hard power

Pentagon officials talk about “demilitarizing” US foreign policy, which one can understand after the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the conventional wisdom now puts too much weight on “soft” power. We should not overestimate how much the world loves us because of our virtues, nor underestimate how much our influence still depends on hard power and our ability to provide protection in a pinch.

January 1, 2012

Turkish politicians exaggerate Turkey's hard and soft power, so much so that they sometimes do not refrain from chiding other states. In theory, a little bit of exaggerating is useful in guiding public attitudes to important issues.

The rise in emerging market (EM) hard power over the past decade has been dramatic. The crucial question that arises then is whether soft power in the emerging world has risen commensurately to its hard power. If it has, then the combination of rising soft and hard power will give many EM countries more global clout.

Mr Nye himself drew a link between soft power and Sun Tzu in a 2008 book, “The Powers to Lead”. Sun Tzu, he said, had concluded that “the highest excellence is never having to fight because the commencement of battle signifies a political failure”. To be a “smart” warrior, said Mr Nye, one had to understand “the soft power of attraction as well as the hard power of coercion”.

University of Indonesia security expert Andi Widjajanto said it would be hard for Yudhoyono to rely only on soft power measures, such as dialogues, norms establishment and confidence-building measures, to reduce tensions without resorting to hard power.

December 6, 2011

America’s stock has depreciated the most in the arena of moral power, which stems from the natural attraction of an entity’s cultural, political and economic prowess that encourages others to voluntarily follow it. As the world discovers America’s gridlocked and money-dominated political system, its ecologically damaging, and crisis-prone economic system, it is fast losing its appeal as the country to emulate.

If the Confucius Institute's activities here are a benign example of China's soft power, some strategic analysts are more pessimistic about its effects more broadly in South-East Asia and beyond. The US Council on Foreign Relations has pointed out that many authoritarian and developing nations are looking to China as a model for a non-democratic path to economic growth.

The power of many can accomplish more than any one can do alone -- and that distinction is different than the traditional classification of hard and soft power