Uprisings against tyrants in Africa and the Middle East. Economic immolation in Europe. Nuclear weapons programs in Iran and North Korea. Canada has never looked so good. Canada’s soft power values of peace, order and good government, ... are the envy of the planet. But if we fail to push our national interests, we’ll be in no position to assert these soft power values.
...Hu told the 17th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party that China needed to invest more in its soft power resources. Accordingly, China is spending billions of dollars on a charm offensive. The Chinese style emphasises high-profile gestures, such as rebuilding the Cambodian Parliament or Mozambique's foreign affairs ministry.
Moving forward, we need a far more neutral baseline in assessing power based not on a latent accounting of inputs such as nuclear stockpiles and Hollywood films produced, but on outputs: does it work?...As a student of diplomatic theory, the greatest myth elevated by the notion of ‘soft power’ is its self-identification with diplomacy and their collective antithetical role to ‘hard’ or military power.
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.