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SEMINAR | Is American diplomacy different? And what can we expect from the new US president?



Start Date

16 Nov 2016 12:30 pm

Institute for the Study of Social Change logo

An Institute for the Study of Social Change and School of Social Science seminar

presented by

Professor Geoffrey Wiseman, Australian National University

The United States has traditionally conducted a distinctive form of ‘anti-diplomacy’, accepting in practice many diplomatic norms and practices while remaining reluctant to acknowledge the fact. The world’s most powerful country participates in international society’s diplomatic culture in a distinct way and this distinctiveness stems from seven interconnected characteristics: distrust of diplomats and diplomacy; a high degree of domestic influence over foreign policy and diplomacy; a tendency to privilege hard power over soft power; a preference for bilateral over multilateral diplomacy; a tradition of diplomatically isolating adversarial states; a practice of appointing a relatively high proportion of political rather than career ambassadors; and a direct negotiating style. Consequently, American diplomacy tends to be less effective than it might otherwise be. These seven characteristics provide a framework with which to evaluate any US administration’s relationship to diplomacy – and to consider what we can expect from President Obama’s successor.

Geoffrey Wiseman is Professor and Director of Studies in the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. He returned to Australia this year, having taught at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles for several years. He has also worked at the Ford Foundation in New York City, and in the Strategic Planning Unit of the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General. Professor Wiseman is a former Australian foreign service officer, serving in three diplomatic postings (Stockholm, Hanoi, and Brussels) and as private secretary to the Australian Foreign Minister, Gareth Evans. He is a graduate of the University of Tasmania. In addition, he has a Masters degree from ANU and a doctorate from the University of Oxford. His publications include works on defensive security concepts, the diplomatic corps, the United Nations, American diplomacy, adversarial states and public diplomacy.

Wednesday 16 November 2016, 12.30pm to 1.30pm

Room 210, Social Sciences Building, Sandy Bay Campus

This is a free event and everyone is welcome to attend. There is no requirement to RSVP.

Event Flyer (PDF 390KB)


Institute for Social Change
University of Tasmania
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