Monday, November 16, 2009

My A-Ha Moment!

Thank goodness for Joseph S. Nye, Jr.!!! I understood soft power and hard power thoroughly. In class, I had an idea of what was being referred to, but now I have a "working knowledge" of the terms. I now know that soft power is more than influences/persuading someone to act favorably. It includes actual enticement and attraction toward the favorable side. Hard power in my understanding deals with more overt measures, so to speak. Is psyops an example of hard power??? Then comes public diplomacy, which is utilized by governments in order to attract other countries' publics. For instance, public diplomacy is used to present a nation's cultural values via various broadcasting resources.

Nye then applied the terms. His applications were very relevant and easy for me to understand as well. Experiencing 9/11, the war on terror, and the backlash that followed via media outlets allowed me to look back and see what Nye meant when he stated that America began to rediscover the importance of soft power and the necessary investments. Once various publics, U.S. included, noticed that the "war on terror" was based upon false knowledge regarding weapons of mass destruction, etc. public opinion shifted against the Bush administration and in some case the U.S. This situation negatively effected President Bush and became a blemish of his presidency.

It is important to address the fact that today's society has almost instantaneous access to international events and the commentary that follows. Therefore, it is imperative that public diplomacy and international government practices change with the times. The PD 2.0 article addresses this idea and shows the significance of social networking sites, especially when it comes to organizing mass amounts of people quickly. On a side note, the author also suggested that PD 2.0 gives the U.S. an advantage over the terrorists. The supporting explanation was interesting because interactivity doesn't fit the extremists, but I was not totally convinced by the notion that the new technology will leave the terrorists behind.

Another point that I found interesting was when Nye stated that "preaching at foreigners is not the best way to convert them." This is interestisng becasue if I were a foreigner, I many times would feel that the U.S. is constantly preaching and trying to "force feed" me an idea. It's funny that Nye used the Bush administration as an example....
Overall, I better understand soft power and hard power. I left this as a comment on someone else blog, but I am serious: Does anyone have an example of "smart power?" :)

1 comment:

  1. I have studied hard and soft power in undergrad until I could discuss the similarities and differences in my sleep. However, I had never read Joseph Nye (which is interesting, considering his background and relevance).
    While I understand smart power, I also yet have never seen a clear example. Perhaps an example of smart power pertains to what is mutually benefical to both parties partaking in the action; related to the theory of realistm in international relations. But are actions ever taken in someone else's self interest, or just our own? Basically, I myself am wondering....when has smart power been used effectively?