Zhou Enlai was foreign minister of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 until 1958 and its first premier. He defined diplomacy as a continuation of warfare by other means. In the contemporary world, that definition includes an understanding of the concepts of hard and soft power. Joseph Nye developed the idea of soft power as the ability to attract and persuade rather than applying economic, military and political hard power.
President Donald Trump's decision to remove the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement is yet another manifestation of how he continues to see U.S. interests as narrowly economic. Had the president a more expansive view of both the nation's interests and influence, he would have kept the U.S. in the accord. Instead, he not only harmed global efforts to address a pressing problem, but also deprived the U.S. of an important source of so-called soft power. In a world in which military might is increasingly difficult and costly to use, America will suffer from this loss.
On the evolving concept of "soft power" and key challenges facing U.S. public diplomacy.
Doing nothing when war crimes are committed is immoral. It is also bad policy. But a response to war crimes such as those perpetrated by the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad must be more than a display of righteousness; it must become an element of a broader foreign policy initiative. This is the challenge facing the Trump administration after the missile strike launched by the United States
Could the missile strikes on Syria enhance U.S. soft power? Philip Seib considers the possibility at the CPD Blog.
One would not expect the secretary of defense routinely to inspect the sentries and walk point on patrols, but, in effect, that is what the secretary of state has to do. He is the chief executive of a department numbering in the tens of thousands, and a budget in the tens of billions; but he is also the country’s chief diplomat, charged with conducting negotiations and doing much of the detailed work of American foreign policy.
Contrary to public perceptions, foreign aid represents a tiny fraction of the $4 trillion federal budget. According to the Congressional Research Service, in the past three decades, foreign aid has never accounted for more than 1.4 cents of every dollar spent by Washington. [...] "When you deploy hard power, you actually need more diplomats," says Charles Ries, a vice president at the RAND Corporation who served in diplomatic posts in Iraq and Greece.
Has Putin's use of hard power created a soft power appeal?