hard power

The U.S. should send a lower ranking diplomat, such as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell. His presence would much more accurately reflect the present U.S. commitment to the region; sending the right signal to regional partners.

There are yet others who consider "soft power" a transparent effort to mask U.S. efforts to run the affairs of the world, whether in "hard" or "soft" style. The key value of "soft power" however, was not in its ideological call to anything, nor was it intended to cover up hard intentions or distract with soft-heartedness.

July 14, 2012

India must remain the “land of the better story”. As a society with a free press and a thriving mass media, with a people whose creative energies are daily encouraged to express themselves in a variety of appealing ways, India has an extraordinary ability to tell stories that are more persuasive and attractive than those of its rivals.

Many Americans think that the United States' primary role in the world is the projection of military might. And while the "hard power" represented by drone strikes and aircraft carriers is essential to our security, living and portraying our values is as - if not more - important in the long run.

In his book, “A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia,” Aaron L. Friedberg says American diplomats are far too concerned with getting along with this Asian economic juggernaut at the expense of U.S. security interests.

Strategists say that India has the required hard power in regional power dynamics, and soft power is in abundance. What we need to see really is whether we have smart power, an oft-used term nowadays, which is an amalgamation of the two. It also means being smart enough to integrate the military as an important intellectual cog in the decision making apparatus of India's foreign policy.

This creates a tension between immediate, sometimes kinetic responses to security challenges that the military typically delivers and “soft-power” solutions that take a longer-term view toward resolving the underlying political, economic and social development causes, the ambassador noted.

It’s true that grand strategy encompasses military, political and economic strategic approaches. But it also requires the support of the people, and the war weary young people of the United States are looking for a new way of doing things from their political leaders.