Soft Power Without Hard Power Is No Power Essay Sample

9 September 2017

In the early 1990s. Joseph Nye’s book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature Of American Power ignited a immense treatment among society of the demand to transition from America’s traditional usage of difficult power to something more benign which he termed soft power. Before looking at the two subdivisions of power. we foremost specify power as the ability to make something or act in a certain manner. As Nye had pointed out. states can exert power in two signifiers. soft and difficult power. Soft power. as coined by Nye ( 1990 ) is defined as “the ability to acquire what you want through attractive force instead than through coercion. ” In contrast. difficult power is seen as the usage of military might or economic countenances to hale others into making your will.

Even as soft power additions grip among universe leaders today. many still find the construct vague and difficult to exert. While soft power may be good in certain context. it does non work independently of difficult power and requires the implicit in usage of difficult power to endorse it up. This paper looks at the nature of soft power and its relationship with difficult power.

Soft Power Without Hard Power Is No Power Essay Sample Essay Example

As Nye stated ( 2004a ) . soft power is based on the construct of attractive force. In other words. it’s the power of attractive force. However. this construct is based on the premiss that attractive force equates the ability to influence ( Fan 2007 ) . Often. this is non the instance. While a state may be positively perceived in the eyes others. this seldom translates into the ability to influence. Harmonizing to Monocle magazine’s one-year Soft Power study in 2012. the UK overtook US as the state with the ‘softest’ power. Looking at UK now. we see a worsening world power whose radiance as long faded off. Its presence on the universe phase has frequently been limited. Given its top ranking. this has non translated into a proportionate planetary influence. This can be contrasted with US whose repute have taken a whipping but yet keep much sway in the universe.

A state like Norway may be respected for its civilization and public assistance system ; nevertheless. it has no true influence on the universe phase and has small power when it comes to decision-making. Even Nye. who so fierily espouses the usage of soft power. admits to it that soft power maps to act upon the ‘environment for policy’ and non the policy itself ( 2004a ) . To widen soft power beyond the kingdom of influence is dependent on some signifier of difficult power to impart it credibleness ( Fan 2007 ) . To exert soft power. one must foremost be able have something the other party 1s. be it the formula to economic success or some signifier of military protection ( Cooper 2004 ) . To set it merely. soft power without difficult power is ineffective.

Given how Nye defines the two signifiers of power. it is difficult to see the two as a continuance of the other. One lies in pulling others while the other uses coercion. The two attacks merely seem at uneven with each other. However as Bially Mattern maintains that “soft power should be non be understood in apposition to difficult power but as a continuance of it by different agencies. ” ( 2005. 583 ) . In kernel. she believes that soft power is nil more than the softer face of difficult power. Bially Mattern believes soft power uses something she footings ‘representational force’ ( 2005. 602 ) . Representational force plants by using believable menaces of injury to its victims. which unlike coercion. are directed at their subjectiveness as compared to physically ( Bially Mattern 2005 ) .

This could hold been clearly seen following the 9/11 panic onslaughts as the Bush disposal issued a ‘war on terrorism’ . Underliing the difficult power attack of weeding the universe of terrorist act. it could hold been seen as utilizing soft power to pull others to the US’s cause. Yet. this soft power is simply difficult power in camouflage. Bush Jr publically denounced the Acts of the Apostless of terrorist act and declared the war on it as righteous and claimed ‘you are either with us or against us’ . This statement was structured such that it played on the representational force of attractive force. No in-between land was to be taken. Either you are attracted to the US and by extension its policies on the war on terrorist act or you wholly reject it and tie in yourself with the terrorists. While there were physical reverberations of harbouring terrorists. there were no countenances or penalties to be derived from holding a differing position as that of the US. As Bially Mattern explained. representational force worked by making inharmoniousness within themselves as they are ‘relegated’ to the side of the terrorist ( 2005 ) . Therefore. in an attempt to minimise this mismatch of their belief and ego. states would be ‘forced’ agree with the manner US demands of them. All in all. soft power is nil more than a more benign manner to border difficult power. It simply is a vas for difficult power to work its manner in the diplomatic circles.

In decision. the relationship between soft and difficult power is highly convoluted. Soft power does non be independently of difficult power. As Fan ( 2007 ) mentioned. a state may hold soft power beginnings but the ability to do full usage of it is really much reliant on difficult power or as she puts it ‘hard resources’ . Give how soft power is embedded so much into difficult power. one can see soft power as being nil than a mere extension of difficult power in its benign signifier. Bing able to comprehend the nature and its equivocal relationship with difficult power is important in this new changing age where a country’s reputability and image is transeunt. Knowing how it works and its true signifier would break inform authoritiess how best to entwine them into their country’s national schemes and better calculate the effects of its usage. We will get down to see the rise of soft power that in fact is more brooding of difficult power.


Bially Mattern. Janice. 2005. “Why ‘Soft Power’ Isn’t So Soft: Representational Force and the Sociolinguistic Construction of Attraction in World Politics. ” Millennium. vol. 33. no. 3 ( June ) . pp. 583-612

Fan. Y. ( 2007 ) ‘Soft power: Power of attractive force or confusion? ’ . Topographic point Branding and Public Diplomacy Vol. 4. 2. 147–158. Palgrave Macmillan Ltd Nye. J. S. ( 1990 ) ‘Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power’ . Basic Books. New York. NY. Nye. J. S. ( 2004a ) ‘Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics’ . Public Affairs. New York. NY. pp. 7–8. Nye. J. S. ( 2004b ) ‘The benefit of soft power’ . HBS Working Knowledge. available at hypertext transfer protocol: //hbswk. hemoglobin. edu/archive/4290. hypertext markup language.

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