Resident Representation Ratio (3R) as an Index of Diplomatic Activity: Comparing the P5 and the States of the South Caucasus

I originally wrote this very brief piece of research back in December, but could not manage to publish it anywhere. Before the data got too old, I figured to post it here.

 

Resident Representation Ratio (3R) as an Index of Diplomatic Activity:

Comparing the P5 and the States of the South Caucasus

Abstract

Traditional bilateral relations with on-the-ground embassies continue to remain a mainstay in inter-governmental affairs. This paper proposes a quantitative approach to measuring the diplomatic activity of States on the basis of the ratio of resident embassies sent to resident embassies received. Resident Representation Ratio, or 3R, offers a quick and simple comparative index. This paper further carries out a 3R comparison among the P5 alongside three States in the South Caucasus. It is found that, despite having the greatest absolute numbers, the United States has the lowest proportion of sent embassies to received embassies, similar to the United Kingdom. France, Russia, and China have a higher 3R index, closer in number. France has slightly more embassies sent than received. In the South Caucasus, Georgia displays the highest proportion, even though Azerbaijan has the greatest absolute numbers. Armenia has the lowest absolute numbers, but second-highest 3R index overall.

Resident Representation Ratio (3R) as an Index of Diplomatic Activity:

Comparing the P5 and the States of the South Caucasus

Introduction

Even with the rise of new trends in diplomacy over the past few decades, traditional bilateral relations remain a mainstay in inter-governmental affairs. The presence of an on-the-ground embassy indicates the seriousness of a sending State in establishing and maintaining cordial relations, with all the accompanying costs. This paper proposes a quantitative approach to measuring the diplomatic activity of States on the basis of the ratio of resident embassies sent to resident embassies received. Resident Representation Ratio, or 3R, offers a quick and simple index to measure and compare the diplomatic activity of States. Further, this paper will carry out a 3R comparison among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (P5 – United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China) alongside three States in the South Caucasus (Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia).

Definition

The ratio of resident representations found in each State reflects immediate bilateral relations between States as a measure of the level of traditional diplomatic activity. It can also be used as a rough measure of the degree of implementation of the principle of reciprocity between States.

For the purposes of the index, “resident representations” include all accredited State-to-State embassies with a physical presence. A given embassy is counted as only one mission regardless of the number of States or other bodies to which it is accredited. Permanent representations to international organisations are not included in 3R.

Some States, in particular members of the Commonwealth, may give names other than “embassy” to their missions, but they are still counted as representations. Cases of interest sections as well as representations in national capitals not accorded the full status of an embassy (e.g., liaison offices or subsidiary representations) are likewise counted, as they reflect a State’s willingness towards diplomatic engagement and bearing costs to that end, even if both the engagement and the costs might be minimal in such cases. Honorary consulates, on the other hand, are excluded, because sending States often bear no costs in maintaining them.

Official engagement with Kosovo, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia are considered to be State-to-State exercises from the perspective of the participating States and are therefore counted, as opposed to any representations to or from Palestine or Taiwan, which is admittedly a grey area. Another grey area is the presence of a representation of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. That has been counted, however, even if that entity does not fit the traditional model of the state and is not a member of the UN: the fact that a State has taken the trouble to accept the Sovereign Military Order of Malta’s representation reflects that State’s level of diplomatic activity. Similar outreach to Palestine or Taiwan, on the other hand, is more fully accounted for in the context of a State’s position with regards to a dispute, rather than showcasing the willingness of a State to engage diplomatically.

The 3R index is a simple quotient – the ratio between the total number of resident representations a State has sent to the total number of resident representations received by that State. Three decimal places are taken in order to provide for sufficient differentiation from among the sample.

Object of Research, Hypotheses, Methodology

This paper will calculate the 3R indices of eight States: the P5 and three in the South Caucasus. The rationale behind the study is the quantitative comparison the diplomatic activity of five larger, more influential (sometime classically “Great Power”) States with three newer and smaller States.

Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, for their part, share an immediate history having been part of the USSR and the Russian Empire before it. All three maintain active engagement with the international community, especially given ongoing negotiations over the territorial conflicts that pervade their space. At the same time, their foreign policy trajectories have been markedly different over the past two decades. The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China have a special status in the international community as the only permanent members of the UN Security Council. They have long been at the forefront of international affairs. 3R would thus offer an interesting point of analysis between this group of States and those of the South Caucasus, while also providing a framework for comparison among the States within each group.

The hypotheses are as follows –

H1: The absolute numbers of resident embassies sent and received in the P5 will be far greater than those found in the South Caucasus.

H2: The 3R indices of each of the P5 States will be quite close to 1. The 3R indices for the States of the South Caucasus will be greater than 1.

H3: The 3R index for Georgia will be closest to 1, followed by Azerbaijan, then Armenia.

The number of embassies sent and received will be taken from the websites of the foreign ministries of the States under consideration and/or the diplomatic lists available therein.

Data

United States

Resident Embassies Sent (RES)[1]                                170[2]

Resident Embassies Received (RER)[3]                        191[4]

RES:RER = Resident Representation Ratio (3R)      0.890

United Kingdom

Resident Embassies Sent (RES)[5]                                149[6]

Resident Embassies Received (RER)[7]                        166[8]

RES:RER = Resident Representation Ratio (3R)      0.897

France

Resident Embassies Sent (RES)[9]                                160[10]

Resident Embassies Received (RER)[11]                      158[12]

RES:RER = Resident Representation Ratio (3R)      1.012

Russia

Resident Embassies Sent (RES)[13]                               147[14]

Resident Embassies Received (RER)[15]                      152[16]

RES:RER = Resident Representation Ratio (3R)      0.967

China

Resident Embassies Sent (RES)[17]                               163

Resident Embassies Received (RER)[18]                      166

RES:RER = Resident Representation Ratio (3R)      0.981

Georgia

Resident Embassies Sent (RES)[19]                               59

Resident Embassies Received (RER)[20]                      36

RES:RER = Resident Representation Ratio (3R)      1.638

Azerbaijan

Resident Embassies Sent (RES)[21]                               65

Resident Embassies Received (RER)[22]                      63[23]

RES:RER = Resident Representation Ratio (3R)      1.031

Armenia

Resident Embassies Sent (RES)[24]                               41

Resident Embassies Received (RER) [25]                      32[26]

RES:RER = Resident Representation Ratio (3R)      1.281

 

Table of Data

  RES RER 3R
United States 170 191 0.890
United Kingdom 149 166 0.897
France 160 158 1.012
Russia 147 152 0.967
China 163 166 0.981
Georgia 59 36 1.638
Azerbaijan 65 63 1.031
Armenia 41 32 1.281

Table of Data in Descending Order of 3R

  RES RER 3R
Georgia 59 36 1.638
Armenia 41 32 1.281
Azerbaijan 65 63 1.031
France 160 158 1.012
China 163 166 0.981
Russia 147 152 0.967
United Kingdom 149 166 0.897
United States 170 191 0.890

 

Findings

H1: The absolute numbers of resident embassies sent and received in the P5 will be far greater than those found in the South Caucasus.

This hypothesis is strongly supported. The P5, being wealthier and older States, have established embassies in a greater number of capitals and for a longer time than the States of the South Caucasus. They likewise receive more resident representations. There are between twice and four times as many embassies sent and between two-and-a-half and almost six times as many embassies received when considering the extreme and minimal differences in number from the two groups.

Within the P5, the United States is the clear winner in hosting embassies by a substantial margin. Similarly, Washington maintains by far a greater number of resident embassies abroad. China comes in second, beating the United Kingdom and France, even if by not too much. Russia is the farthest behind. There is an indication, then, of the waning of the colonial-era “Great Powers” on the world stage, giving way to what used to be a closed society carved up among the imperial States. The rise of China is thus unsurprisingly reflected in its diplomatic activity as well.

In the South Caucasus, Azerbaijan’s major economic clout as a hydrocarbon centre warrants the greatest absolute number of embassies sent and received. The margin is quite significant especially with Armenia – a country with which the ongoing territorial dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh motivates Azerbaijan to get its voice heard in more capitals around the world.

H2: The 3R indices of each of the P5 States will be quite close to 1. The 3R indices for the States of the South Caucasus will be greater than 1.

This hypothesis is supported, but with some interesting nuances. The rationale behind this hypothesis was that, despite the principle of reciprocity in diplomacy, there is greater imperative for newer and smaller States to send embassies than the attractiveness those States might showcase in receiving them. Resident Embassies Sent expected to be greater than Resident Embassies Received in those cases, the 3R index was thus foreseen to be greater than 1. Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia all end up with 3R greater than 1.

The P5 was expected to have much more balanced numbers of sent and received embassies. France, Russia, and China do have quite close counts – between two and five resident representations apart in each category. But there is a significant difference in the case of the embassies sent and received from and to the United States and the United Kingdom each. The 3R index reflects this differentiation within the P5: despite differences in absolute numbers, France, Russia, and China have 3Rs that are quite close, as do the US and the UK.

It was unexpected to find that France has more representations abroad than at home. It is almost a 1:1 ratio, however. But that does not mean (unlike in the case of Baku, for example) that so many national capitals around the world host a French embassy and send a reciprocal one to Paris. That is an accident of the numbers, as some States have neither a received nor a sent representation, there are one-sided representations in a few cases, and there are a number of embassies accredited to France located in Brussels and London. Maybe smaller, poorer States take advantage of quick transportation links in western Europe and choose not to maintain a full-fledged embassy in Paris – something less feasible in Washington, Moscow, or Beijing, which are cities farther away from other major diplomatic centres.

Similarly, to find the United States with the lowest 3R index was a little surprising. The greatest absolute numbers in that country’s case was not, but the State Department having a strong reputation of the most widespread, responsive, and pro-active diplomatic service in the world, closer numbers of embassies sent and received was expected. Perhaps if other representations of the US and to the US would be taken into consideration, such as consulates-general, the numbers would even out.

H3: The 3R index for Georgia will be closest to 1, followed by Azerbaijan, then Armenia.

This hypothesis is not supported. The rationale behind it was that Tbilisi is the best bet for most States to maintain embassies, especially with the intention of accrediting them to all three South Caucasus countries. Azerbaijan and Armenia do not maintain diplomatic relations, their borders are closed. Almost all international projects dealing with the South Caucasus carry out their work in Georgia. Meanwhile, Baku is a bigger and economically more significant capital than Yerevan, therefore it would host the next greatest number of embassies. Armenia would thus have the most embassies sent in proportion to received.

This turned out not to be the case. Armenia does have the least in absolute numbers – almost twice as fewer embassies are in Yerevan than in Baku, in fact – but it also falls quite far behind Georgia in terms of proportion too. The number of Georgia’s received embassies is much lower than expected. In terms of sent embassies, although Azerbaijan has only six more than Georgia (65 to 59), there is a substantial difference in the number of received embassies in Baku than in Tbilisi – 63 to 36. Yerevan is ultimately not far behind Tbilisi at hosting 32 embassies, but Armenia has sent only 41 embassies, again the least among the three States of the South Caucasus.

The leader in terms of diplomatic activity by the 3R index is Georgia. The numbers indicate a concerted effort by that country to establish itself on the diplomatic stage, despite apparently being an unattractive reciprocal location for States to maintain permanent missions.

Limitations on Study and Further Research

There are a few limitations to the 3R approach in general and this paper in particular.

Firstly, there is always the danger of over-quantification or of lending too much credence to the numbers. 3R is a very simple index that takes a single ratio. It offers merely a snapshot, taking a quite narrow view of the level of diplomatic activity of States.

Secondly, the 3R index does not take into account: the sizes of embassies (personnel, budget, etc.); ambassadors accredited to more than one State or also to international organisations; separate representations accredited to international organisations; representations from and to super-national organisations; representations outside the capital or non-traditional and/or semi-diplomatic bodies that function alongside embassies (consulates-general, honorary consulates, trade missions, cultural bodies); the hosting of international or super-national organisations; budgets of foreign ministries or proportions of the national budget thereof; or even such factors as precedence in protocol or locations and ages of embassies in capitals – all of which could very well offer their own indications of the diplomatic activity of States. 3R could be modified to include some of the above factors.

Thirdly, this paper takes a very limited sampling of States. The two groups of States studied have an appreciable difference to make for a worthwhile data set, but there can easily be other categorisations of States. Factors of diversity within each group also received limited treatment.

Further research along these lines might address the above limitations. A larger data set may be taken for comparative 3R analysis, eventually reaching all States and even actors on the international arena of other status (international organisations, disputed territories with limited or no recognition, etc.). Correlations of 3R with, for example, GDP, GDP per capita, national and/or foreign policy budgets could also be worthwhile to study. It might also be interesting to look into correlations of 3R with ratios of total number of accredited embassies abroad and at home, to how many other countries a given embassy is accredited notwithstanding. Finally, the geographic distribution of embassies could offer points of deeper analysis to correlate with 3R trends (e.g., European States might maintain more embassies in European States, former colonial powers in their former colonies, former Soviet countries might send more to European capitals, etc.).

 


 

[1] “USEmbassy.gov: Websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions”, U.S. Department of State, http://www.usembassy.gov/ (accessed 22 December 2015)

[2] Including to Kosovo; including embassies to the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau – these are considered on-the-ground State-to-State representations, even though those three States have the status of being in “free association” with the United States; not including the American Institute in Taiwan, described by the State Department as “a private nonprofit corporation, which performs citizen and consular services similar to those at diplomatic posts” (http://www.usembassy.gov/east-asia.html)

[3] “Diplomatic List – Spring 2015”, Office of the Chief of Protocol, Department of State

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/244105.pdf (accessed 22 December 2015)

[4] Including Kosovo; including Andorra, the Comoros, Kiribati, the Maldives, Nauru, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, the Seychelles, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu even though they only maintain representations in New York; including Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, even though their representations are located in Arlington, Virgina, just outside Washington

[5] “Worldwide: What is the UK government doing in _______ ?”, GOV.UK

https://www.gov.uk/government/world (accessed 22 December 2015)

[6] Including to Kosovo; including those deemed “high commissions” to member-states of the Commonwealth; including as a single count the representation in Rome to Italy and the Holy See, as there is only one address available for both; not including the British Office Taipei; not including embassies suspended as of this writing (Libya, Syria, Yemen)

[7] “The London Diplomatic List – (Revised 11/12/2015)”

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/484569/London_Diplomatic_List_-_December_2015.pdf (accessed 22 December 2015)

[8] Including Kosovo; not including the Palestinian Mission to the UK, nor the Syrian embassy in London, suspended as of this writing

[9] “Dossier pays”, France Diplomatie – Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international

http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/dossiers-pays/ (accessed 23 December 2015)

[10] Including to Kosovo; not including embassies suspended as of this writing (Libya, Syria, Yemen)

[11] “Dossier pays”, France Diplomatie – Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international

http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/dossiers-pays/ (accessed 23 December 2015)

[12] Including Kosovo; including Mongolia, even though its representation is located in Boulogne-Billancourt, just outside Paris

[13] “Перечень загранучреждений МИД России”, Министерство иностранных дел Российской Федерации

[“List of Diplomatic Missions of the MFA of Russia”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation]

http://archive.mid.ru/bdomp/zu_r.nsf/straweb (accessed 23 December 2015)

[14] Including to Abkhazia and South Ossetia

[15] “Перечень дипломатических представительств зарубежных государств в России (по состоянию на январь 2015 года)”, Министерство иностранных дел Российской Федерации

[“List of Diplomatic Representations of Foreign States in Russia (as of January, 2015)”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation]

http://archive.mid.ru/bdomp/activity.nsf/foreign_representation/03.02.05.02.02 (accessed 23 December 2015)

[16] Including Abkhazia and South Ossetia; not including the Georgian interests section at the Swiss Embassy mentioned by the Georgian Foreign Ministry (note 19) – the entry was not listed in the Russian source (note 15)

[17] “Chinese Embassies”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/wjb_663304/zwjg_665342/2490_665344/ (accessed 23 December 2015)

[18] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, archived webpage from December, 2012

https://web.archive.org/web/20121206042820/http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/chn/pds/ziliao/wjgmc/

(accessed 23 December 2015)

[19] “Georgian Missions Abroad”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

http://www.mfa.gov.ge/MainNav/EmbassiesRepresentations/GeorgianMissionsAbroad.aspx

(accessed 21 December 2015)

[20] “Diplomatic List – Winter 2015”, Diplomatic Protocol Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

http://www.mfa.gov.ge/getattachment/MainNav/EmbassiesRepresentations/ForeignEmbassiesMissionsGeorgia/DIPLOMATIC-LIST.pdf.aspx (accessed 21 December 2015)

[21] “The List of Azerbaijani Embassies, Missions and Consulates Abroad”, Republic of Azerbaijan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Protocol Department. Baku, 2015

http://mfa.gov.az/files/file/The_Diplomatic_Missions_of_the_Republic_of_Azerbaijan_-_07.12.15.pdf

(accessed 21 December 2015)

[22] “Diplomatic List”, Republic of Azerbaijan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Protocol Department. Baku, January 2015

http://mfa.gov.az/files/file/Foreign_diplomatic_missions_in_the_Republic_of_Azerbaijan-07.12.2015.pdf

(accessed 21 December 2015)

[23] Including a stand-alone economic office of FYR Macedonia in Baku, even though the embassy is located in Ankara

[24] “Diplomatic Directory: Diplomatic Missions of the Republic of Armenia – 2015” , Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, State Protocol Service Agency

http://www.mfa.am/u_files/file/gen_docs/cat_eng.pdf (accessed 21 December 2015)

[25] “Diplomatic Directory: Diplomatic Missions in the Republic of Armenia – 2015”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, State Protocol Service Agency

http://www.mfa.am/u_files/file/gen_docs/catin_eng.pdf (accessed 21 December 2015)

[26] Including the Belarusian embassy located just outside Yerevan