hard power

The world’s top oil exporter is abandoning its traditional preference for soft-power diplomacy, a shift that gathered pace after the Arab Spring. Analysts see vulnerability behind the show of strength: Saudis are concerned that the U.S., their historic protector, has different priorities now, as it negotiates with Iran and talks about pivoting to Asia.

The former Secretary of State, and likely 2016 presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton has, along with the Obama administration, pushed the concept of ‘smart power’ – a convergence of hawkish ‘hard’ and a more internationalist ‘soft’ power in U.S. international relations. (...) A departure from the pre-2008 policies of George W. Bush, this move to ‘smart power’ is actually a rebranding of previous tactics which co-opts ‘soft power’ ideas of engagement to work alongside a still strong national security state. 

Ever since the fall of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in September 2014 in the hands of the Houthis, Yemen has been fighting a regional conflict while its political situation has reached a deadlock; the head of state and the prime minister resigned Jan. 22 amid complete failure to reach a domestic settlement as the Houthis continue to expand militarily.

In updating its security strategy, the EU should avoid setting itself unrealistic ambitions. Restoring Europe’s soft power means, first and foremost, putting Europe’s own political and economic house in order.

This is a means to unify military and humanitarian assistance to the rebels, in order to maximize the soft power of the United States on the Syrian opposition.

To trust Iran is a gamble. But ... it is a risk worth taking — as long as that country’s assertions of good faith are balanced by serious and verifiable restrictions on its behavior ... and backed by a robust regime of monitoring and inspections.

Since becoming president, Barack Obama has emphasized soft power, suggesting that an over-reliance on military force has alienated many of the United States’ friends and allies without achieving much in return. But many Republicans, and even some Democrats, accuse him of overcorrecting (...). For all their finger-pointing, both parties have, in reality, come to embrace an intermediary approach—what can best be called “energy power.”

Obviously, Putin fears European soft power, since it is a force to which he has no response.  Russia’s lack of attraction is one of its most serious weak spots. Its leverage rests on its state-controlled extracting industries and its military.