Soft and hard power….I know it sounds like some sort of add for miracle mattress….well Hell not this time…..soft power is a technique for handling world affairs…..a technique that is being lost especially with a Trump presidency……
The evidence is clear. Donald Trump’s presidency has eroded America’s soft power. Only 30% of people recently polled by Gallup in 134 countries held a favourable view of the United States under Trump’s leadership, a drop of almost 20 points since Barack Obama’s presidency. The Pew Research Center found that China, with 30% approval ratings, had reached near-parity with the US. And a British index, The Soft Power 30, showed America slipping from first place in 2016 to third place last year.
Trump’s defenders reply that soft power does not matter. Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, proclaimed a ‘hard power budget’ as he slashed funds for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development by 30%. For promoters of ‘America First’, what the rest of the world thinks ranks second. Are they right?
A country’s soft power comes primarily from three sources: its culture (when it is attractive to others), its political values such as democracy and human rights (when it lives up to them), and its policies (when they are seen as legitimate because they are framed with some humility and awareness of others’ interests). How a government behaves at home (for example, protecting a free press), in international institutions (consulting others and multilateralism) and in foreign policy (promoting development and human rights) can affect others by the influence of its example. In all of these areas, Trump has reversed attractive American policies.
Would you like to understand what “soft power” means?
“Soft power” is a term used to describe a nation’s use of co-operative programs and monetary aide to persuade other nations to ascribe to its policies. With U.S. State Department budget cuts likely in the wake of the August 2, 2011 debt ceiling deal, many observers expect soft-power programs to suffer.
Hard power makes more profit for the defense industry so it will be more attractive than soft power and will remain so until we find a way to make peace as attractive (profitable) as war…..not any time soon.
Soft power……hard power…..whatever….the US needs to get back to basics…….
An especially pernicious idea regarding U.S. foreign policy was Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s assertion that the United States was the world’s “indispensable nation.” It would have been bad enough if that statement had been a content-less expression of national narcissism. However, that same arrogant assumption has been the guiding principle of Washington’s foreign policy since the end of World War II—and especially since the end of the Cold War. The belief led to strategic overextension, as the United States embraced security obligations, both explicit and implicit, around the world.
Military force is not the best foreign policy…..but since our diplomatic corps is in the crapper….it is all we have at this point in history.
This will be my last post until I can get the whole doctor experience for the day over with……hopefully it will be over soon……..