangements. In East Africa, diplomacy of integration has resulted to formation of the East African community. In November 2012, the Secretary General of the East African Community Dr. Richard Sezibera launched the “EAC Rome Chapter” in Rome, Italy to foster diplomatic co-operation by Partner States diplomatic missions.

The Chapter comprised EAC Partner States diplomatic missions based in the Italian capital and was formed within the context of promoting and strengthening coordination of common foreign policies. The launch of the EAC Rome Chapter, therefore, buttresses the Partner States’ commitment to use diplomatic missions as key avenues for the mobilization of partnerships, funds and other resources necessary for the realization of EAC objectives. The Chairman of the EAC Rome Chapter and outgoing Dean of the Partner States’ ambassadors, said regional integration would help to boost the economies of the Partner States and speed up regional development. The EAC initiative is aimed at attracting investors and uplifting the economic status of East Africans and we all must support it for our common good.

Under the provisions of the EAC Treaty, the Partner States committed to develop and implement common foreign and security policies. As such, diplomatic missions are enjoined to coordinate their efforts with a view to effectively advancing the EAC integration agenda. The initiative is guided by the Memorandum of Understanding on foreign policy coordination, an integral part of the Treaty, which has been upgraded into a Protocol. Also eventually envisaged are initiatives such as sharing of consulate facilities, coordination of multilateral negotiations and the provision of visa and consular services on behalf of each other, especially in countries where some of the Partner States may not have physical diplomatic presence. Regional Dean and Ugandan Ambassador to the United States explained how East African countries are diverse in terms of history, culture and colonial experience. To enable regional cooperation, the “task for the group… is to put together an economic community.” Officially revived in July 2000, the East African Community (EAC) is the realization of this goal.

Stemming from this coalescence, the East African Common Market was created to incorporate all the factors of production and promote the free movement of people, goods, and services. The regional customs union aims to remove non-tariff barriers between member countries as well as to develop a series of normalized trade standards and external tariffs. Moreover, the monetary union is “one of the landmarks” along the journey towards making East Africa “more than what it currently is.” And also, “the protocol is now in place” to establish a regional currency and is slated to enter into force by April 2013. Finally, the development of a regional political federation is the most daunting task because it seeks “to end the exploitation and abuse of free East African labor” and combat neocolonialism.

This political consortium seeks “to identify [and address] other economic and political challenges that face East Africa.” In May 2012, the director of the Kenya Wildlife Services, Julius Kipng’etich, was optimistic in his assessment of Africa’s economic potential as he stressed, “the [African] population is young and innovative,” and that “there are many growing economies with low inflation” and “incredible” amounts of natural resources. Kipng’etich then shifted his gaze toward trade and regional integration. He reasoned that trade markets and practice in Africa were “overall pretty small since most people are [still] engaged in subsistence” agriculture. However, there is a great deal of income and manufacturing potential within the growing middle class and this represents a “strong, untapped market.”

“East Africa must take trading blocs very seriously” and seize the initiative to build capacity and economic foundations throughout its member states. “East Africa and Africa in general must attract new investors” through the application of the rule of law, the institutionalization of property rights, the removal of corrupt government officials, and the settlement of internal disputes within the region. The relationships within and outside of the EAC “need to be mutually beneficial” and will be assured if a regional “capacity for negotiation” is fostered. Furthermore, “as the economies of Africa expand,” the people of Africa cannot be left behind and must benefit from these development efforts. “Africa is moving towards being more competitive…and [Africa] needs to…take its emerging place in the world,” Kipng’etich said.

Conclusion

An economic growth process is a prerequisite for poverty reduction and holds great promise for alleviating the drudgery of the daily lives of East Africans in years to come. Most agree that great achievements have been made in an array of fields. In other words, the direction and substance of integration is not in question. Most stakeholders saw major challenges in negotiating a protocol on the free movement of persons, labour, services, goods and the right of establishment and residence.

Diplomacy cannot solve every tension and problem, though, because the structure of international relationships and each country’s public foreign and domestic policy matter a great deal, and traditional diplomacy is fundamentally important. EAC need to move from currents average 5% GDP growth to between 8% and 10% in order for the region to make a dent in the high poverty levels. The EAC Partner States have already, individually and collectively, declared determination to achieve the status of a middle income economy by 2020 to 2030 and to move the region from a largely agriculture and primary produce economy to an industrial based economy.

References
Arvind Panagariya. 2006. “Rethinking the New Regionalism”, paper presented at the Jan. 2006 UNDP-World Bank Trade Expansion Project conference, World Bank, Washington, D.C. East Africa: 10 November 2012. EAC Countries Start Joint Overseas Diplomatic Co-operation The Arusha Times. EAC (2007) Secretariat, Protocol on the Establishment of the EAC Custom Union, Arusha, EAC secretariat. East African Community Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. Available at: www.eac.int/treaty EAC, Treaty and Challenges to the Community: EAC Secretariat Arusha and German Agency for Technical Co-operation-GTZ, 2003, pp.1-2. Intra-Trade and Infrastructure: May 21, 2012. A Discussion with the Eastern Africa Diplomatic Community. Jens Bastian.( 2006). “Trade Diplomacy and Regional Integration”, Report on World Bank Workshop, London School of Economics,
July 3.

Kapstein, Ethan B. (2006)Economic Justice in an Unfair World: Toward a Level Playing Field (Princeton: Princeton University Press,). Mattli, Walter (March 1999). “Explaining Regional Integration Outcomes,” Journal of European Public Policy Srinivasan. 2002. “Regional Trading Arrangements and Beyond. Exploring Some Options for South Asia.

Wilfred J. Ethier. 1996. “Multilateral Roads to Regionalism”. Seminar Paper 96-15, Centre for International Economic Studies, Univ. of Adelaide (October).


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