Foreign Podicy podcast

Who Needs Soft Power?

15 Sekunden vorwärts
15 Sekunden vorwärts

American political scientist Joseph Nye popularized the concept of soft power decades ago. As he wrote in his 2004 book by that name, “soft power – getting others to want the outcomes that you want – co-opts people rather than coerces them.” Such soft power cooption can be less costly than hard power coercion.

But we see daily reminders that soft power is insufficient and hard power often remains decisive, at least initially.

Putin’s unprovoked large-scale invasion of Ukraine;
Beijing’s saber rattling in the Taiwan Strait; and
Tehran’s continued employment of terrorist proxies and steps toward a nuclear weapon capability.

...These remind us that soft power has its limits.

But it would be a mistake to dismiss the role of soft power. It’s a necessary but not sufficient complement to hard power that can help the U.S. secure its interests.

America needs both hard and softer power tools and needs to employ and integrate them more effectively. That’s one of the big ideas animating FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power (CMPP).

What are the tools of soft power? How do they relate to hard power?
How is China using soft power tools against the United States and its allies?
How can we wield our soft power tools such as international development more effectively?

To discuss these topics and more, Bradley Bowman — senior director of FDD’s CMPP, filling in for Cliff May as host — is joined by Daniel Runde and Elaine Dezenski.

Daniel Runde
Dan is a senior vice president and director of the Project on Prosperity and Development (PPD) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he holds the William A. Schreyer Chair in Global Analysis. Dan has held leadership roles at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank Group and has significant experience in the private sector.He has written a new book: The American Imperative, Reclaiming Global Leadership Through Soft Power.

Elaine Dezenski
Elaine is senior director of FDD’s Center on Economic and Financial Power. Elaine has more than two decades of leadership in public, private, and international organizations and is a recognized expert on geopolitical risk, supply chain security, anti-corruption, and national security.

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