hard power

Viktor Bondarev and Vladimir Putin, by En.Kremlin.ru

Has Putin's use of hard power created a soft power appeal?

January 11, 2017

“Speak softly and carry a big stick” Theodore Roosevelt famously said in 1901, when the United States was emerging as a great power. It was the right sentiment, perhaps, in an age of imperial rivalry but today many Americans doubt the utility of their global military presence, thinking it outdated, unnecessary or even dangerous.

It has been suggested that Donald Trump will be a president who will focus on "hard power" to underpin his foreign policy goals rather than focusing on "soft power," which was Obama's preference. The United States cannot just use this or that; it needs to use both. Hard or soft, it's about power, period. [...] While taking a strong stance on security and defense, Trump needs deploy American soft power institutionally in his foreign policy.

It’s important not only that policy and media leaders understand the reality of Russian aggression, and the diffuse and often innovative ways the Kremlin has found to exert influence and intimidate opponents, but that American and European constituencies do as well. Our leaders must marshal their resolve and ingenuity to highlight and oppose these tactics in all their forms, and integrate our public affairs, diplomacy, and intelligence efforts accordingly.

China is eagerly trying to win hearts and minds in politically and economically crucial states, especially those with abundant natural resources. [...] It is a major priority for Beijing. The Chinese state is well-equipped with “hard” power, but its global influence is nonetheless stymied by two serious obstacles: on the one hand the language barrier, and on the other the country’s fearsome reputation as a military and geopolitical superpower on the rise.

Negotiations need to be proactive, intensive and include concrete, partial and measureable propositions in two or three months maximum. “Large sets of measures” shouldn’t be negotiated because they will only further root the positions of both parties. Transparency is a necessary condition for drawing concrete agreements which are fulfilled with a public declaration made by both parties about what they agree on and what they are forced to do, and when.

China is eagerly trying to win hearts and minds in politically and economically crucial states, especially those with abundant natural resources. In foreign policy terms, this is a push for what’s widely known as “soft power” – the ability to win other states over to specific goals without the use of force.It is a major priority for Beijing.

There is still time for China to reroute its current trajectory from strengthening its hard power to loosening its soft power nerves. A great number of people wish to learn more and understand the Chinese culture. However, at the same time, they also wish for a China that is welcoming and does not feel victimized by foreign powers, because, the end of the day, all that we ever want is to experience A Bite of China.

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