As a time-honoured method of international cooperation, diplomacy has been often besieged by questions regarding the “magic and mystery” of how it works, succeeds or fails (Sharp 2009, 2). Bull’s view of diplomacy as “the conduct of relations between states and other entities with standing in world politics by official agents and by peaceful means” (Bull 1997, 156) remains the most commonly used definition among diplomatic scholars, followed closely by Watson’s characterization of diplomacy as the process of “negotiation between political entities which acknowledge each other’s independence” (Watson 1984, 33). Both definitions have the merit to clearly capture a fundamental feature of diplomacy; that is, its nonviolent approach to reconciling interests among international actors, especially states. At the same time, they arguably fail to remove the veil off the “magic and mystery” by which diplomacy distinctly shapes conf lict and cooperation in international politics. Foreshadowing Watson, Richelieu thought “continuous negotiation” was the key ingredient (Berridge 2004, 116). In his advice to a young diplomat, Machiavelli interestingly viewed “sincerity and frankness of great importance” (Berridge 2004, 41). Sir Ernst Satow insisted on “the application of intelligence and tact to the conduct of official relations” (Satow and Bland 1957). More contemporarily, Kissinger spoke about the need to correctly understand the lessons of history (Kissinger 1994, 27), while Hillary Clinton praised the virtue of “blunt talk” in advancing the diplomatic agenda ( Raddatz 2009, para. 5 ).