Politics in Minutes (2016)


International relations can take place at the highest level, between heads of state reaching agreements to avoid conflict, or working together on a matter of common concern, but normally the groundwork has already been done by their diplomatic services, who also manage relations between countries on a day-to-day basis. A section of the government department for foreign affairs in most countries is staffed by diplomats, who represent the state in its dealings with other nations. Some are stationed in embassies – branch offices of the government, in various other countries – from which they can communicate with the officials of that country.

The role of diplomats is to protect their country’s interests, and the interests of its citizens, abroad. This sometimes involves resolving conflicts of interest to avoid war, but for much of the time is concerned with trade agreements and maintaining friendly relations between countries through social and cultural exchanges.