Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics
Joseph S. Nye
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Joseph Nye coined the term "soft power" in the late 1980s. It is now used frequentlyand often incorrectlyby political leaders, editorial writers, and academics around the world. So what is soft power? Soft power lies in the ability to attract and persuade. Whereas hard powerthe ability to coercegrows out of a country's military or economic might, soft power arises from the attractiveness of a country's culture, political ideals, and policies.
Hard power remains crucial in a world of states trying to guard their independence and of non-state groups willing to turn to violence. It forms the core of the Bush administration's new national security strategy. But according to Nye, the neo-conservatives who advise the president are making a major miscalculation: They focus too heavily on using America's military power to force other nations to do our will, and they pay too little heed to our soft power. It is soft power that will help prevent terrorists from recruiting supporters from among the moderate majority. And it is soft power that will help us deal with critical global issues that require multilateral cooperation among states. That is why it is so essential that America better understands and applies our soft power. This book is our guide.
is ephemeral and thus not to be taken seriously. Of course, one must be careful not to read too much into opinion polls. They are an essential but imperfect measure of soft-power resources because answers vary depending on the way that questions are formulated, and unless the same questions are asked consistently over some period, they represent snapshots rather than a continuous picture. Opinions can change, and such volatility cannot be captured by anyone poll. Moreover, political leaders must
develop the sophisticated economic and trading apparatus needed to derive benefit from commercial exchange with it."32 But it is difficult to imagine a scenario today in which, for example, Japan would try to or succeed in using military force to colonize its neighbors. As two RAND analysts argue, "In the information age, 'cooperative' advantages will become increasingly important. Moreover, societies that improve their abilities to cooperate with friends and allies may also gain competitive
audience. When President Bush used the term "axis of evil" to refer to Iraq, Iran, and North Korea in his 2002 State of the Union address, it was well received domestically, but foreigners reacted against his lumping together disparate diplomatic situations under a moralistic label. Similarly, while declaring a "war on terrorism" helped mobilize public and congressional support after 911 I, many foreign publics believed that the United States was making cooperation against terrorism more
contest whose outcome is closely tied to a civil war between moderates and extremists within Islamic civilization. The United States and other advanced democracies will win only if moderate Muslims win, and the ability to attract the moderates is critical to victory. We need to adopt policies that appeal to moderates, and to use public diplomacy more effectively to explain our common interests. We need a better strategy for wielding our soft power. We will have to learn better to combine hard and
(New York: Harper & Row, 1964), p. lO8. I!. John McCloy and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., quoted in Mark Haefele, "John F. Kennedy, USIA, and World Public Opinion," Diplomatic History 25, I (\Vinter 2001), p. 66. 12. Ibid., p. 75. See also USIA data in Richard L. Merritt and Donald J. Puchala, Western European Perspectives on InternationalAffairs (New York: FrederickA. Praeger, 1968), pp. 513-38. 13.John P. Vloyantes, Silk Glove Hegemony: Finnish-Soviet Relations, 1944-1974 (Kent, Ohio: Kent State