Soft Power: The Means To Success In World Politics

PublicAffairs, 16 mars 2004 - 191 pages
Joseph Nye coined the term "soft power" in the late 1980s. It is now used frequently--and often incorrectly--by 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 power--the ability to coerce--grows 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. Anti-Americanism has increased dramatically over the past few years. Polls show a sharp drop in the attractiveness of the United States around the world. We have lost a lot of our soft power the ability to get what we want by attracting rather than coercing others. I first developed the concept of soft power fifteen years ago to argue that the United States was not only the strongest country in military and economic power, but also in a thirddimension of power. It is nice to see the concept being used by top political leaders and editorial writers around the world, but some have misunderstood it. misused it, and trivialized it as merely the influence of Coca-Cola, blue jeans, and money. Even more frustrating, some policy makers have ignored it and made us all pay the price by unnecessarily squandering our soft power. And that is why I have written this book--to explain the importance of soft power, outline a strategy for its use, and urge that we begin to take it more seriously. The United States used its soft power to win the Cold War. We can do it again to help in the war on terrorism.

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Soft Power and American Foreign Policy
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