Do you think it's possible there are internationals wizarding ambassadors? I know there are none mentioned in the books, but maybe added by Kingsley in the spirit of international magical cooperation? Any thoughts? Thanks, all
I always thought part of the reason we, Muggles need ambassadors is because we need to have people on the ground in another country, in contact with their leaders all the time. Plus having a dedicated foreign service means you know you have people who can speak the language and know the customs.
A few of these things wouldn't be problems for wizards. Even presuming that Kingsley can't just Apparate if he had a problem with... for instance, the Russian wizarding leader, he could still get there a lot faster if he had to than if David Cameron needed to go talk to Dmitry Medvedev.
I'm still not sure why Fudge didn't have a translation charm for the Bulgarian minister. Anyone have any information about translation charms?
In any case, I think it's probable that they have ambassadors. Just so they have someone who's familiar with the local government and knows who to talk to for what purpose.
Setting Snakes on Hapless Relatives
I remember ages ago reading a thread about translation charms...it had to do with newspapers, I think? I can't remember specifically, but someone said that magic couldn't replace knowledge of a language; i.e., you can't just cast a spell on something written in a language you don't understand and turn it into English. I rather like that idea for everything - magic just makes things to easy sometimes. I'm not sure how well that jives with the way magic works in the books, though (I can't think of anything that contradicts it off the top of my head, but that usually doesn't mean much). At any rate, you have to wonder if anyone would go to the bother of learning loads of languages - as Mr. Crouch and Dumbledore did - if he could just cast a spell and understand any language. Then again, I can see Dumbledore wanting to learn languages properly, just for the experience. (edit: I found the thread I was thinking of, for anyone interested in checking it out.)
Originally Posted by AidaLuthien
As to the idea of ambassadors - I don't think posting permanent ambassadors would be realistic. For one thing, wizard populations are small; why would a ministry want to send a top officials away to live in other countries? Foreign relations don't seem to be too important in the wizarding world. Aside from all the prejudices and mistrust we saw in GoF, the fact that there seemed to be little-to-no foreign involvement during either Voldy War, even though it was clear an issue of morals over politics, suggests to me that wizards tend to believe it best to stay out of each other's affairs. And Harry has never had a clue as to what's going on outside England (other than, perhaps, Quidditch) - but then, Harry never had much idea what was happening outside his world.
I think it would just be too much of a drain on governments in terms of manpower and money. Perhaps certain countries might exchange ambassadors for a year or two as a means of keeping peace. And I could see ambassadors visiting host countries before the Quidditch World Cup to sort of "check up on things" - ensure that the country has adequate anti-Muggle protections, arrange mass international travel, maybe spy on some opposing team practices; that sort of thing. Working with people face to face has always been important in politics. Then again, depending on how you view the limitations of Floo, it might be possible to see people face-to-face at any moment. Like most things, I think there are a number of different feasible ways to handle the foreign relations issue within canon.
There may not be ambassadors, per se. There's not nessicarily a need to send a person to live in a country for an extended period of time, when it's possible to travel across vast distances instantly (Portkeys, and Apparation could be used. Though the latter I wouldn't use unless the witch or wizard was particularly skilled, or over shorter distances at a time).
I think you lot are forgetting two important aspects of international relations.
First, the Department of International Magical Cooperation. They deal with relations between nations (like the give and take of arranging the Quidditch World Cup and The Triwizard Tounament), determines standards of international trade (remember Percy's report on cauldron bottom thickness?)
And another is the International Confederation of Wizards. Here I would suppose any arguments or disagreements between governing bodies would be settled, and international standards would be created, and such things.
Setting Off Fireworks in Potions Class
I agree that the Ministry of Magic having ambassadors to every country is not likely, if only from a logistical point of view. In the Muggle world, there are 193 states recognised by the United Nations. I'd imagine that wizarding nations would be more cleanly defined ethnically, culturally, etc., and there would probably be a greater number of magical states than there are Muggle ones. That said, does the Ministry of Magic have the manpower to send over two hundred ambassadors to foreign countries, especially considering that the total population of magical Britain is probably less than 10,000? The simple answer is no.
Though this has already been mentioned, the complete indifference of foreign magical countries towards the troubles in Britain indicate that wizards generally don't care about international relations. Selina mentioned the International Confederation of Wizards, which I think sounds like a likely contender for an international arbiter. And just like the Muggle United Nations, it probably won't have much power.
Tim the Enchanter
It might not be out of line, though, to have an International Relations Office design to serve whatever foreign countries might exist at the time. What do other people think?