Nothing happens by chance, everything is meticulously designed, from the seats to the greetings to the main pieces of furniture. The elements of the protocol (ceremonies), ie the rules that govern diplomatic interactions, are worked out months before the summit.
In a long article in the American magazine Politico, Capricia Benavik Marshall, who served as chief of ceremonies in the White House from 2009 to 2013, wrote about protocol and its importance to the success of presidential summits, saying that regardless of geopolitical crises and the weight of uncertainty, protocol is Which allows leaders to connect from the start with respect, and engage in difficult conversations without alienation. Read also Biden and Putin summit.. diplomatic statements that hide sharp contentious issues 46 presidents and 53 first ladies.. the sad lives of American presidents First Michelle Obama and third Melania Trump.. Americans choose the woman they like the most The Independent: Melania Trump’s pathetic statement on Capitol events tells us what she’s up to
The writer says that the protocol has two main goals: bridging, or establishing a connection, and drawing your peer into your line of thought.
She goes on to list the details of the protocol, saying that they include advising the president on the logistical and cultural issues of a particular visit, setting up the diplomatic table, and taking care of items such as room size (is the room chosen so wide that the commander feels swallowed?), seating (are the chairs not comfortable In particular, which encourages leaders to finish on time?), logistics for arrivals and departures, press movements and staff communication during the summit.
Also, knowing the exits and entrances to the place, the distances from one room to another, security checkpoints, and even the number and location of toilets, prepares the protocol official to confront unknown issues that must arise and answer any question leaders may ask.
And your commander’s seat, do you want it facing the door? Or at least allow his eyes to face the door, as this limits surprises and facilitates visual communication (gesture, eyebrow raised) with staff entering.
Table, furniture and lighting
So does an examination of what’s on the table: key pieces that might facilitate a particular element or detract from a talking point, such as a piece of art that sends a message about climate change, colors (do they boost or dampen the mood?), flower types (allergy alert, scented varieties can distract? Attention to leaders) Lighting should be taken care of (bright and cheerful or dim and intimate) and the team may need to bring in warm, ambient lighting to foster friendship.
And there are gifts, which are a valuable tool of soft power, a way to deliver a message that words cannot do. The norm at most summits is the exchange of gifts between ceremonial officials behind the scenes. However, a protocol officer needs a contingency plan when a leader deviates from expectations, as Russians, known for the unexpected, like to break with gift-giving traditions. In Prague in 2010, President Dmitry Medvedev preempted protocol by presenting Obama his gift at the end of their meeting (we call it the foreign gift).
When Obama met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the 2012 G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, the US protocol team used specific tools to engage Putin in ways that convey respect but give a negotiating advantage to the American side. The ultimate goal was to move the relationship away from mistrust and toward understanding and cooperation, a continuation of efforts to reset the relationship between the United States and Russia.
She said that the United States was hosting that meeting, and there were many elements under the control of her team, which chose a small room, to push the two leaders closer and create a sense of a collaborative environment towards the same end, and also chose a narrow table to allow for a more intimate discussion and to provide a sense of warmth with Greenery lamps and table arrangements (soothing colour, odorless).
All these subtleties, Capriccia says, can make a difference. After the two-hour meeting, the leaders walked out of the room shaking hands and patting each other on the back. They were clearly exhausted and major political differences remained, but the meeting was seen as a step in the right direction, as Obama and Putin agreed on a joint statement calling for an end to the violence in Syria.
Overthrowing the balance of the other party
The author adds that small deviations from the protocol say a lot. Putin arrived at the Los Cabos summit late, which is his preferred tactic to upset the balance of the other, but it is possible that both sides could play the game of “surprise the other,” adding that they knew Putin was hoping that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would not be present (she had commented negatively on his election) and Obama realized that his surprise was an opportunity to upset Putin’s balance. During the introductions, Obama stepped aside to reveal Clinton’s presence, and Putin’s face appeared for a split second. It was a brief moment, but it toppled Putin, and did what Obama wanted.