Newman: Does the pope still matter in international relations?
It depends on the Pope and it depends on the issues.
Certainly as a Polish Pope John Paul II had an impact in Eastern Europe in the 1980s as the foundation of the Soviet Empire began to crumble and then collapsed. The Wall would have come down anyway but the Papal shoulder was one more giving it a shove.
If the next Pope is non traditional – particularly if he is an African – there is a good chance he could have an impact on developments on that continent.
If the next Pope is from the First World then influence in international relations will be slight to marginal and managing the Church will likely be his preoccupation.