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'A Ministry of Foreign Affairs is indispensable for the co-ordination of foreign policy' Discuss.

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Introduction

'A Ministry of Foreign Affairs is indispensable for the co-ordination of foreign policy'. Discuss In 1626 an enormous step for the concept of diplomacy was taken by Cardinal Richelieu. The creation of the first foreign ministry, or else the 'Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)' transpired. From the 17th century since today, the MFA tended to be a clear representation of the rhetoric 'reign of God', that the Richelieu used in his Testament Politique. The creation of the MFA came after the establishment of the resident ambassadors and the permanent diplomatic missions that Machiavelli sought to establish in the early 16th century. Its primary mission, that in principle is not very different of the mission of the MFA today, was to recruit, finance, brief, despatch and maintain relations with representative abroad but also diplomatic corps in its own capital. 'More diplomacy multiplied the possibilities of inconsistency in both the formulation and execution of foreign policy; as a result, it demanded more unified direction and better preserved archives'1; this is conjunction with the need for more concentrated communications and redundancy of bureaucratic institutions gave the MFA a role into foreign policy formulation and development. The number of countries embracing the concept of MFA as becoming greater over the centuries, coming on its highest point after the end of the second world war, when the majority of the worlds countries had a ministry of foreign affairs for the conduct of their international diplomatic relations. ...read more.

Middle

'Failures to collect and process information thoroughly or to achieve effective liaisons between various arms of government can mean the difference between success and failure'11 Another factor under consideration in the implementation of the foreign policy is the size and statuses of the particular MFA developing the policy as well as the socio-political condition that are govern its realm. For example the size of the country, whether is a rich or developing country, whether it is a democratic or monarchic state, also as Hill claims, 'No doubt foreign policy in these states is a different matter altogether; it may be a lesser priority because of the paradoxical security and lack of power experienced by many developing countries, while decisions will always be subject to the ambitions of individual leaders to make their own mark in world politics'12. G.R. Berridge argues that, 'despite the MFA's continuing role in foreign policy advice and implementation, it is rare for it now to have the same authority in the conduct of foreign relations relative to other ministries that it once had'13. Indeed in order to produce sustainable and effective foreign policy, the MFA need to co-ordinate the functions of the above departments in a very successful way. The challenge of globalisation and internationalisation has pose a great threat to the MFA, while the concept of 'direct dial diplomacy' has been introduced and other line ministries such as the ministry of trade, environment, finance, defence, etc but also organisations such as the central bank and others can directly communicate with their correspondents in other countries. ...read more.

Conclusion

As it has been proven so far, the MFA are tending to responding to the demands of maintaining access rather than focusing on the imperatives of control' which is important in order the notion of 'gatekeeper' to be preserved and protected by the changes on the global environment. This strives for control and better co-ordination will be increasingly challenged by other government departments and line ministries which the MFA have to find ways to overcome. Suggestions have been made by recognised scholars and experts on the areas of the MFAs but this notion of decline is still predominant in the internationals foreign ministries environment. However, the fact remains that the MFAs are very flexible organisations, capable of overcoming such challenges that are been posed on them by the concept of globalisation. Enhancing the geographical expertise and cooperation are important but nevertheless only a mere part of the total effort required. Its is not necessary that an MFA is indispensable for the foreign affairs of a state and in fact many states-mainly small or newly developed states- do not have a special ministry for this purpose, leaving the option for succession onto its leaders or special committees undertaking the same tasks of a FM. As Hocking suggest, the key to success and indispensability is to move towards a 'virtual' organisation. An organisation being able to adopt, develop, reconstructing and reinventing itself, in order to regain its proper statue and position as a player in the international affairs, as well as the foreign policy implementation and co-ordination of post-modern states. ...read more.

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