Theories of Diplomacy

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 11223

If someone jumps into a football game with no training, he'd lose the game and get seriously hurt. If a diplomat jumps into world affairs with no plan, war could ensue! Form and apply your own theory!



learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


The Renaissance writer, Niccolo Machiavelli, famously said, "It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both."

  • What does he mean by that?
  • Can you apply it to your personal life?

Now, think about the life of nations. Write down your thoughts on the following questions:

  • What does this idea mean if applied to the relationships between countries?
  • Do you think America should be feared by those who do not love it?
  • What makes you think the way you do?

You have already begun developing your own theory about diplomacy and international relations!

  • Can you imagine going into a professional sports match without any preparation?

That would be a recipe for disaster, and maybe lasting bodily damage. Diplomats prepare a great deal for their "game," learning about the languages, the cultures, and the people with whom they will engage. Above all, they need to know the history of ideas behind diplomacy.

Review Key Theories of International Relations, by Norwich University Online, and summarize the descriptions for each in your own words:

  • Realism
  • Liberalism
  • Constructivism
  • Marxism
  • Feminism

Then, reflect on these questions:

  1. What motivates the governments of the world?
  2. What motivates our own government?
  3. Which of these theories of international relations seems to be the most reasonable? Why do you think so?

Diplomats prepare themselves by carefully studying theories like these. They use these theories to try to predict the actions and responses of other countries, and the most effective actions for our country to take. This is the "playbook" in the enormous game of international relations!

Move on to the Got It? section to try your hand at diplomacy!

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.