International Relations, Diplomacy & Trust

This interview with Richard Ned Lebow, Professor of International Political Theory at the Department of War Studies at King’s College in London, was taken, just before Russia invaded Ukraine. We talked about trust in international relations, about the view that asking Ukraine to renounce membership of NATO is dangerous (which he does not agree with), a discussion that rendered moot with the news about Russia invading Ukraine.

Trust is an important element in diplomacy mentioning three famous examples in history. Trust in diplomacy should be distinguished from trust in nations.

He talks about the role of disinformation during World War II. Russia was not the only country using disinformation (“maskirovka”) in warfare. General Patton of the Allied Forces staged a non-existent army in Kent, including radio traffic as if it was a real army to strengthen the German belief that an allied invasion would start in the French Port of Calais.

He comments on Stanford professor Larry Diamond’s view that we see a trend of a “democratic depression”, about deterrence and realist models of International relations assuming that trust is in short supply.