Diplomacy’s Toolbox – Communication

Aggressive Countries


Dealing with belligerence is common to people, states, and nations the world over. There are a variety of philosophies and techniques for managing the disagreeable behavior of others. Necessary to all effective strategies is the exchange of information. Without proper communication, problems are prolonged and worsened. As such, the US should maintain the option for open talks with belligerent organizations and terrorist organizations as means to solving issues because it offers the greatest possibility of coming to a peaceful solution before resorting to more destructive means. However, the use of open talks should be used selectively so as not to injure the respect of the US on the world stage. It must also be willing to take strong disciplinary economic and military action in order to deter adverse behavior and encourage other actors to take advantage of the open US invitation for solution-oriented talks prior to initiating any destructive means.

Directs talks are the most effective means for solving a problem between two parties and should always be a part the US approach to international confrontations. The option of a peaceful method of resolution is especially appropriate when dealing with amorphous modern-day terrorist organizations and aggressive states that show the willingness to create large numbers of military and civilian casualties in order to achieve their goals. Seeking to understand the details of an aggressor’s wants and desires are invaluable in determining the next steps that must be taken in order to come to an answer. Though that answer may have the potential to be peaceful or aggressive, it will be an answer none-the-less in the determination of the necessary course of action.

Direct communication as a nonviolent means of achieving a nation’s goals is not without its restrictions in its application. There are times in which the use of open dialogue could more likely prove useless or counterproductive to US foreign interest. Examples include situations in which the demands of a decentralized terrorist organization are already well known and are not worth placating. Such demands as the forfeiting of strategic military bases abroad or the destruction of the US are not reasonable. In such instances, alternative means of abating the adverse behavior of the other party must be sought.  The same is appropriate for organizations of reputations that are considered dishonorable and command little respect by which association would be belittling to the United States. The maintenance of reputation is an important consideration for any nation because it works as a deterrent to future aggressive behavior from other parties. That is why the US should only hold formal talks with aggressors that are of equal or similar standing so as to maintain the effectiveness of their reputation as a deterrent. Other talks should be held either informally or away from the public eye.

For the same purpose of maintaining reputation, military and economic capabilities should also be maintained as options for dealing with outside aggression. By regularly demonstrating a willingness to use harsh methods to discourage the continuation of aggressive behavior, a nation can theoretically prevent similar situations that would have occurred had they not had a consistent track record of deterrent behavior. This idea can be demonstrated through common knowledge of how systems of award and punishment work on an individual basis. By consistently enforcing state and federal laws through the use of the police force and judicial system, the United states prevents a great deal of would-be crimes by creating a well known track record of punishing perpetrators. This is technique should be even be adhered to by smaller nations, even if their capabilities for responding in such a manger are minute, because it may still provide a small degree of deterrence.

In conclusion, the use of communication should always be the preferred method of the United States to bring a conflict to a peaceful resolution. However, it should be used strategically so as to maintain the reputation of the nation for the purposes of deterring the future aggressive behavior of other nations and organizations. To compliment this, the US must always be willing to use economic and military action for situations in which peaceful communication does not work. This will also help to deter future aggression. An preference for solving conflicts through peaceful and effective communication must permeate those portions of the US government that deal in international affairs so that it is honestly and, thus, effectively, pursued as the preferred means of ending conflict.


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