Eight years on, ID has been employed by Somaliland, Croatia, Moldova, the Marshall Islands, the Western Sahara, as well as South Sudan and Kosovo. They themselves have employed a number of former diplomats from both sides of the Atlantic: "When I set it up," Ross explains, "I was genuinely surprised that regular diplomats would talk to us. I had expected that they would shun us. But they didn't. It is regular diplomats who have been most ready to accept ID, perhaps because they ‘get' us in a way that non-diplomats do not. One German ambassador exclaimed to me that ID should have been established 30 years ago."
Despite such ringing endorsement, ID's new model of diplomacy may not prove as contagious as Carne Ross might hope. "Non-western actors -- China, India, and the Association of South East Asian Nations, as well as the Economic Community of West African States -- are concerned with preserving sovereignty and doing so using traditional diplomacy," says Dr. Randolph Kent, former U.N resident and humanitarian coordinator in Somalia. "The West may see the concept of nation state as fraying at the edges, but emerging powers aspire to strengthen their national identity, not dilute it. They believe old-fashioned protocol, with its ‘us and them' distinctions, supports their aim."
Indeed, given the economic downturn, even the West may have to hold on to the concept of "nation-state" and "national government" for a while yet. Intervention is visible everywhere, as the only means to kick-start economies. And given that governments need to talk and negotiate with each other, "they need people to do it," says Charles Crawford. "And we know who they are."
While it may be premature to write off the traditional diplomacy of Talleyrand, Castlereagh, and Metternich, it would be downright foolish to write off Carne Ross. His vision of the "anarchist diplomat," as a French magazine dubbed it, has earned him attention worldwide as a thought leader; aside from his TED Talk about ID, he has appeared on American public TVto make the case for re-engaging the electorate at the community level and contributes regularly to newspapers. Ross may have tried, and failed, to dismantle the institution of diplomacy. But isn't he, as his old colleague Gerard Russell puts it, "in danger of becoming an institution himself?"