Formerly a university teacher, I am now a freelance writer specialising in the theory and practice of diplomacy from the earliest times until the present. As well as hoping to encourage the study of diplomacy, this site provides periodic updating of my textbook (see immediately below). This page contains some news and views. The contents of the rest of the site can be navigated via the column on the left-hand side.
(Palgrave-Macmillan: Basingstoke and New York, 2015)
Read more about this book
on the publisher’s website.
From the back cover: ‘Probably the most prolific contemporary writer on diplomacy is Professor Geoff R. Berridge … Each of his many books is impeccably written and full of insights into the fascinating formation of modern diplomacy” (Robert William Dry, New York University, USA, and Chairman of AFSA’s Committee on the Foreign Service Profession and Ethics); “I discovered Geoff Berridge’s book on diplomacy after serving as a diplomat for over 30 years. It is well-researched, sophisticated, inspiring and, where the subject invites it, suitably ironic” (Dr Max Schweizer, Head of Foreign Affairs and Applied Diplomacy, ZHAW School of Management and Law, Switzerland); “Berridge’s Diplomacy is an enlightening journey that takes the student, the practitioner and the general reader from the forefront to the backstage of current diplomatic practice. The thoroughly updated text – also enriched with a stimulating new treatment of embassies – is an invaluable guide to the stratagems and outcomes, continuities and innovations, of a centuries’ long process” (Arianna Arisi Rota, Professor of History of Diplomacy, University of Pavia, Italy).
In May, Geneva witnessed the failure of a further prenegotiation on the Syrian crisis, on that occasion notable for an attempt to give it a ‘multistakeholder’ dimension. In recent days a somewhat different diplomatic tack on the same crisis has surfaced – the older, tried and tested ‘contact group’ method of powerful outside patrons temporarily setting aside other differences in order to seek agreement on how to twist the arms of their warring clients towards peace. At the core of this group, meeting in Vienna, were the foreign ministers of the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, all hostile to President Assad, together with those of Russia and Iran, standing behind him. On the periphery were the senior representatives of the UN, the EU, and twelve other states with strong interests in a settlement in Syria. The contact group method has helped before, for example in Namibia and Bosnia; so this development should be warmly welcomed. The Joint Statement agreed by the ‘participants’ at Vienna on 30 October 2015 also offers a glimmer of hope.
The fifth edition of Diplomacy: Theory and Practice has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan. I have not only updated it but also added new chapters on ‘Secret Intelligence’ and ‘Economic and Commercial Diplomacy’. You can read more about it on the publisher’s own website here. Meanwhile, I am refreshing the Online Updating pages – which is quite a big job – and expect to have them posted within about two weeks, together with the new jacket cover on this page.
By way of postscript, I might add that it is good to note the near-exact coincidence of this publication with the announcement, on 14 July, of the nuclear deal with Iran, because the protracted negotiations leading up to it are one of the main examples I employ in the book. (The full text of the agreement can be found on numerous sites, for example here.) I applaud all those who have worked for this settlement and hope earnestly that it is not torpedoed by right-wing Neanderthals in Congress and the Middle East.
I have just posted an item about this on the ‘Need a thesis topic?‘ page.
Is it a waste of time producing an index for a book when lengthy works are appearing more and more in searchable electronic format? I implied, rather carelessly, that the answer to this question is ‘yes’ in the course of explaining why, as a rule, I intend in future to publish only on my website, in searchable PDFs. (This was, of course, only one of many reasons I offered for this decision.) However, having recently been required to complete another long and complicated index, I was reminded of just how valuable the exercise is. A good analytical index not only sifts the important from the trivial but also provides cross-references between subjects (‘see also …’) and sometimes even a primer in synonyms (‘going native, see localitis’) and pseudonyms (‘Cornwell, David, see le Carré’). This is why it is so depressing to see the spread of books with shoddy indexes, and sometimes only ‘Name Indexes’ – or no index at all! It is also worth noting that indexing is likely to produce a book with fewer mistakes, since it requires what is in effect a second and in some ways more searching reading of the proofs. When indexing my manuscripts, I always find some typos and the odd inconsistency (‘pre-negotiation’ here, ‘prenegotiation’ there) that have been missed both by the copy editor and by my own proof-reading. Preparing a proper index can take many days, and I am well aware that most young scholars are today under too much pressure to be able to afford the time. For those unable or unwilling to do it themselves, therefore, my advice would be to negotiate with the publisher on the point: try waiving the royalty (always miserly anyway) if, in return, they will pay for a professional job. Alternatively, visit the excellent site of the Society of Indexers, and explore hiring directly. A book with a first-class index (always likely to create a good impression on a busy reviewer) will probably be worth far more to you in the long run than what you will save by doing without one.
The American Academy of Diplomacy has just released a major report called ‘American Diplomacy at Risk’, which reflects and further stirs ferment within the US Foreign Service over the continued erosion of professionalism in US ‘diplomacy’. There is an excellent backgrounder to this here, with links to the full report as well as to comments on it. This development has also prompted me to add a new suggestion to the ‘Need a thesis topic?’ page.
LATEST BOOK REVIEWLeoGrande, William M. and Peter Kornbluh, Back Channel to Cuba: The hidden history of negotiations between Washington and Havana (The University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, 2014)