The Book

I began this project in the summer of 2006, certain that the moment was ripe for a holistic, synoptic treatment of the linkages between diplomacy, security and international relations in the globalization era. After many years of diplomatic practice, I thought it time to stand back, to reflect, to research and to analyze. By fusing grand strategy and multidisciplinary analysis, I was certain that there must be a better way forward. And much new ground to be broken. Guerrilla Diplomacy is, for better or for worse, the result.

The case is advanced that diplomats must be empowered to manage globalization, but to do that successfully, diplomacy itself will have to be re-invented. In that respect, diplomacy’s inherent dedication to dialogue, whether through open communication or more discreet channels, has great appeal, especially as an alternative to the threat or use of force. I argue that diplomacy, re-imagined and linked integrally to development and security, can, and should, displace defence at the center of international policy and global relations.

In the course of my research, and somewhat to my surprise, I found the near complete absence of a big picture, user-friendly guide which could be used to explain the conceptual geography and dissect the operations of the contemporary “international system” as we know it. Without such a framework, it would be difficult to articulate my analysis. I have tried to address that lacuna and to map the insecure present by building a new world order model, interpreting the recent Cold War past, assessing the meaning of development and the role of science and technology, and, finally, by offering some thoughts on the future: of diplomacy, the foreign ministry and the foreign service.

The enterprise, as it happened, was somewhat larger, and the task more complicated and more difficult than I anticipated.

While I have a couple of degrees and over the years kept in close touch with colleagues at universities and in the scholarly community, I am at heart a practitioner, not an academic. In order to cover all of the ground necessary to make my case, I had in places to draw on personal experience, to rely on instinct, and to traverse great chunks of entire disciplines, often at high altitude and sometimes cursorily. Even at that, I have barely touched upon international organizations, or multilateral financial institutions, or many other aspects of international policy and relations, including trade and immigration, which might usefully have been considered.

Whether or not I have done it well, I have done something unusual in international relations, which is to explore relationships between subjects rarely considered in tandem, let alone all together: the Cold War and globalization; development and security; science, technology and international policy; and the constituent elements of the diplomatic ecosystem (foreign ministries, diplomacy, and foreign service). In my efforts to reveal the relationships among and between these components in the context of offering an overall synthesis at the level of grand strategy, I have also drawn on the full spectrum of sources, from the academic to the popular, from the conservative to the radical, from literature to film to conversations and interviews.

At the end of it all I have written a book about diplomacy, but which covers as well large swathes of the sweeping tableau which is contemporary international relations. With its accessible argumentation and conversational tone, Guerrilla Diplomacy is intended for a broad audience, including both specialists and those with a more general interest in building a better world.

Commentary and Reviews

“A highly readable and entertaining book [that] will be appreciated by undergraduate and graduate students alike. Practitioners may have more than quibbles with Copeland’s solutions to the marginalization of diplomacy, but they are unlikely to disagree fundamentally with his diagnosis.”—Evan H. Potter, International Journal

“A rich argument spiced by Copeland’s years of experience on the ground…. It puts forward an inescapable challenge with which scholars and practitioners alike will have to grapple as they attempt to define a role for diplomacy in the future of international relations.”—Ali Fisher, Journal of American Studies

“Young and aspiring diplomats should find this essential reading.”—Library Journal

“A must-read for forward-thinking diplomats.”—Jeff Davis, Embassy Magazine

“Truly enjoyable to read…. A tool for navigation through a complex and intertwined system of multiple actors, levels, and problems and a guideline for advancing the role of diplomacy in a changed world.”—Katharina Höne, DiploNews

“Thoughtful, provocative, and essential reading on the conduct of foreign policy and diplomacy in the globalized international system…. This cogent and well-directed book is linked by an underlying set of questions relating to the methods, policy role, and skills needed by a new breed of contemporary diplomat.”—Ronald Barston, The Diplomatic Academy, London

“Now, when the world most needs effective diplomacy, transformation of this creaky profession is essential. Daryl Copeland’s Guerrilla Diplomacy demonstrates that he is a forceful agent of urgently needed change.”—Jeremy Kinsman, Diplomat-in-Residence, Princeton University

“Copeland provides a very clear and bold blueprint—an impassioned plea, even—for the reform of diplomatic practice if it is to retain its relevance and purpose in the age of globalized relations. We will view diplomacy in a different light after this book.”—Donna Lee, University of Birmingham

“We need diplomacy now more than ever, and Daryl Copeland’s Guerrilla Diplomacy shows how nimble footed all—from career diplomats to global citizens—must be in this life-saving task.”—Nancy Snow, Syracuse University

“A tour de force…. Refreshing, insightful, innovative…. Finally, a new generation of diplomacy for a new generation of students of diplomacy.”—R.S. Zaharna, American University

“Daryl Copeland has always been ahead of the curve. Now he has produced a seminal study on the analysis and treatment of  ‘global’ issues from an alternative diplomatic perspective…. His work charts a new way forward for those committed to finding nonviolent solutions to the central problems of underdevelopment and insecurity.”—Timothy Shaw, University of the West Indies

“Daryl Copeland’s book shows how diplomats can make a distinct contribution to the literature on globalization…. His thought-provoking analysis of what he calls ‘guerrilla diplomacy’ and the future challenges of his profession is simply refreshing.”—Jan Melissen, Netherlands Institute of International Relations

“When diplomacy’s current revolution is recorded in the history books, Copeland’s extraordinarily compelling and prescient work will be acknowledged as one of the milestones of this turbulent period.”—Simon Anholt, UK Foreign Office Public Diplomacy Board

“Daryl Copeland’s practical and stimulating propositions range across the whole spectrum of foreign policy and diplomatic practice…. Guerilla Diplomacy needs to be constantly revisited, affording new and refreshing insights as the tumultuous events of the 21st century unfold.”—Sir Peter Marshall, Chairman of the Joint Commonwealth Societies’ Council

“Witty and wise and with a sobering dose of warning, Daryl Copeland has penned a masterly manual for navigating the diplomatic rapids of the twenty-first century.”—Nicolas J. Cull, University of Southern California

“Provocative, thoughtful, and cutting edge, Guerrilla Diplomacy creatively probes how diplomacy must change to be effective in a globalizing world. Copeland is an accomplished diplomat who writes from an academic perspective, which is useful and rare…. His assessment of diplomacy’s shifting center of gravity is a compelling read.”—Bruce Gregory, George Washington University


Glyn Berry
Glyn Berry

All royalties accruing to the author from the sale of this book will be donated to the Glyn Berry Memorial Scholarship in International Policy Studies, a facility established by Dalhousie University following the death of this Canadian diplomat in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Details at: