Power in world politics is about the ability to influence results and quite often this means changing the attitude and behaviour of other states. Soft power is defined as the use of persuasion through appeal and attraction rather than through coercive techniques…
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Hard power, which is characterized as coercive in nature, is usually measured by virtue of a state’s military strength.3 Hard power was once the only matrix by which a state’s power was measured. Nowadays, changes particularly with interdependence among the global community, information technologies and the rise of non-state and non-military actors such as corporations and non-governmental organizations have given expression to a more significant source of power: soft power.4 This research study analyzes the rise of soft power today and discusses why so much is expected of soft power these days. This paper is therefore divided into two main parts. The first part of this paper analyzes the theory of soft power and the second part of this paper, analyzes the rise of soft power and identifies why so much is expected of soft power these days. The Theory of Soft Power Joseph Nye, a diplomat and scholar of the 1980s, introduced the theory of soft power.5 Nye (2003) described soft power as: ..the ability to get what you want by attracting and persuading others to adopt your goals. It differs from hard power, the ability to use the carrots and sticks of economic and military might to make other follow your will.6 Soft power is more about using “credible claims” and less about “propaganda”.7 Nye explains how credible claims amount to soft power. It comes from the state’s cultural, political and policies’ appeal. When a state’s policies are viewed as “legitimate” the state’s soft power is exemplified.8 Although the US has used and continues to use the military in its war against terrorism, it has also used and continues to use soft power.9 Soft power in the US counterterrorism strategies include enhanced collection and sharing of intelligence, cooperation with other states and methods for cutting off financing for terrorists activities. The US has also described its war against international terrorism as a war that uses the US’s influence, working together with its allies in an attempt to perpetuate the idea that terrorism is unlawful and is the kind of conduct that no legitimate state would tolerate or aid.10 The US has also pledge to lend assistance and support to “moderate and modern government” particularly in Muslim states as a means of ensuring that “the conditions and ideologies that promote terrorism do not find fertile ground in any nation.”11 The US’s counterterrorism strategy also involves reducing or removing the root causes of terrorism by influencing other states to target those areas vulnerable to terrorists’ influences. The US’s specifically states its intention to use soft power in the war against terrorism by stating that it intends to use: Effective public diplomacy to promote the free flow of information and ideas to kindly the hopes and aspirations of freedom of those in societies ruled by the sponsors of global terrorism.12 Thus the US counterterrorism policies are not geared toward forcing change and cooperation. The US Counterterrorism policies are aimed at influencing and persuading a change in behaviour and thinking as a means of helping the US achieve its goal of eradicating the threat of terrorism. Aside from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US counterterrorism strategies can be distinguished from hard power as it is not coercive in nature. Hard power would have been demonstrated by the conscious use of economic and military power as a means of influencing the decisions and options of the enemy. Hard power is distinguished from soft power in significant ways. Hard power contemplates coercive techniques that can either be actual or symbolic. Soft power fosters agreement via policies and other forms of conduct that make
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“Why Is so Much Expected of Soft Power These Days Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/history/1393672-why-is-so-much-expected-of-soft-power-these-days.
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