Alan K. Henrikson

I am deeply honored to be asked to deliver the 12th Dr. Eric Williams Memorial Lecture, and I thank the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, and its Governor, Winston Dookeran, for the invitation to do so.  Prime Minister Williams, scholar and statesman, was a bold thinker.  One of the arresting statements he made which caught my attention, in his magisterial work From Columbus to Castro:  The History of the Caribbean, 1492-1969, is the observation that "in intellectual, as in political matters, the Caribbean is a geographical expression.  There is no history of the Caribbean area as a whole." [1]   With that book, published in 1970, there now exists such a history.  With his example of broad perspective and clear perception in mind, I am emboldened to say:  "There is no diplomacy of the Caribbean as a whole."  However, there can be.  One is developing.  It can develop faster.  It must do so, because it is needed.  That is my subject and my theme.


For the big states of the world, the surest, if not perhaps the ideal, means of self-preservation is the use of power.  The term "great power" - the name associated with the largest countries in the international system at least since the Congress of Vienna - reveals the centrality of power in the very identity of the big states.  It is not always an attractive image.  Henry Kissinger has written of Russia at that time:  "Russia's raw physical power was made all the more ominous by the merciless autocracy of its domestic institutions."[2]  What the term, "great power," essentially means is that the country thus classified is capable, if necessary, of protecting itself and of defending its interests - by acting alone.

"Small countries" is a correlative, or counterpart, term.  By definition, as well as usually in reality, a "small country" is one that cannot protect itself by it own efforts.  Small countries require allies - or to be allies.  By adding themselves to coalitions they can hope either to contribute to the counterbalancing of a threatening great power or to secure their safety by jumping on the bandwagon of the threatening power.  "Balancing" and "bandwagoning" - these two basic alternative strategies are called in contemporary political science.

For small states, I believe that neither strategy is appropriate.  The very smallest states in the international system - those 1.5 million or less in population [3] - can hardly rely on power at all, their own or that of others, because they do not have enough of it to contribute to the game.  They are, as Dr. Williams historically described the West Indian countries, Europe's and America's "pawns."[4]  They are not the knights, the bishops, or the rooks of international chess - but merely the pawns, counting for only "1" each in points.  Although they have little inherent strength of their own, they can, sometimes, hold positional advantages. But they have limited range, and can rarely enter into large, complicated, and strategic international power plays.

The greatest chance of safety and survival for small states lies, I submit, in law, in institutions, and, especially, in diplomacy.  International politics is not really like chess.  It is fundamentally a normative order.  Even chess has its framework and rules.  The new diplomacy, unlike the old (of the Congress of Vienna period), will increasingly be a rule-governed discourse.

In order to succeed well in diplomacy, a state must be completely sovereign - not merely in the sense of having legal independence and international recognition but in the full sense of national self-possession.  A nation-state in today's world must be confident of its own identity, know its political and other interests, recognize both its strengths and its weaknesses, and have the support of an informed and united public.  Sovereignty is not just a juridical concept.  It encompasses self-determination of every kind - political, economic, social, cultural, and emotional.  A state must be able to determine itself in order to make commitments to others.

Diplomacy is by definition a system of sovereign states. A state, of whatever size, must be sovereign in order to participate.  The key to participation in that system is government. Without a well-ordered and effective government, there is not likely to be success or even much involvement in diplomacy. I mention this because nowadays one hears expressions such as "citizen diplomacy," as if the general citizenry of a country or, more precisely, nongovernmental organizations, could substitute for the state in international relations. This is, I believe, a profound mistake. It is short-sighted to consider the state, as many do now, to be a secondary factor, less important as an influence than "market forces" or "civil society." It is the state that makes agreements. It is only the state that has the authority, and sometimes the responsibility, to bind a nation, to others, joining and even pooling sovereignties.

Critics may say that formal diplomacy is the last refuge of the state.  I would reverse this and say that such diplomacy is the highest and truest expression of the state, and of a nation as a community in a world of national communities.  Particularly for small states, effective engagement in the international diplomatic system is simply crucial.  From the "summit" level to lower-level technical meetings, the representatives of a country to other countries, and to international organizations, establish the persona of that country in the world, not merely its "image."  Active participation in the diplomatic system can also be a country's best safety net, to be relied upon when and if all else fails.

Today, the Cold War is over.  Now it is economic negotiations, not military talks, that are most important in international relations.  Consider, for example, the fate of the government of Indonesia, where the personal regime of President Suharto has just been overturned in part because of external economic-policy pressure, coupled with growing internal political unrest.  The small countries of the Caribbean, as it happens, face a daunting array of diplomatic challenges in the realm of economic negotiations.[5]  These are such as would test the capacity of even the greatest of the great powers.  The United States, the sole surviving superpower, is not doing perfectly:  it does not seem able, for instance, even to gain for itself "fast track" negotiating authority to engage decisively in international trade talks.

The Caribbean economic-policy negotiating agenda includes, within the region, the implementation of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and CARICOM Single Market and Economy.  In the context of Caribbean relations with North America, it includes the persistent question of "NAFTA parity." In the context of the region's relations with Europe, it includes negotiations to find a satisfactory successor arrangement, in concert with the larger African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) group, for the European Union's fourth Lomé Convention, due to expire on the not-too-far-distant date of February 29, 2000.  The trade-diplomacy agenda further includes the vast and unprecedented task of completing hemispheric negotiations, started in Miami in 1994, looking toward a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) by the year 2005.[6]  I would add to the list as well, though it is of course not on any official international program, the negotiations that must inevitably occur to end the United States trade and investment embargo of Cuba, and to bring Cuba into a Caribbean-wide trading area and back into the fold of the Inter-American System.  The recent request of Cuba to join the Lomé Convention, followed by the participation of Cuban Foreign Minister Roberto Robaina as an observer at the ACP/EU Council of Ministers Meeting in Barbados earlier this month, is forcing this issue.  The sheer variety and complexity of this list of tasks of economic diplomacy must seem almost overwhelming.

Fortunately, one important instrument for the management of this complicated process has been set up with the newly established Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM).  Created at the CARIFORUM level (with Suriname and also Haiti and the Dominican Republic included), the RNM is being led by Sir Shridath Ramphal as Chief Negotiator.  It hopes to supervise and perhaps also to conduct many of the negotiations in which Caribbean countries are now and will be involved.[7]  The investment of resources, human as well as financial and by public authorities as well as private contributors, in this grand and ambitious regional undertaking should pay dividends for years to come.  It will, incidentally, be a wonderful training experience for young Caribbean diplomats and officials who will be involved in it - equivalent perhaps to a couple of years at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy!

I am here reminded of something a student at the Fletcher School once told me about her father, Arthur Hartman, a senior American diplomat who served as U.S. Ambassador to France and to the Soviet Union.  Very early in his career, in the late 1940s, he had worked to help establish the Marshall Plan - the European Recovery Program and, in Europe, the entity that later became the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  She said to me that one of "Arthur Hartman's greatest regrets" was that he had not been able in his own subsequent career to offer to the young diplomats and officials under his supervision the kind of challenge that he had been given at a comparable stage when helping to build the framework for U.S. economic relations in the period after World War II.  What I am suggesting is that the countries of the Caribbean now face a "Marshall Plan"-type challenge in figuring out how to structure their - your - economic relationships with not only the larger Caribbean region itself but also the new Europe and the rest of the world.  It is a historic moment for you, and it can be a defining one.

The kind of diplomatic skill required for this task should be not only in economics but also in politics and, of course, law.  What is needed, in terms of training, is what Dr. Paul Leifer, the Director of the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, calls "pluri-disciplinary" instruction (precisely neither "generalist" nor "specialist" - a conventional distinction which he faults).[8] A negotiator today often must really know what he or she is talking about in several areas, not just one.  Other languages, too, are needed, especially as in the dominantly Anglophone area of the United States and English-speaking Caribbean we are deficient in the ability to talk with, particularly, our increasingly numerous Spanish- and French-speaking neighbors and conationals.


I should like now to proceed to talk more explicitly about the problem of "Diplomacy and Small States."  In so doing, I shall offer at least part of a new analytical framework for the study of diplomacy, with particular reference to the situation of small states.  My hope is that this structured analysis will prove useful to practitioners of small-state diplomacy as well as to theoreticians.  With negotiations now going on all around them, diplomats need a pattern, or template, to help them in designing strategies, and combinations thereof, that have the greatest chances of producing results, even with limited numbers of personnel and other means to employ.

What I shall do is to identify, and briefly to describe and illustrate, six different types of diplomacy that, I believe, are especially pertinent to small states, including those of the Caribbean, as they seek to define and secure their places in today's world.  The diplomatist can select among these in accordance with his or her country's particular circumstances, traditions, and priorities, as well as specific strengths and skills.  The six types of diplomacy I shall discuss are ones that I think of as coming in three "pairs."  In each pair, the individual items are "matched" by an opposing, or counterpart, diplomatic type.

First, there is "quiet diplomacy."  This is traditionally practiced by professional diplomats, normally those regularly accredited to governments in foreign capitals.  Quiet diplomacy thus usually takes place elsewhere.  Its practitioners are a country's representatives stationed abroad - and sometimes, therefore, out of touch.  This is the kind of diplomacy long practiced by, for example, the High Commissioners of the Commonwealth Caribbean states in London.  Inherently bilateral, such diplomacy, particularly between mother and daughter countries, often involves "special relationships," such as the ones that notably obtain between former British colonies, in the Caribbean and elsewhere around the globe, and Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom.  The presence of the West India Committee in London, though it is more commercially oriented, somewhat generalizes these bilateral Commonwealth relationships a bit, creating a "special" mini-community.

The manner of quiet diplomacy is usually respectful, even deferential perhaps.  The voice of a Caribbean or other small Commonwealth state in dialogue with Great Britain is not that of power but rather that of reason, perhaps mixed with sentimental tones.  In part because of a shared history, there is mutual understanding and regard, and a capacity for close, even intimate partnership.  This diplomacy can be "quiet" because its small-state practitioners already "have the ear" of the larger country.  Although it is probably true that the post-colonial era of "special relationships" is coming to an end, it is also the case that the Caribbean "still has friends" in Europe.[9]

To some degree Caribbean-U.S. diplomatic relations have developed similarly.  Nowadays, Washington probably is an even more important diplomatic center for the Caribbean states than is London, the old metropole.  Formally, the contact in Washington is with the State Department, although other agencies of the administration are dealt with too, including the White House.  Increasingly, Congress is approached, for many of the most important decisions affecting Caribbean interests - "NAFTA parity," for example - are made there.  Pertinent committees and also certain special groups within Congress, one being the Black Caucus, can be very important sources of practical support as well as sympathetic understanding.  Ambassadors from Caribbean countries in Washington sometimes meet together to coordinate their efforts, informally assigning tasks of representation to the White House, to congressional committees, to key officials, and so on to those diplomats who are believed to have the most influence in those various places.

Increasingly, the Inter-American System, institutionally centered in Washington, is also becoming important for Caribbean countries.  The "Western Hemisphere" is the rubric for some of the most important trade and economic discussions, notably the Miami process leading toward a possible FTAA.  This means that the Organization of American States as well as the Inter-American Development Bank are important institutions to know and deal with.  The same is true of the World Bank, a delegation from which is currently visiting Trinidad and Tobago.

A newer diplomatic focus for Caribbean states that I would mention, a somewhat problematical one, is Brussels.  As in London (from which some Caribbean diplomats come in order to treat with the European Union), the emphasis has been on seeking economic development assistance and maintaining non-reciprocal trade preferences.  In dealing with the EU, therefore, the context for contact has been mainly limited to the ACP framework.  It has been well pointed out that Caribbean countries ought, in addition, to cultivate the central executive body of the European Union, the European Commission, with regard to other matters.  So, too, should they develop ties with more of the influential EU member states on the Continent, in part so as to be able to use these relationships in Brussels.[10] This is good advice, as the days of generous ACP benefits may be numbered, and fully reciprocal economic relations with the EU and its members may soon become de rigueur, for everyone.[11]

The main subject matter of Caribbean quiet diplomacy, as mentioned, has been to seek better terms within preferential trade systems, a kind of special pleading.  Originally, in the early days of independence, this was most often done on a one-to-one basis.  That is much less possible now in the era of broad international trade negotiations dominated by the World Trade Organization (WTO).  Now individual countries are dealt with similarly, and therefore have to respond similarly - in "class action" suits, so to speak.  This brings me to the next, and logically contrasting, diplomatic type.

The second type is "protest diplomacy."  This is a still-current style of diplomacy that is somewhat reminiscent, historically, of the pre-independence period, when "sovereignty" was the main objective of most Caribbean states.  Its basic stance is confrontational.  It is also, to a greater or lesser degree, "open," so that others, on the outside, may be given to know that grievances have been felt and that demands are being made.  The actual objectives of protest diplomacy may be, of course, quite limited - to secure redress of some particular offense, to remedy an injury, or simply to try to get a marginally better deal, or win a "break" of some kind.  Its operating assumption, when the goals thus are limited, is that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease."

Because protest diplomacy is open and public, it happens, occasionally with unfortunate consequences, that statements are made that go beyond or are at variance with what has been said in official and confidential exchanges.  Such public expression can cause confusion and increase contention.  Public newspaper and other media may even be relied upon by protest diplomats as the principal channels of communication, in order to try to pressure a government, by mobilizing opinion, into making the decision that is desired.  The language of protesting diplomacy in such cases tends to be rhetorical, rather than reasonable.  It makes a moralistic appeal.  It expresses indignation, against "unfair" treatment, on the basis of damaged interests or a sense of violated principles.

Though protest diplomacy can be bilateral, it typically implicates others, if only as hearers, or a sounding board.  Sympathizers provide a kind of emotional confirmation and sometimes even provide parallel support with action.  Diplomatic protests, private or public, attract attention.  They can win a following, but they also can lead to a falling out.  Generally, protest diplomacy is associated with polarization - although, historically, it probably more often has been the effect of international polarization than a cause of it.  During the long Cold War period, when the basic pattern of international relations was polarized ideologically, and exaggerated distinctions between "West" and "East" and also between "North" and "South" were drawn,[12] protest diplomacy was in its heyday.  In the Caribbean context, as throughout the "Third World" during that time, the organizational carrier of this style of diplomacy was the Non-Aligned Movement.  Today, in the post-Cold War world, protest diplomacy can just seem noisy.  Yet it must be kept in reserve, as an instrument in the small-state diplomat's kit bag.

A recent use of protest diplomacy was the strong denunciation made by Jamaica's Prime Minister P. J. Patterson, as chairman of CARICOM's committee on international negotiations, of the European Commission's proposals for a successor arrangement for Lomé IV.  He was speaking following a caucus with leaders of CARICOM, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti after a summit meeting in Grenada in March 1998.  Prime Minister Patterson was particularly critical of the European Commission's proposed conditionalities regarding human rights and governance.  The EU position was "alarming," he said.  It "smacked of an outdated colonial relationship."[13]  He no doubt made his point.  I doubt that this technique was as effective, however, as it would have been in an earlier day.  Now, for the next pair of diplomatic kinds.

The third type is "group diplomacy."  The operative principle here is that there is strength, or at least obscurity and a kind of safety, in numbers.  Group diplomacy is particularly in evidence within international organizations, such as the United Nations.  In the UN there is a recognized "group system."  In the General Assembly, there are well-established regional groups, based mainly on geography.  There is also the so-called Group of 77, consisting of an even larger number of developing countries from many regions.  In the General Assembly and most of the other larger UN bodies, such geographical and political groupings often have controlled the votes.  The small-state Caribbean, as a vote-rich area, is a desirable ally in this context.

Group diplomacy can be more effective, in practical terms, in specific functional contexts, such as, to take probably the most famous case, the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea.  In this setting, the Caribbean countries such as Jamaica, for one, played a major part.  Island states had a natural advantage and interest.  They also had a great deal at stake, particularly when the new principle of a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) was being defined.  Ambassador Tommy Koh, from small-state Singapore, served with distinction as the President of the Third UNCLOS.  Koh, with whom I have collaborated in a study of global diplomacy, has said of the UNCLOS "group system" that it had both positive and negative effects.  On the positive side, he explained, "it enabled countries to join forces with other countries with which they shared a common interest.  In this way, a country could acquire a bargaining leverage that it would not have had if it had operated alone."  In fact, as he reflected:  "It proved to be impossible to conduct serious negotiations at UNCLOS III until these special-interest groups were formed."[14]  However, on the negative side, he acknowledged, "once a group had adopted a common position, it was often difficult for the group to modify its position."[15]

From the point of view of participating countries, like those of the Caribbean, it can prove difficult to gain particular, individual national advantages in such group-dominated settings.  Overall group consensus is a goal as well as the method.  There is a tendency toward the lowest common denominator - or, sometimes, the highest, which can mean a set of unfulfillable aspirations.  The ideological dreams of the "New International Economic Order," which the G77 advocated in the 1970s, are an illustration of utopian envisioning.  Such unrealistic goals can only be voted for, in non-binding resolutions.  They seldom can be legislated, made into workable international law.

The enduring advantage of the group-diplomacy concept, as Ambassador Koh pointed out, is that it enables countries to join forces with others, even far outside their own geographical region, and to gain added bargaining leverage thereby, either generally or with regard to specific issues.  The African, Caribbean, and Pacific grouping of developing countries interacting with the European Union is a major example of "group-ness," one that has particular current relevance for Caribbean diplomacy.  Within the ACP negotiating context, inter-continental "strategic alliances" with other countries and interests can perhaps still be formed.  Sir Alister McIntyre, experienced in these matters, recalls with pride "the leadership that CARICOM countries gave in developing a common ACP position in negotiations on LOMÉ I, and in founding the Group itself, as well as in negotiating the Georgetown Declaration on intra ACP cooperation."  The "key factor," as he notes, that gave CARICOM its position of leadership was "the expertise that the region was able to offer the Group as a whole."  This example "needs to be repeated in future negotiations," he has advised.[16]

Such a repetition of leadership, however, may prove very difficult.  The European Union, facing the incalculable costs of its own future enlargement, appears to be determined to deal with the ACP membership by negotiating separate regional economic partnership agreements and free trade zones, including a separate scheme for the Caribbean.  In response to this, with the aim of expressing a "clear and firm message" of Caribbean resolve to maintain ACP unity, Prime Minister Patterson, following the gathering in Grenada, planned to make a visit to Great Britain, the current holder of the EU Presidency - there, perhaps, to exercise some quiet diplomacy on behalf of the cause of ACP group solidarity.  As part of the same strategy, Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Basdeo Panday was to visit France.  Dominica's Prime Minister Edison Charles visited Sweden.  Other missions were planned for some African countries.  The Caribbean delegation that took part in the EUACP meeting in Brussels in late March no doubt also firmly upheld the principle that the ACP must negotiated with "as a single grouping."[17]  It will be impressive - but surprising, I believe, under current circumstances - if this broad-group strategy succeeds.  Havelock RossBrewster, Ambassador of Guyana to the European Union, has, for one, suggested that a somewhat "customised" relationship between the Caribbean and Europe might not be a bad thing.[18]

Fourth, and somewhat in contradistinction, there is "niche diplomacy."  This novel concept recently has been developed by a number of scholars, one of them being Andrew Fenton Cooper at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, with a particular focus on the diplomacies of the middle powers, old and new.[19]  The traditional middle-level diplomatic players - the knights, bishops, and rooks, so to speak - include Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries.  Today, there are also many others, including the more recently emerged, middle-powered diplomatic forces of, for instance, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey.

A concept closely akin to marketing, the idea of "niche diplomacy" is that countries' foreign policies, somewhat like their business products, can occupy secure and influential places on the international scene in accordance with a highly differentiated kind of division of labor.  The emphasis is entirely on individual distinctiveness, not at all on group conformity.  (Of course, groups are needed to provide support, in the form of the political "market" for niche-diplomatic products.)  By concentrating their limited resources and energies on certain specific objectives, and intrepidly taking the initiative ("rolling the dice," as I recently heard Canada's Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy say), such diplomatically active countries, even without decisive power, can sometimes make decisive contributions.  Recent examples are the leadership role that Canada has played in sponsoring and continuing to promote an International Convention to Ban Landmines and the more behind-the-scenes role that smaller Norway has been intermittently playing to foster peace between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.  In the cases of both the Ottawa process and the Oslo process, so called, significant expense - in terms of high-level official attention and exertion if not large financial outlay - has been incurred.  Niche diplomacy, though it may not require super-ordinate power, has its costs.  Resources should be invested wisely in it.

It is not inconceivable that some of the world's smallest countries too, including small states of the Caribbean area, can find ways to project themselves onto the international stage in this fashion, claiming some of the limelight for themselves.  Such efforts might make sense for them, I would suggest, if and only if diplomatic initiatives are devised, very precisely, that correlate closely with basic national and probably also regional interests, and not just broader affinities or moralities.  Altruism does not always make sense.  There should also be a close connection between the external posture of a country and its internal position when engaging in niche diplomacy.  Here is a case where civil society and public opinion are vitally important.  The support of the public, and the active involvement of nongovernmental organizations, make it more likely that a national "brand-name" initiative in diplomacy will have intellectual substance to it, popular backing, and political continuity, from one governmental administration to another.

One can think of various international initiatives that Caribbean countries have taken and might currently or in the future take that would qualify as niche diplomacy.  Some of these might be of a very hard-headed kind.  One instance might be international policy leadership in the tourism field - a traditional but also a very modern service sector, in which Caribbean countries have a direct stake as well as strong interest.  With the International Seabed Authority, authorized under UNCLOS, to be located in Kingston, one can imagine that the Jamaican government will be interested in advancing initiatives in the oceans-policy field.  In the environmental area too, with the Caribbean's sandy beaches and clear waters being jeopardized by global warming and ship-borne and other pollution, one can conceive of highly visible initiatives that might be taken.  One such might be, for instance, an effort to universalize the idea of a modest environmental levy on cruise ships, such as the US$1.50 per passenger charge that Grenada, with difficulty, has recently succeeded in negotiating with Carnival Cruise Lines, as part of a larger OECS solid waste management project conditionally assisted by international funding.  An example of an earlier Caribbean diplomatic achievement in the environmental field is the 1994 Barbados Declaration and Plan of Action on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.  For Trinidad and Tobago, with its well-established petroleum refining industry and exciting new oil and gas discoveries, there may be policy "niches" in the sphere of energy diplomacy that will need to be filled.  I do not myself know enough about that industry to suggest exactly what these might be.[20]  And then, of course, there is the as-yet-unmentioned topic of bananas, with which the Caribbean is well identified.  Its effort to "sell" its policy position in that diplomatic market is highly public and well-known.  But will it be successful?  It might not be unless, as Professor Norman Girvan of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, has suggested, the Caribbean banana-producing countries form an alliance by engaging in "direct negotiations with the countries of the Central American Common Market on the banana question and on the proposed Caricom-CACM free trade agreement."[21]  But that wider strategy might reduce the "niche-ness" of its agricultural and diplomatic product.  Niche diplomacy poses dilemmas like this, and may require tradeoffs.  Now, for my final pair of contrasting diplomatic types.

Fifth, there is "enterprise diplomacy."  This term implies greater daring and risk-taking and perhaps also imagination and innovation than does "niche diplomacy."  It occurred to me when I recently read a reference, in an essay on Caribbean affairs by Professor Anthony Bryan, to "enterprise theory" where, as he briefly explains it, "economic activity takes place across a spectrum of business that is both legitimate and illegitimate."  By the light of this theory, decisions to open up offshore financial havens that ensure secrecy, for instance, might be viewed as "rational business decisions."[22]

By "enterprise diplomacy," I do not mean illegal international activity as such (though there might be some dangerous tendency toward that).  Rather, I intend by it the highly aggressive, competitive, and entrepreneurial activity that "steals" international advantages - the diplomatic march, as it were.  Such diplomacy, like the business-organizational activity that it resembles, has a transgressive quality.  It often involves some disregard or even outright defiance of prevailing norms if not actual infringement of majority-enforced rules.  From the perspective of the U.S. government, particularly Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms, the contacts that Caribbean states such as Jamaica have developed with Castro's Cuba would so qualify.  The inclusion of Cuba in the new Association of Caribbean States (ACS) is a kind of regionalized version of such assertive diplomacy -- an amalgam of "enterprise diplomacy" and "group diplomacy."  Cuba's being allowed to join the ACP grouping and also being accepted as a new member of CARICOM would further assert the reality of Cuba's international presence.  In welcoming Cuban Foreign Minister Roberto Robaina and his observer delegation to the ACP/EU Council Meeting in Barbados in early May, Prime Minister Owen Arthur stated:  "My expectation is that Cuba will soon take its place in the ACP as a member of the Caribbean group; giving a new sense of completeness to the Caribbean and a new coherence to our international relations."[23]  As for Cuba's membership in CARICOM, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, when she was in Trinidad and Tobago the month before to meet with Caribbean Foreign Ministers, said, in talking with reporters, that Cuba's admission to CARICOM was something that would have to be decided upon by CARICOM itself, though it was very important to continue efforts to make that country a democracy.[24]  Should the Caribbean effort to open wider relations with Castro's Cuba succeed, and help clear a path for the United States to alter its Cuban policy, the result would be nothing less than a diplomatic revolution in our common region.[25]

In the international economic-policy field, an older example which might be retrospectively characterized as "enterprise diplomacy" is the liberalized system that Panama long has maintained for registering ships - a system that has attracted ship owners from all over the world, including a substantial part of the U.S. merchant fleet.  Such a flexible (some would say even lax) system draws attention.  It also brings revenues.  But it does not necessarily enhance a country's reputation.  Enterprise diplomacy can be dubious.  The undoubted financial success of the Panamanian ship-registry regime does put competitive pressure on others, including the United States, whose change of a comparatively rigid policy might produce a beneficial liberalization (or "Liberian-ization," one is tempted to say) of the entire industry.  In the realm of financial services, much the same could be said about, say, the Cayman Islands and some other Caribbean polities that have set up offshore tax havens, and have reaped significant rewards therefrom.  These enterprising governments do provide what companies and wealthy individuals are asking for, and they may in fact force these companies' and individuals' home countries to offer much the same in terms of services.  Thus international financial norms may be changed -- in which case the enterprising state's advantage could be partially or wholly lost in time.  The benefits may last, however.

"Enterprise diplomacy," as I have called it, proceeds not through negotiation but through demonstration effects, the force of example.  A certain notoriety often is entailed by entrepreneurial demonstration.  This may be welcome or unwelcome.  To cite a completely negative case - that of the international drug cartels operating in the greater Caribbean region, most notoriously in Colombia - the exemplary effect is almost violent.  This emanation of a criminal menace from Colombia and elsewhere can cause intimidation and, to that extent, it is effective.  It is something to be reckoned with, especially by the governments of the countries where the drug traffic originates.  Paradoxically, those governments' very weakness in the face of drug entrepreneurship heightens their own influence, as a source of international (including U.S. governmental) concern.  Now, for the opposite of entrepreneurship, and, to some degree, a corrective to it.

Sixth, there is "regulatory diplomacy."  In response to the increasingly serious drug-trafficking challenge, and problems like money-laundering that may be related to it, a high order of technical international cooperation is necessary so as to uphold the rule of law, and sometimes even the capacity of small states to govern.  As I am myself an American diplomatic historian, I perhaps inescapably think of President Theodore Roosevelt's 1904 phrase, "flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or importance," and his suggestion, in response, of "the exercise of an international police power."[26]  But I am not going to invoke the Roosevelt Corollary!  However, what I would do, as I believe has not been done before, is to note the historical originality of Roosevelt's concept of an "international police power."  Such an international authority need not be one, and today should not be one, that is unilaterally exercised.  The basic notion does have potential - as we see, for example, in the international efforts to build up a non-military policing capacity in Bosnia-Herzegovina or, closer to home, in Haiti.  One must in fairness remember of Roosevelt's international constabulary idea that it came nearly a generation before the Wilsonian idea of collective security and the League of Nations was established.

It is not wholly far-fetched, I believe, to see in this early twentieth-century American doctrine interventionism - in dealing with what Teddy Roosevelt called "flagrant cases" - precursors of present-day collective interventionist policies, not to collect debts or "keep out" the Europeans but rather to defend human rights and to safeguard democratic institutions in the Hemisphere.  The military action of the United States, followed by help from CARICOM peacekeepers and others, to restore the duly elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti in 1994 is the leading contemporary case of intervention under both global-organizational and regional-organizational auspices.[27]  To be sure, some consider the multilateral action in Haiti to have been unwarranted (even if needed) interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign, if small, country.  Haiti was not an easy case.

The Haitian experience was a serious test for what Richard J. Bloomfield, a retired American diplomat of long experience in hemispheric affairs, characterizes as an emerging "inter-American regime to defend democracy."  The cornerstone of this incipient regime, or regulatory system, was laid with Resolution 1080, approved by the Organization of American States General Assembly in Santiago, Chile, in 1991.  The Santiago Commitment, as it is known, provides that, in case of "any sudden or irregular interruption of the democratic institutional process or of the legitimate exercise of power by the democratically elected government in any of the Organization's member states," an emergency meeting of OAS foreign ministers will be convoked within ten days to decide upon a collective response.  Ambassador Bloomfield comments, almost with a sense of awe (as he knows Latin American and Caribbean anti-interventionist sensibilities well), that the OAS foreign ministers have in the Haitian and also several other cases "not only condemned the overthrow as illegal and called for a prompt return to democratic rule, but have resorted to economic and political sanctions to back up their demands."[28]

What I have here broadly termed regulatory diplomacy, I would argue, can work to prevent the deterioration of law and order in situations that might otherwise invite the application of sanctions and even military intervention.  In short, regulatory diplomacy, conducted in a timely and consistent way, can help to make military action unnecessary.  By carefully setting and strictly monitoring internationally agreed-upon rules, it can serve to assure adherence to international norms which, if openly ("flagrantly") violated, can engender internal unrest or even violent disorder.  Small states alone may be especially hard pressed to deal with such challenges to their public tranquillity, as not only Haiti in recent times within the larger Caribbean area has borne witness.

Among the most frontal challenges to domestic and even international peace and security in the Caribbean is that of narco-terrorism.  When President Bill Clinton met with a group of Caribbean leaders at the Caribbean/U.S. Summit in Barbados in May 1997, he stated:  "We must band together to defeat the criminal syndicates and drug traffickers that prey upon open societies and put our children and or very social fabric at risk."  He then said:  "No nation is so strong that it needs no help from its friends; and none is too small to make a real difference."[29]

The common Declaration of Principles that resulted from the Barbados Summit - an unprecedented meeting of a U.S. President with Caribbean leaders taking place in the region itself - affirmed the signers' conviction that "stable and prosperous economies, buttressed by the rule of law, are bulwarks against the forces of transnational crime."  Mr. Clinton and the other leaders resolved to join together against those forces by, inter alia, searching for "creative and innovative ways to improve our justice systems and the cooperation between them."  In the Plan of Action also agreed upon in Bridgetown, the leaders candidly recognized "limitations in the laws and law enforcement agencies of the Caribbean region."  Accordingly, they pledged to work together in "modernizing crime control laws" and also "strengthening the institutional capacities of these agencies through technical assistance, resource strengthening, and multi-agency collaboration."[30]  There could hardly be a clearer example of what I have called regulatory diplomacy, or of its ethos, though one would wish that the content of it could have been different.


I should like to conclude the Dr. Eric Williams Memorial Lecture with a broader example of Caribbean creativity in international diplomacy, one which incorporates elements of virtually all the six paired types of diplomacy that I have heretofore described.  No single one of these, I would emphasize, is the "key" to diplomatic success for small states, including those of the Caribbean area.  All are necessary to know, and to use when and if circumstances call for them.  Most often, some combination of diplomatic methods and foreign-policy strategies is in order.  The example I have in mind shows earmarks of quiet diplomacy, and gives some signs even of protest diplomacy.  It has involved active participation in international group efforts, but it also reflects an awareness of a country's distinctive niche, or particular national interest.  It demonstrates as well considerable enterprise, and, as will be seen, its very nature is regulatory.

The example I here cite is the current diplomatic effort - in which the small states of the world arguably have a bigger stake than do the great powers - to establish a permanent International Criminal Court (ICC).  Originally proposed after World War II, following the mixed experiences of the ad hoc Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals, the idea of an ICC was provisionally given form when in 1948 the UN General Assembly asked the International Law Commission to examine the possibility of establishing an International Criminal Court on a permanent basis.  The divisions of the Cold War blocked further progress toward that goal.

In 1989 the government of Trinidad and Tobago, acting within the context of the United Nations system, singly refocused the world's attention on this long-suspended endeavor.  It proposed that efforts be resumed to draft an ICC statute for an international judicial body that would be capable of dealing with, among other challenges, the increase in crimes of international drug trafficking.  Such an international judicial body would be expected to provide a supplement and complement to the Trinidadian judicial system, and the judicial systems of Caribbean countries generally, to cope with a problem that may be greater, and certainly is wider, than their capacities or jurisdictions as small states.  This Trinidadian initiative thus served both a national and an international interest.

While there remain major differences between members of the UN over the proper scope of a permanent ICC, in particular over whether only the three "core" crimes of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity should be covered (provisionally, or perhaps for all time, leaving aside the less-well-defined crimes of aggression, terrorism, and drug trafficking), there is clear evidence today of a world philosophical movement toward creating an international judicial mechanism for making individuals, as well as states, accountable for what they do before the law.

There is a strong regional component, including a noteworthy Caribbean element, in this deliberative process.  A broad coalition of some sixty-five "like-minded states" working in the Preparatory Committee to draft an ICC statute has kept up the diplomatic momentum.  Among the various regional bodies or groupings that have made statements of support for establishment of a permanent ICC are the Southern African Development Community, a group of twenty-five African countries meeting in Dakar in February 1998, the European Parliament, the Rio Group of Latin American states, and the Caribbean Community.

I understand, from a telephone call to the U.S. State Department, that the government of Trinidad and Tobago has just hosted a meeting of justice ministers from Latin American and other countries to discuss the project of an International Criminal Court and related issues involved in assuring respect for the rule of law in this region and around the world.  Indeed, when I arrived at Piarco Airport, there it was, a sign saying:  "The Government of The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago welcomes Delegates to the Workshop on Mechanisms for the Development of International Criminal Justice, May 14-15, 1998 - Parliamentarians for Global Action."

One of the speakers invited to that conference was David J. Scheffer, the U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues.  The government of the United States is clearly committed - though with some reservations regarding respect for the role of the UN Security Council - to the project of establishing a International Criminal Court on a permanent basis.  American official support, including funding, for the ad hoc international tribunals now examining war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda is testimony to its interest in securing justice, as well as maintaining peace, through law.  Starting next month, in Rome, there will be a long-awaited Diplomatic Conference to consider a "consolidated" draft text of an ICC statute.  Although many issues remain, the diplomatic process will be complex, and a final positive result may in fact never come, the way forward has been shown - by the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, leading others.

May small sovereign states like Trinidad and Tobago continue through diplomacy to emphasize law - a rules-based international order -  rather than an equilibrium based on power, which they cannot acquire.  There are, of course, situations in which leverage can be exercised, and such opportunities for skillful bargaining probably should not be missed.  The contexts in which such opportunities will arise in today's world are more and more likely to be diplomatic ones - summit meetings, sessions of international organizations, ad hoc diplomatic conferences, and many other international gatherings, including some perhaps of entirely new kinds (e.g., negotiations via the Internet)[31] regarding completely new topics (e.g., regulation of Internet gambling).  In these, the large voices of small-state Caribbean representatives, informed and eloquent (and increasingly in languages besides English), will surely be heard.


[1] Eric Williams, From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean, 1492-1969 (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1970), 11.

[2] Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), 75.

[3] This is the new quantitative definition of "small state" used in the 1997 Commonwealth report, A Future for Small States: Overcoming Vulnerability, which was launched at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Edinburgh in October 1997. The book was prepared by a nine-member Advisory Group of eminent persons chaired by Dame Eugenia Charles, former Prime Minister of Dominica. The cut off figure of one million or less was taken as the criterion for "small state" in the 1985 Commonwealth report, Vulnerability: Small States in the Global Society. By the upward-revised 1.5 million test, there are at present forty-nine independent states; twenty-eight of these are in the Commonwealth and forty-two are in the developing world. Thirty-two small states are islands. "Smallness and Vulnerability," an excerpt from the 1997 Commonwealth report, in Commonwealth Currents, no. 1 (1998), 14-15.

[4] Williams, From Columbus to Castro, 11.

[5] Anthony Peter Gonzales, ed., Small Caribbean States and the Challenge of International Trade Negotiations (St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago: Institute of International Relations, The University of the West Indies, 1998).

[6] For an analysis of the continuing Miami Summit process, see From Talk to Action: How Summits Can Help Forge a Western Hemisphere Community of Prosperous Democracies, A Policy Report by the Leadership Council for Inter-American Summitry (Miami: North-South Center, University of Miami, March 1998). A Supplementary Comment by Dr. Winston Dookeran drew attention, with regard to the interests of the smaller economies of the Caribbean, to the likelihood that the FTAA would be "devoid of any special trade and tariff advantages unless we use the Summit process to bring our unique characteristics to the fore" (p. 20). Dr. Richard L. Bernal, Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States and Chairman of the FTAA Working Group on Smaller Economies, similarly reflects that it is "at the stage of conceptualization" that the Caribbean region "stands the best chance of effectively impacting on the process." Richard L. Bernal, "CARICOM States and the FTAA: Adequacy of Preparation, Participation and Negotiating Structure," in Gonzales, ed., Small Caribbean States, 98.

[7] Sir Shridath Ramphal, "Securing Our Future," Caricom Perspective, no. 67 (June 1997), 5-6.

[8] Quoted in Alan K. Henrikson, Diplomacy for the 21st Century: "Re-Crafting the Old Guild," 503rd Wilton Park Conference, "Diplomacy: Profession in Peril?" Wilton Park Occasional Paper 1 (Steyning, West Sussex, U.K.: Wilton Park Conferences, 1998).

[9] Anthony T. Bryan, Trading Places: The Caribbean Faces Europe and the Americas in the Twenty first Century, North-South Agenda Papers 27 (Miami: North-South Center, University of Miami, 1997), 1, 15; also idem., "Towards 2000: The Caribbean Confronts Changing Trends in International Trade," Caribbean Affairs 8, no. 1 (First Quarter, 1998), 18, 40.

[10] Paul Sutton and Anthony Payne, "Commonwealth Caribbean Diplomacy: A New Strategy for the New World Order," Caribbean Affairs 5, no. 2 (April-June 1992), 47-63.

[11] As Dr. Francisco Granell (Director, Directorate-General for Development, European Commission) notes, "it is important to remember that the Uruguay Round and WTO rules put differentiated, non-reciprocal schemes like Lomé in doubt." Presentation to UK/Caribbean Forum, Nassau, Bahamas, February 13, 1998.

[12] Alan K. Henrikson, "East-West Rivalry in Latin America: `Between the Eagle and the Bear,'" in East-West Rivalry in the Third World: Security Issues and Regional Perspectives, ed. Robert W. Clawson (Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1986), 261-90.

[13] "Caricom Denounces EU Lomé Proposals," Caribbean Insight (April 1998), 2. Cf. the statement in the opening-ceremony address by the Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados, at the 23rd ACP/EU Council of Ministers Meeting, Sherbourne Conference Centre, St. Michael, Barbados, May 7, 1998: "This structure of the negotiations is even more unpalatable when what seems to be contemplated by the overall agreement is a political regime with a high degree of intrusiveness into ACP policy frameworks in the social and political spheres. Human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good governance (all values which have been part of our political ethos even before some EU member states) are apparently to be part of a system of virtual EU certification of ACP states, not based on dialogue, but apparently based on dictation."

[14] T. T. B. Koh, "Negotiating a New World Order for the Sea," in Negotiating World Order: The Artisanship and Architecture of Global Diplomacy, ed. Alan K. Henrikson (Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1986), 42. Cf. the observation by the Inter-American Dialogue Study Group on Western Hemisphere Governance that the "variable geography" of the Western Hemisphere, which has produced a variety of subregional arrangements, "has actually helped in the negotiations of consensus, in that it has permitted coordination of positions and views, and - in the case of the very small states - pooling leverage in order to deal with larger powers." The Inter American Agenda and Multilateral Governance: The Organization of American States (Washington, D.C.: The Inter American Dialogue, 1997), 5.

[15] Koh, "Negotiating a New World Order for the Sea," 42.

[16] Alister McIntyre, "The Importance of Negotiation Preparedness: Reflections on the Caribbean Experience," Dialogue: A Policy Bulletin of Caribbean Affairs 1, no. 1 (July/August 1994), 4.

[17] "Caricom Denounces EU Lomé Proposals."

[18] Havelock Ross Brewster, "Time to Take in the Begging Bowl? The Caribbean in post Lomé Europe," Caricom Perspective, no. 67 (June 1997), 15-17.

[19] Andrew F. Cooper, ed., Niche Diplomacy: Middle Powers After the Cold War (London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1997); Alan K. Henrikson, "Middle Powers as Managers: International Mediation Within, Across, and Outside Institutions," ibid., 46-72.

[20] I note that when Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was here in early April, in order to confer with the Caribbean Foreign Ministers, she signed a bilateral energy agreement with Trinidad and Tobago, regarding such matters as price forecasting and oil and gas technologies.

[21] Norman Girvan, Reinterpreting Caribbean Development, The Second Sir Arthur Lewis Memorial Lecture, St. John's, Antigua, November 12, 1997 (Basseterre, St. Kitts: Governor's Office, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank), 34.

[22] Anthony T. Bryan, "The State of the Region: Trends Affecting the Future of Caribbean Security," in From Pirates to Drug Lords: The Post-Cold War Caribbean Security Environment, ed. Michael D. Desch, Jorge I. Domínguez, and Andrés Serbin (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998), 44.

[23] Address to the Opening Ceremony of the 23rd ACP/EU Council of Ministers Meeting, May 7, 1998.

[24] Kathleen Maharaj, "Albright Gives T&T Top Marks," Express, April 5, 1998.

[25] The obstacle that the Cuban problem poses for wider U.S.-Caribbean cooperative relations is discussed in Alan K. Henrikson, "The United States, the Caribbean Basin, and the Post-Cold War International Order," in Choices and Change: Reflections on the Caribbean, ed. Winston C. Dookeran (Washington, D.C.: Inter-American Development Bank, 1996), 197-228.

[26] Quoted in Williams, From Columbus to Castro, 422.

[27] Alan K. Henrikson, "The United Nations and Regional Organizations: `King Links' of a `Global Chain,'" Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law 7, no. 1 (Fall 1996), 54-57.

[28] Richard J. Bloomfield, "Security in the Greater Caribbean: What Role for Collective Security Mechanisms?" in Desch, Domínguez, and Serbin, eds., From Pirates to Drug Lords, 126.

[29] "Common Values, Common Dreams," remarks at reception for Caribbean leaders at the Governor General's residence, May 9, 1997, Partnership for Prosperity and Security in the Caribbean, Bridgetown, Barbados, May 10, 1997 (Washington, D.C.: United States Information Agency, 1997), 3.

[30] Ibid., 8, 22.

[31] It is pointed out by Professor Dietrich Kappeler that "Information Technology is creating an entirely new situation for small States desirous to become or remain active participants in international negotiations." Kappeler, "The Impact of Information Technology on Preparation and Support of Small State Participation in Economic Negotiation," in Gonzalez, ed., Small Caribbean States, 143; see also idem., "Malta and the European Union: Experience in Maximising Negotiating Capacity for Possible Entry into the Union," in ibid., 151-54. Kappeler is Director of the Diplomatic Studies Programme at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland, and a former Director (and subsequently Chairman of the Board) of the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, University of Malta, which has a specialized Unit for Information Technology and Diplomacy (Website: www.diplomacy.edu).