- Stephanie Lawson
This chapter explores diplomacy and the conduct of foreign policy, which are fundamental to relations between political communities and have been practised for thousands of years. In the contemporary period, diplomatic and foreign policy practices usually involve fully professionalized state bureaucracies. But alongside formal state diplomacy, other important actors contribute as well, from Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) to special envoys or third-party mediators tasked with specific missions. There are also special forms of diplomacy such as ‘summit diplomacy’ and ‘public diplomacy’, both of which have assumed increasing importance in contemporary practice. Foreign policy behaviour itself is a closely related but distinctive field of study focusing on the strategies that states adopt in their relations with each other and which reflect, in turn, the pressures that governments face in either the domestic or external sphere. The chapter then considers the foreign and security policy of the EU which now has a role and an identity as an international actor in its own right. Finally, it presents a brief account of Wikileaks, which illustrates another very different kind of actor in the field.