Mr Nye himself drew a link between soft power and Sun Tzu in a 2008 book, “The Powers to Lead”. Sun Tzu, he said, had concluded that “the highest excellence is never having to fight because the commencement of battle signifies a political failure”. To be a “smart” warrior, said Mr Nye, one had to understand “the soft power of attraction as well as the hard power of coercion”.
According to an interview with American scholar Joseph Nye in the British magazine Monocle, nations can adopt more “soft power” measures, which can be used as a type of subtle cultural (and ultimately political) pressure to obtain goals without violence or military-driven exertions.
Diplomacy needs to be backed by strength, but the US has plenty without militarizing Asia and the Pacific more than it already has. The peaceful resolution of these conflicts depends upon China having a role in the decision-making process, but this will require the US to step back and forego its desire for primacy in the region. And it will require the same of China.
The power of many can accomplish more than any one can do alone -- and that distinction is different than the traditional classification of hard and soft power
In the past 30 years, China has created an economic machine that has lifted more people out of poverty in a short space of time than any nation in history. It has built world-class factories, vast modern cities and a continental highway system. Now it wants to build something less tangible: soft power.
My answer is best summarized in the words of Joseph Nye... "Even the best advertising cannot sell an unpopular product. Policies that appear as narrowly self-serving or arrogantly presented are likely to prohibit rather than produce soft power."
Sanctions are a hard form of economic power that Joseph Nye discusses in chapter three of his new book, The Future of Power, and a topic that is discussed widely today in relation to Syria. Many policy makers are pondering whether sanctions will be useful in convincing President al-Assad to stop killing his people.
Joseph Nye observes: ''A key lesson of 9/11 is that hard military power is essential in countering terrorism by the likes of bin Laden, but that the soft power of ideas and legitimacy is essential for winning the hearts and minds of the mainstream Muslim populations from whom al-Qaeda would like to recruit - a 'smart power' strategy does not ignore the tools of soft power.''