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Peace is a techne

Where and how did Diana learn how to be a diplomat? Everything we've been shown of Themyscira during her life there shows the island as inhabited by a single polity, and one ruled by an immortal (mostly absolute?) monarch at that. You have the interpersonal issues inherent to, well, people, but none of the kind of conflict between social or political groups deriving from competing ideologies or sets of interests for which workable compromises must be found.

Even worse, it's a warrior culture, so physical conflict, although within heavily regulated boundaries, is absolutely accepted, and perhaps even encouraged.

So why should their Princess — who rather than a misfit was highly respected and extremely well-trained by the standards of her society — be any good as a diplomat? I don't question her desire for peace at both social and personal levels, nor her reluctance to fight given alternatives, but effective diplomacy, even when the goal is peace, isn't just about wanting it, it's a skill. It's a form of politics, and Themyscira looks like an awful place to learn politics; too immortal to have to deal with heir hairiness, too small for fights over centralization and delegation of power. And their economy, to whatever degree we know it, looks like "Ancient Greece with magic replacing slaves" (I think), which doesn't even give you space to the Pandora's Box of an urban commercial class or, later, a proletariat.

Options: (1) Diana spent quite a bit of time in Patriarch's World learning the nuts and bolts of diplomacy (the Trevor timeline forbids it, but Diana could be old enough for her to have shadowed Talleyrand). (2) The Amazons have a secret school of diplomacy they trained her in before she left the island (but this only punts the problem; do they travel to keep in practice, and/or learn new tricks? that goes against the grain of Amazonian isolationism). (3) Diana is bad at it and knows it (but I've never read her say anything along those lines). (4) Diana is bad at it, doesn't know it, and neither Clark nor Bruce have been able or willing to tell her. Clark probably wishes he could approach the issues as she does, but can't due to his own standing in the world (basically, the Pope can host meetings, but he can't draft treaties). And I bet Bruce sees her directness as, most of the time, useful in the kind of negotiations he makes after scaring the crap out of people in their "highly secure" offices. In the sense of "you might possibly outflank Superman given his cultural, psychological, and geopolitical constraints, but then your options are *me* and the relentlessly idealist Superman-level highly-trained warrior with diplomatic immunity."

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
liliaeth
Mar. 2nd, 2017 04:30 am (UTC)
Don't they pretty much interact with their gods? I'd imagine that would take some diplomatic training.
__marcelo
Mar. 2nd, 2017 04:34 am (UTC)
That's an interesting idea! They are tricky, that's for sure.

(The Klingons come to mind as rather pragmatic in this regard; they killed their gods, having found them too bothersome.)
tripoli
Mar. 2nd, 2017 05:59 am (UTC)
Okay, so the Themyscirans are absolutely not analogous to the Spartans (who are themselves pretty misunderstood), but go with for a minute. It was also a militaristic and internally pretty stable society and they did okay diplomatically--and good for them, because for a society everyone remembers for being militaristic, they didn't actually have like, the most amazing track record in military victories.

Okay, ludicrous analogy over. As you say, Themyscira doesn't have a lot of the pressures Sparta did, but getting away from that, I'd bet highly-ordered societies rely on a lot of person-level diplomacy to succeed and not murder all the people you're trapped on an island with for eternity, and I bet she's gotten better at it on the macro level since she's been playing at that level.
__marcelo
Mar. 2nd, 2017 06:43 am (UTC)
Granted (and good point about their less-than-legend-worthy *actual* military results), but the Spartans had to and did interact with other polities in a fairly intensive way, so diplomacy was part and parcel of their political life. I can see the Amazons developing very sophisticated forms of politeness, ways to diffuse tension, ritualized combat, etc, but Diana is their first ambassador they've had for more than two thousand years (second, if you count Hippolyta). However good they've gotten at maintaining a viable society, their State Department can't but be out of practice.

Diana has all of the right personal qualities, but, yeah, I suspect the macro level was something that at the beginning she just had no experience with except through historical records, and those involved rather different sizes and types of states.

On the other hand, perhaps I'm conflating two different roles for her. She's a diplomat in her specific role of being the almost exclusive point of contact between Themyscira and the rest of the world (there are exceptions), but she's expected to promote peace not through the methods and tools of diplomacy , but rather through her example as a superbly ethical warrior who chooses peace whenever possible. In that role, I think Amazonian mores are very much relevant, but I'm still skeptical about their applicability. In any case, she's not there to run conferences, but *inspire individuals* (which she's very good at).
tripoli
Mar. 3rd, 2017 03:57 am (UTC)
Legit. Legit.
alejandradd
Mar. 2nd, 2017 02:16 pm (UTC)
Diana is really bad at being a diplomat in the Justice League cartoons. I think he just grabbed a random dude by the collar in one the episodes. She can't keep her cool.

If she's good at it in the comics, it's probably due to learning while on the job ;)
__marcelo
Mar. 2nd, 2017 06:14 pm (UTC)
Diana is really bad at being a diplomat in the Justice League cartoons.

*g* True. In all fairness, her refusal to take crap from people who just assume she's going/has to is one of the things I like about her.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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