Despite the principle of sovereign equality that underpins the very concept of international relations, not all ambassadors wield the same amount of power at the table during multilateral negotiations. Recognizing that national differences in terms of material resources cannot singlehandedly explain this phenomenon, Vincent Pouliot offers a guided tour through the back rooms of global politics.
He reveals how diplomats engage in power struggles that are equally based on their respective expertise, the social ties that they establish amongst each other, and the vision that each dignitary has of their role and 'their place' in the geopolitical landscape. These ways of acting engender complex hierarchies, illustrating that diplomacy is not a mere social veneer or decorative stage curtain. By knowing more about these behind-the-scenes operations, we can seek to better understand how the world works.