Brief Histories of Diplomacy, Cultural Diplomacy and Kung Fu Diplomacy
什么是外交？ What is diplomacy?
在国际关系中，它是国家之间关系的管理。In international relations it’s the management of relationships between countries.
在人际关系中，这是一门艺术，可以找到让每个人都快乐的方法，或者至少把不快乐降到最低。 In interpersonal relationships it’s the art of finding ways to make everyone happy, or at least minimally miserable.
古代外交史 Ancient History of Diplomacy
美索不达米亚外交 Mesopotamian diplomacy
“苏美尔人，美索不达米亚的早期居民，在公元前四千年的某个时候发明了文字。 考古学家发现了公元前 2500 年的第一批外交文件。 这些文件包括提及城邦之间的关系、和平谈判、仲裁和特使地位。 这些早期的外交笔记是用楔形文字写在泥板上的。 在典型的外交礼节中，使者到达后会从泥板上读出信息，并提供额外的口头解释。 通常步行的单一信使的调度逐渐演变为在主要道路上设有中继站的信使系统。
“Sumerians, the early inhabitants of Mesopotamia, invented writing sometime in the fourth millennium BC. Archaeologists discovered the first diplomatic documents from the period 2500 BC. These documents include references to relations among city-states, peace negotiations, arbitrations, and status of envoys. These early diplomatic notes were written on clay tablets using cuneiform characters. In typical diplomatic protocol, on arrival, the messenger would read the message from a clay tablet and provide an additional oral explanation. The dispatch of single messengers, usually on foot, gradually evolved into messenger systems with relay stations situated on the main roads.”
“在巴比伦时代，在汉谟拉比统治期间（公元前 17 世纪），开发了一个功能强大的信使系统。 在同一时期，根据马里的档案，有一个完善的使节系统，从简单的信使到有权代表他们的主人谈判协议的“全权大使”。 马里的档案还包括首次提及外交豁免、外交护照和认证书。
“In the Babylon era, during the rule of Hammurabi (seventeenth century BC), a highly functional system of messengers was developed. In the same period, according to the archives of Mari, there was a well-developed system of envoys ranging from simple messengers to ‘plenipotential ambassadors’ empowered to negotiate agreements on behalf of their masters. The archives of Mari also included the first references to diplomatic immunities, diplomatic passports, and letters of accreditation.”
马里档案馆的外交信函： Diplomatic letters in the Mari Archives: https://discoverarchive.vanderbilt.edu/bitstream/handle/1803/4005/OnReadingTheDiplomatic.pdf?sequence=1
阿马尔纳外交（公元前 14 世纪）
Amarna diplomacy (14th Century BC)
“巴比伦之后三个世纪，阿玛纳外交出现了。 它通常被认为是古代文明中最发达的外交制度。 雷蒙德·科恩教授认为，阿马尔纳外交是第一个全面发展的外交体系，包括主要外交技巧，包括派遣代表、谈判和发放豁免权。 他挑战了外交历史学家的主流观点，即第一个外交体系是在意大利文艺复兴时期建立的，在意大利城邦之间建立了永久大使馆。
“Three centuries after Babylon, Amarna diplomacy emerged. It is usually singled out as the most developed diplomatic system in the ancient civilizations. Professor Raymond Cohen argues that Amarna diplomacy was the first fully developed diplomatic system comprising the main diplomatic techniques, including the sending of representatives, negotiating, and the handing out of immunities. He challenges the predominant view among diplomatic historians that the first diplomatic system was established in Renaissance Italy with the establishment of permanent embassies among Italian city states.
“阿马尔纳外交以埃及城市 Tel-el Amarna 命名，考古学家在那里发现了第一个外交档案（Tal-Amarna 信件）。 根据现有资料，在阿蒙霍特普三世（公元前 1390-1352 年）和阿蒙霍特普四世（公元前 1352-1336 年）统治期间，特尔阿马尔纳是埃及十八王朝（公元前 16-13 世纪）的首都。 这些朝代监督了一段广泛的创造力，尤其是在建筑结构中。 外交比战争更受青睐。
“Amarna diplomacy is named after the Egyptian city of Tel-el Amarna, where archaeologists discovered the first diplomatic archive (Tal-Amarna letters). According to available sources, Tel-el Amarna was the capital of the Egyptian XVIII dynasty (sixteenth–thirteenth century BC), during the reign of Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC) and Amenhotep IV (1352–1336 BC). These dynasties oversaw a period of extensive creativity, particularly noticeable in the architectural constructions. Diplomacy was favored over war.
Also see: http://www.theamarnaresearchfoundation.org/
在简要描述了美索不达米亚和阿马尔纳的外交历史之后，上述优秀网站继续简要描述：After brief descriptions of Mesopotamian and Amarna diplomatic histories the above excellent site goes on to briefly describe:
赫梯外交 Hittite Diplomacy
亚述外交 Assyrian diplomacy
波斯外交 Persian diplomacy
…with Persian diplomacy forming the bridge that linked the ancient world with Greece.
Most scholars of ancient history seem to acknowledge that Amarna Period of Egyptian history was the height of ancient diplomatic history.
““正如马里档案、阿马尔纳信件和后来的赫梯文件所证明的那样，早在公元前二千年，近东人民就进行了密集的外交交流，这需要一个正式的国际关系体系，以人际关系为模型兄弟情谊和亲子关系的隐喻被用来描述不同社区的国王之间的关系。资料来源提供了一些用于表示该系统的术语的证据：salium（和平、和解、友谊）和 atḫutum 或 aḫḫutum（兄弟情谊）。第一个表达既可以表示称彼此为“兄弟”的国王之间的平等关系，也可以表示君主与臣民之间的关系，分别为“父亲”和“儿子”。 Aḫḫūtum 表达了 salīmum 的性质，并提到了结盟之前的友好关系和形成的新联系……”
“As evidenced by the archives of Mari, the Amarna letters and later the Hittite documents, as early as the second millennium BC the peoples of the Near East engaged in intense diplomatic exchanges that required a formalized system of international relations, modeled on interpersonal relationships in which metaphors of brotherhood and parent/child relationships were used to describe the relationship between the kings of different communities. The sources provide evidence of some terms used to denote this system: salimum (peace, reconciliation, friendship) and atḫutum or aḫḫutum (brotherhood). The first expression could indicate both the equal relationship between kings who called each other “brothers”, and the relationship between sovereign people and subordinate people, respectively “fathers” and “sons”. Aḫḫūtum expressed the nature of salīmum, and referred to both the cordial relations that preceded the alliance and to the new link that came into being…”
The above excellent article goes to state these vastly older approaches to diplomacy “profoundly influenced” the Romans and forced then to rethink their approach to international relations.
For a truly incredible (free) history of Babylonia, click here.
文化外交 Cultural Diplomacy
文化外交与人类本身一样古老，甚至更古老。 大约四百万年前，当我们早期的前人类祖先从树上下来时，它们的牙齿不像其他动物那样长而锋利，它们的奔跑速度也不快，也不像其他物种那样具有攻击性。 他们大多是素食主义者，除了偶尔从朋友的头发上摘下虫子。 这不是很好吗？
Cultural diplomacy is as old as humanity itself, or even older. When our early prehuman ancestors came down from the trees about four million years ago, their teeth were not as long and sharp as other animals, they were not such fast runners, nor were they as aggressive as other species. They were mostly vegetarian, except for occasional bugs picked from their friends’ hair. Isn’t that nice?
由于我们远古祖先的和平，部落需要作为一来行动。 人类之间的战争显然直到数百万年后，大约在公元前 6,000 到 8,000 年才开始。 这是在“农业时代”发展农业之后。 直到那时，部落之间才出现了重大差异，因为有些部落在猎物稀缺时有食物，而另一些部落则没有。 当贸易和外交失败时，暴力和战争就出现了。
Because of the peacefulness of our ancient ancestors there was a need for the tribes to act as One. Wars between humans apparently did not begin until millions of years later about 6,000 to 8,000 BC. This was after the development of farming during the “Agrarian Age.” Only then did major differences between tribes appear, for some tribes had food when game animals were scarce, while others did not. When trading and diplomacy failed, violence and war appeared.
下面是一个关于中国和世界上最杰出的古代海上丝绸之路探险家和外交官的短篇小说。 Below is a short story about China’s and the world’s most illustrious ancient Maritime Silk Road explorer and diplomat.
Zheng He – Great Diplomat and Maritime Silk Road Explorer
Zheng He’s Truly Extraordinary Diplomacy
“We have traversed more than one hundred thousand li (27,000 nautical miles) of immense waterspaces and have beheld in the ocean huge waves like mountains rising sky high, and we have set eyes on barbarian regions far away hidden in a blue transparency of light vapors, while our sails, loftily unfurled like clouds day and night, continued their course (as rapidly as) a star, traversing those savage waves as if we were treading a public thoroughfare…”von Sivers, Peter & Desnoyers, Charles A. & Stowe, George B.P., Patterns of World History: Brief Third Edition, Volume One to 1600 (Book), Oxford University Press, p. 406
Zheng He (1371–1434) was a Chinese mariner, explorer, diplomat, and fleet admiral during China’s early Ming dynasty. He was originally born as Ma He in a Muslim family and later adopted the surname Zheng conferred by the Yongle Emperor. Commissioned by the Yongle Emperor and later the Xuande Emperor, Zheng commanded seven expeditionary treasure voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia, and East Africa from 1405 to 1433. According to legend, his larger ships carried hundreds of sailors on four decks and were almost twice as long as any wooden ship ever recorded.
郑和对卓越服务的慷慨态度，新加坡国立大学商学院副院长、分析与运营教授 Sin Hoon Hum
Zheng He’s generous approach to service excellence, by Sin Hoon Hum, Deputy Dean, Professor, Analytics & Operations, at the National University of Singapore, Business School
战略商誉 Strategic goodwill
Operating at the high point of the Ming Empire’s prosperity and strength, Zheng He deployed strategic demonstrations of goodwill and generosity, focusing on mutually beneficial outcomes to build friendly, sustainable relationships with trading states across Asia.
For example, accounts such as those by Ma Huan, a translator who accompanied three of Zheng He’s voyages, recall that at each port he visited, he introduced himself and his fleet to local leaders with gifts such as gold, porcelain, silk and other precious items made by the finest Chinese craftsmen. He would even direct his fleet’s medics, many of whom came from the emperor’s own staff, to help treat locals who were unwell.
By clearly communicating his intentions through generous words and actions, Zheng He was able to build relationships of trust and goodwill. His objective, he would tell local leaders, was that “tianxia” – or all under heaven – would progress and prosper together and enjoy the fruits of peaceful times…
Breaking down Zheng He’s strategy for my book, I extracted five Acts of Collaboration which epitomize his approach towards building mutually beneficial relations. These are:
表达意图 Articulating intent
实践慷慨 Practicing generosity
共建共赢 Building win-win
确保可持续性 Ensuring sustainability
培养信任 Cultivating trust
One illustration of this was Zheng He’s insistence on paying a fair price for the goods his fleet purchased. For example, Fei Xin, an officer whose account of one of Zheng He’s voyages was first published in 1436, recounts how on a visit to Siam (modern Thailand) the crew discovered a source of mahogany trees – an important hardwood for shipbuilding, especially rudders. Rather than simply taking advantage of this resource, he paid the local leaders in gold for the wood they needed, earning his fleet a reputation as a credible and trustworthy trading partner.
Other records note a similar tale when the crew discovered Sulfur, an important medical ingredient, in the volcanoes of Sumatra…https://bizbeat.nus.edu.sg/thought-leadership/article/zheng-hes-generous-approach-to-service-excellence
郑和的七次航行。 The Seven Voyages of Zheng He. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/article/1334/the-seven-voyages-of-zheng-he/
文化外交与贸易齐头并进。 人类不是孤岛，而是相互依存的社会生物，人与人之间的合作以一种对所有人都有利的方式发挥作用。 从历史上看，战争是在贸易受阻后开始的，出于某种原因。 在任何情况下，战争都是双输的主张，因为双方的人都会死。 在所有情况下，当外交官被允许从事他们宝贵的工作而不受不那么开明的领导人的自我驱动的动机的阻碍时，和平迟早会恢复。
Cultural Diplomacy and trade go hand in hand. Humans are not islands, but rather interdependent social creatures, and cooperation between humans functions in a way beneficial to all. Historically wars started after trade was blocked, for one reason or another. Wars in all cases are lose-lose propositions because people on both sides will die. In all cases, sooner or later peace returns when diplomats are permitted to do their precious work unencumbered by the ego-driven motivations of less enlightened leaders.
乒乓外交 Ping Pong Diplomacy
“乒乓外交”始于1971年在日本名古屋举行的世界乒乓球锦标赛，起因是美国选手格伦·考恩（Glenn Cowan）和中国选手庄泽东（Zhuang Zedon）的遭遇战。
“Ping Pong Diplomacy” began during the 1971 World Table Tennis Championships in Nagoya, Japan as a result of an encounter between players Glenn Cowan (of the US) and Zhuang Zedong (of the PRC).
The event paved the way for President Richard Nixon’s visit to Beijing in 1972 and has been seen as a key turning point in relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.
功夫外交 Kung Fu Diplomacy
武术来到美国 Wushu Comes to America
A Puzzle, a Big Announcement and an Introduction to Kung Fu Diplomacy
…And so the Chinese government (building on the prior success of the Ping Pong teams) staged a series of martial arts demonstrations. On a fine day towards the end of June in 1974 such luminaries as Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon gathered on the White House Lawn for a display of fighting prowess, embodied most memorably in the form of a diminutive, 11-year-old, Jet Li.
然而，这些活动并不是为了精英们的专属娱乐。 美国公众被邀请参加在东西海岸剧院上演的一系列规模更大、更有活力的武术表演。 举办表演的幸运城市包括檀香山、旧金山、华盛顿特区（主要展览实际上是在约翰·肯尼迪中心举行的），以及在纽约市举行的 7 月 4 日狂欢。 在该剧团为期一个月的美国巡演期间，还举行了一些不太正式的示威活动。 所有这些表演包括芭蕾舞式的个人武术表演，充满活力的自卫技能展示，以及令人眼花缭乱的中国许多异国武器的展示……
Yet these events were not for the exclusive entertainment of the elite. The American public was invited to a series of much larger, and more dynamic, wushu performances staged in theaters on the East and West coasts. The lucky cities hosting performances included Honolulu, San Francisco, Washington DC (where the main exhibition was actually held at the John F. Kennedy Center), and a Fourth of July bash staged in New York City. A number of less formal demonstrations were also held during the troupe’s month long tour of the US. All of these performances included ballet-like displays of individual Wushu forms, energetic demonstrations of self-defense skills, and dazzling exhibitions of China’s many exotic weapons…https://chinesemartialstudies.com/2016/09/12/a-puzzle-a-big-announcement-and-an-introduction-to-kung-fu-diplomacy/
Who arranged the Wushu Delegation’s visit?
李连杰和1974年武术代表团 Jet Li and the 1974 Wushu Delegation
是美国全国委员会（美中关系）第一次将未来的功夫影星李连杰带到美国——当时他 11 岁。1974 年，李连杰参加了为期 4 周的武术（武术）团队巡回演出。 武术队在夏威夷、旧金山、纽约和华盛顿特区演出，受到尼克松总统和国务卿基辛格的接见。
It was the National Committee (on US China Relations) that first brought future kung-fu movie star Jet Li to the United States — at age 11. Li was part of a four-week wushu (martial arts) team tour in 1974. The group performed in Hawaii, San Francisco, New York, and Washington, D.C., where they were received by President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.https://www.ncuscr.org/fact/jet-li-and-1974-wushu-delegation/
李连杰是功夫的官方大使。 这是他的故事的回顾。 Jet Li is the official ambassador of Kung Fu. Here is a recap of his story.
《李连杰的故事》，作者：玛莎·伯尔 The Jet Li Story, by Martha Burrhttps://www.kungfumagazine.com/index.php?p=article&article=533
Kung Fu diplomacy needs to live on.
50 years after Nixon’s visit, time for kung fu diplomacy, by Laurence Brahm, Updated: 2022-02-23http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202202/23/WS62158f52a310cdd39bc88592.html
The Silk Road Kung Fu Friendship Tour traveler stone dragon, published an article about Kung Fu diplomacy a few years ago. It’s a true story of how Bruce Lee, despite having “crossed to the other side” many years earlier, and Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine helped me make a friend while waiting at an international bus stop in Kyrgyzstan one hot afternoon, on my way to Uzbekistan. That friendship led to another friendship, and that friendship was rather helpful later on crossing a dark, complicated and potentially dangerous border crossing later that night.
The Silk Road Kung Fu Friendship Tour Part 9: Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine and International Diplomacy, by Greg Brundagehttps://www.kungfumagazine.com/index.php?p=article&article=1261
Really, all my Silk Road Kung Fu Friendship Tour articles and books are about diplomacy. People almost always laugh when I say I come from China. If they speak Chinese I tell them (in my poor Chinese language) “Lao Tzu taught me to swim, Confucius taught be to be humble and polite, and Mozi taught me ‘Universal love is really the way of the sage-kings. It is what gives peace to the rulers and sustenance to the people.’ Then they usually laugh again. Maybe I’m not humble enough, but I’m working on that.
Martial artist/actor Donnie Yen Chi-tan (甄子丹, Zhēn Zǐdān) made a good point in the movie Ip Man 3.
功夫有什么特别之处？ 我不确定。 我在 1970 年代初的第一位中国功夫老师教我们先呼吸。 他告诉我们，功夫就是调和阴阳，唯一需要担心的敌人就是我们自己的自我。 另一件事：“功夫是先忘却；忘却我们的行动和反应习惯。” 在他的教义中融入了很多禅宗和道家。 谢谢陈师傅（Simon）。
What is it about Kung Fu that makes it special? I’m not sure, but my first Kung Fu teacher (from Hong Kong) in the early 1970s first taught us breathing. He told us Kung Fu is about harmonizing the Yin and Yang, and the only enemy to be concerned with is our own egos. Another thing: “Kung Fu is about unlearning first; unlearning our habits of action and reaction.” There was much of Zen and Taoism woven through his teaching. Thank you Master Simon Chen.
The award for the greatest diplomat of all time goes to…
China’s President Xi Jinping
President Xi inaugurated the Belt and Road initiative in 2013 during an economic development program in Kazakhstan. Since then – the world has changed in a dramatic, and wonderful way.
“Upholding that spirit, the BRI offers an open platform and a win-win mechanism. By the end of July 2022, China had signed more than 200 BRI cooperation agreements with 149 countries and 32 international organizations, according to China’s National Development and Reform Commission.
“‘Through the Belt and Road Initiative, it has therefore brought new thinking about development — from being mere loan recipients to actual projects on the ground that bring development through trade and enterprises,’ said James M. Njihia, dean of Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, University of Nairobi.
“‘This will have great multiplier effects in future by increasing local, regional and international integration,’ he said.
“Echoing that view, Khairy Tourk, professor of economics with the Stuart School of Business at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, has said the China-proposed BRI puts developing nations on the right track to achieving their long-term development goals.
“Infrastructure has not been the main focus of post-1945 multilateral institutions. “The BRI has drawn world attention to the importance of infrastructure as an essential pillar of economic development,” Tourk said.
“For decades, these countries couldn’t modernize their antiquated infrastructure, he said. “Now China is providing them funds, the construction expertise to build modern infrastructure, and this is the basis for sustained development, and bodes well for the economic future of developing nations.”
“With such connectivity, the Belt and Road cooperation has scored growth despite global economic recessions. From 2013 to 2021, the total volume of trade of goods between China and countries along the BRI routes amounted to nearly 11 trillion U.S. dollars, while two-way investment exceeded 230 billion dollars, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce…
For a truly incredible list of daily updates on the Belt and Road Initiative, see: https://eng.yidaiyilu.gov.cn/info/iList.jsp?cat_id=10058
Yes, yes, the numbers are very, very impressive. But what does that mean to the regular person?
Four years ago I spent some time in Ethiopia, starting in Addis Ababa and then traveled to the far north on buses. I got to see, and to some experience the life of everyday people.
Imagine living in a village with no electricity. That means no lights after dark, no refrigeration, no TV, no internet signals and perhaps most importantly, no hospitals. So many people were still living lives from 1,000 years ago, while other countries are now living in the future. China is involved in bringing energy, transportation, and industry to so many parts of the world that never had those things before. That means a lot. That means everything when your mother or father, sister or brother, husband or wife, or children need a doctor and modern medical facilities. The numbers really mean not so much on a personal level, but bringing hope, and better lives to the poorest of the poor around the world means a lot – it means everything. Almost a billion people in the world still don’t have electricity.
Just in the past nine years since it all began, China has produced more green energy projects than all other countries combined. While some nations only export war and aggression, China is bringing hope and prosperity to literally billions around the world.
2022.08.20 China forgives 23 loans for 17 African countries, expands ‘win-win’ trade and infrastructure projects China is forgiving 23 interest-free loans for 17 African countries, after already cancelling $3.4 billion and restructuring $15 billion of debt from 2000-2019. Beijing pledged more infrastructure projects and offered favorable trade deals in a “win-win” model of “mutually beneficial cooperation.” By Benjamin Norton, August 20, 2022https://multipolarista.com/2022/08/20/china-forgives-debt-africa
I’m not going to put beautiful pictures on this section. A couple of links above have beautiful pictures. For the past many years an average of nine million people a year have starved to death. Due to economic fallout from the COVID-19 epidemic, that number is skyrocketing, and the most recent war in East Europe is compounding the numbers. There is still so much work to be done – work building, not destroying, giving hope, not killing it. Win-win solutions are possible if people have to courage to let go of some ego-issues and prejudices, and try them.
Peace and love? Yes, and courage, and a lot of hard work.
Those who fear China don’t understand China. China is still very, very family centered. Like the Amarna papers above, everything gets translated into family relationships. They, like all families, just want to live in peace. Just live in peace with good neighbors that also, want to live in peace. That should be easy to understand. In this highly connected world, we can all be good neighbors, if we want it so and are willing to do the work to make it happen.