French and Russians are the best diplomats

Diplomacy is the final element of the state power ranking. Diplomatic effectiveness may be quantified through a country’s membership in international organisations, having its citizens among the heads of these organisations and a seat on the UN Security Council.

Diplomacy Index, 1991-2016

Source: Own calculations

The three countries with the highest result are France, Russia and the US. Just behind them is Great Britain, which dropped by one position since 2015 because of the weakening diplomatic position with the European Union (including the loss of an EU commissioner and the spectre of Brexit).

Poland, with 1.82 points, is in the third group of states thanks to the fact that temporarily it holds the top position in an important international organization—the head of the European Council. Interestingly, Ukraine is for the time being ahead of Poland because it currently holds a seat on the UN Security Council. We are in the same group as Portugal, Brazil, Norway, Thailand and Guinea. Trailing us before 2016 were Congo, Canada, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

The benefit of our approach to diplomacy is the ability to quantify the achievements of individual countries. Of course, such an approach does not capture all the aspects of soft power, such as the image dimension. An example of this is the harm to Poland’s image abroad because of the conflict with EU institutions and the procedure of monitoring the rule of law in our country1, along with the last-minute objections to the candidacy of Donald Tusk to remain the president of the European Council.

These types of processes affect the image and perception of trustworthiness of entire countries, so, therefore, also on their soft power, but the measure does not pick them up directly. But it can be assumed, that they can be seen indirectly assuming that ultimately the rise or fall of the country’s soft power will be reflected in the presence or absence of its representatives in the important international structures.

Other elements of diplomacy are difficult to measure or even impossible in a way that would allow them to be included in the ranking. Although our diplomacy indicator is fragmentary, which could lead to unusual conclusions (for example, the equal footing of the German and Polish diplomacy in the ranking), we nevertheless use it because of its relatively satisfactory approximation with a limited complexity of construction.

  1. P. Arak, A. Bobiński, Nations in Transit. Poland 2017, Freedom House, London 2017, available online.