Skip to content
Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2020

52. Politische Rhetorik in der UNVollversammlung und im Sicherheitsrat

Reinhard Wesel

Abstract

Understanding foreign cultures and languages has always been an essential competence for every diplomat. However, despite a forgotten British rule that all nations have a right to confer with each other in a neutral language, English - the global American English - has become the lingua franca of contemporary diplomacy. Surprisingly, in diplomatic communication, veracity is essential as veracious speaking is the precondition for reliability in international affairs. The purpose of diplomatic language is not to insist on one’s own version of the truth but to create consensus or at least to avoid escalation. Therefore, diplomats tend to find formulations that are flexible but not necessarily precise. Substantial vagueness and formal courtesy are basic means of keeping dialogue alive in problematic or even dangerous situations. Especially in multilateral diplomacy, as performed every day in the United Nations System by the delegates of nearly two hundred governments of sovereign states in innumerable institutions and committees, diplomatic communication often is, perforce, ritualistic and not quite effective - but what would be the other option? Moreover, important political achievements always have to be prepared on a symbolic level.

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston