Contrary to public perceptions, foreign aid represents a tiny fraction of the $4 trillion federal budget. According to the Congressional Research Service, in the past three decades, foreign aid has never accounted for more than 1.4 cents of every dollar spent by Washington. [...] "When you deploy hard power, you actually need more diplomats," says Charles Ries, a vice president at the RAND Corporation who served in diplomatic posts in Iraq and Greece.
Has Putin's use of hard power created a soft power appeal?
“Speak softly and carry a big stick” Theodore Roosevelt famously said in 1901, when the United States was emerging as a great power. It was the right sentiment, perhaps, in an age of imperial rivalry but today many Americans doubt the utility of their global military presence, thinking it outdated, unnecessary or even dangerous.
It has been suggested that Donald Trump will be a president who will focus on "hard power" to underpin his foreign policy goals rather than focusing on "soft power," which was Obama's preference. The United States cannot just use this or that; it needs to use both. Hard or soft, it's about power, period. [...] While taking a strong stance on security and defense, Trump needs deploy American soft power institutionally in his foreign policy.
It’s important not only that policy and media leaders understand the reality of Russian aggression, and the diffuse and often innovative ways the Kremlin has found to exert influence and intimidate opponents, but that American and European constituencies do as well. Our leaders must marshal their resolve and ingenuity to highlight and oppose these tactics in all their forms, and integrate our public affairs, diplomacy, and intelligence efforts accordingly.
China is eagerly trying to win hearts and minds in politically and economically crucial states, especially those with abundant natural resources. [...] It is a major priority for Beijing. The Chinese state is well-equipped with “hard” power, but its global influence is nonetheless stymied by two serious obstacles: on the one hand the language barrier, and on the other the country’s fearsome reputation as a military and geopolitical superpower on the rise.
Negotiations need to be proactive, intensive and include concrete, partial and measureable propositions in two or three months maximum. “Large sets of measures” shouldn’t be negotiated because they will only further root the positions of both parties. Transparency is a necessary condition for drawing concrete agreements which are fulfilled with a public declaration made by both parties about what they agree on and what they are forced to do, and when.