February 3, 2023

My Henessy

Masters of Health

Diplomacy – The Alternative Dispute Resolution of the Ancients

2 min read

As the most ancient form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), diplomacy involves representatives from countries in order to bring a conclusion that both parties are happy with, without the use of violence. Similar to arbitration, diplomacy uses negotiations instead of weapons.

Here we will discuss how three countries from ancient times, China, India, and Persia, and how they used diplomacy, rather than violence, in order to keep peace.

Ancient China

In the 6th Century B.C., Sun Tzu became one of the first men in the world to be recognized as a diplomat. In a time when emperors were vying for all land and power, Sun Tzu created peace treaties between countries, established allies, and traded land and property. Sun Tzu is the author of the well known book “The Art of War”.

Ancient India

A book titled “Arthashastra”, written during the Mauray Dynasty in the 3rd century B.C., is a book about economic policy, strategic military advancement, and how leaders should use diplomacy. It has been compared to a better-known piece of writing, Machiavelli’s highly political work “The Prince”. However, “Arthashastra” discusses topics that Machiavelli ignores such as having compassion for slaves, women, and the poor.

“Arthashastra” is much like a guidebook for wise and virtuous kings, or Rajarashi, and how they should rule the lands and kingdoms of India.

Ancient Persia

The land of the Persian Empire, which is the area surrounding modern day Iran, instituted a new form of conflict resolution. At the time, any civilian was allowed to approach the King with a complaint about anything he so desired. No one was allowed to come between the civilian and his complaint, or that person would face serious consequences. If the issue was with the King himself, the King had to stand up off his throne, remove his crown and correct the problem right away before resuming his royal seat. This shows that in Ancient Persia, even seemingly unimportant people were considered by the royalty.

Judging by the wisdom possessed by these two ancient cultures, modern day politics may have a few valuable lessons to learn. Additionally, the great wisdom of these three Eastern cultures illustrates that they were actually a lot more advanced than their western counterparts were. Presumably, a lot of what we know of as modern diplomacy and international alternative dispute resolution is probably greatly influenced by these developed cultures of ancient times.

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