Conclusion: The History, Effectiveness, and Implications of Diplomatic SecurityThe History, Effectiveness, and Implications of Diplomatic Security

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The Conclusion examines the nature and scope of diplomatic security policies worldwide, the factors underlying their variations, their effectiveness in securing diplomats, and their implications for the conduct of diplomacy. It provides novel insights into the study of security and diplomacy alike. Most notably, it underscores the importance of organizational interests and cultures in shaping protective arrangements, conceptualizes diplomatic inviolability as an international norm, and posits the existence of a trade-off between effective diplomacy and effective diplomatic security. Arguing that diplomacy in a traditional sense has partly lost its importance has become commonplace. States’ reluctance to close missions in dangerous locations, arguably the most effective security policy available, vindicates the enduring importance of traditional, face-to-face diplomacy in the twenty-first century.

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This chapter builds on sociological institutionalism and private security studies to develop a theoretical framework that can accurately explain the increasing resort to PMSCs as providers of vessel protection. To this end, it introduces the notion of institutional isomorphism and its coercive, normative and mimetic components. It then focuses on the explanations for the increasing outsourcing of military support elaborated by private security scholarship, examining the role of functionalist, ideational, political and organisational factors in encouraging the use of PMSCs to protect merchant vessels. Far from being incompatible, these arguments can be combined in a synthetic explanation of the commercialisation of vessel protection that employs the technique of sequencing to identify the role played by material and financial considerations, international and domestic norms, political constraints and organisational preferences at different phases of the policy process. The previous chapter examined the rise of piracy in the Indian Ocean and the exposure of shipping industries worldwide thereto. Flag states initially developed different responses to protect merchant ships, but eventually converged towards the use of private military and security companies (PMSCs). Such a widespread commercialisation of vessel protection can be conceptualised as a form of institutional isomorphism. The mainstreaming of commercial vessel protection, however, has been influenced and delayed by several factors that vary significantly across countries and organisations.
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