PO 101- Final Essay

PO 101- Final Essay - Lo 1 Allison Lo Professor El Sherif...

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Lo Allison Lo Professor El Sherif PO 101 August 3, 2007 Book Review on Joseph S. Nye’s Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics Introduction With over 1.4 million people employed in the army, navy, air force, marine corps and coast guard, the United States is undeniably the world power when it comes to sheer physical strength. Not only does the United States have a large fighting force, but a large economy as well and an even larger population to support that economy. Because of its strength in mass numbers, economic might and military power, the United States often uses its physical power (hard power) to its advantage. For example, the United States sometimes uses its arsenal of hard power to daunt other nations into submission and compliance. While the United States may have acted in the interest of its own people, its actions are often interpreted differently and negatively by international media outlets and foreign nations. As a result, the United States’ use (or abuse as some see it) is often translated negatively across the oceans by media and technology. This negativity can shatter and destroy a nation’s image and result in a loss of credibility, trust and reputation. In Soft Power: The Means to Success In World Politics , author Joseph S. Nye argues that we can offset our country’s negative images and actions by using soft power. Soft power can achieve what hard power cannot and even promote goodwill and trust 1
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Lo between nations at the same time. Thus Nye stresses that people need to pay more attention and importance to soft power. He also stresses that in order to become successful in world politics, the United States government needs to start recognizing the benefits of soft power and needs to incorporate the use of soft power into politics and foreign policies. What is Soft Power? Soft power is a term coined by Nye. Specifically, soft power is the ability to get others to cooperate and want the same outcomes as you want. Nye describes soft power as the concept of making people want to help you and cooperate with you without the use of force or bribery. This power rests on being able to mold the preferences of other people through seduction and attraction. Basically, Nye states that “[if you persuade someone] to go along with your purposes without any explicit threat or exchange taking place – [and] if [that person’s] behavior is determined by an observable but intangible attraction – [then] soft power is at work” (Nye 7). In politics, soft power works to the advantage of a country especially if that “country can shape international rules that are consistent with its interests and values, [for] its actions will more likely appear legitimate in the eyes of others. [Also], if its uses institutions and follows rules that encourage other countries to channel or limit their activities in ways it prefers, it will not need as many costly carrots (inducements) and sticks (threats)” (Nye 11). Effective use of soft power can also provide a nation with
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PO 101- Final Essay - Lo 1 Allison Lo Professor El Sherif...

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