Smart Power - Poem by gershon hepner
The word and rod are both a part
of power, soft but also hard,
together they are very smart,
each one the other’s guard.
Without the word you can’t inspire
confidence and mutual trust,
but rod must be its pacifier,
or word will quickly gather dust.
Be smart and let them both combine,
the smartness of the word and rod,
and cautious people won’t consign
the combination to their God.
Joseph S. Nye, the Harvard University, political scientist wrote in Foreign Affairs on July 1,2007:
The willingness of other countries to cooperate in dealing with transnational issues such as terrorism depends in part on their own self-interest, but also on the attractiveness of American positions. Soft power lies in the ability to attract and persuade rather than coerce. It means that others want what the United States wants, and there is less need to use carrots and sticks. Hard power, the ability to coerce, grows out of a country's military and economic might. Soft power arises from the attractiveness of a country's culture, political ideals, and policies. When U.S. policies appear legitimate in the eyes of others, American soft power is enhanced. Hard power will always remain crucial in a world of nation-states guarding their independence, but soft power will become increasingly important in dealing with the transnational issues that require multilateral cooperation for their solution.
One of Rumsfeld's 'rules' is that 'weakness is provocative.' In this, he is correct. As Osama bin Laden observed, it is best to bet on the strong horse. The effective demonstration of military power in the second Gulf War, as in the first, might have a deterrent as well as a transformative effect in the Middle East. But the first Gulf War, which led to the Oslo peace process, was widely regarded as legitimate, whereas the legitimacy of the more recent war was contested. Unable to balance American military power, France, Germany, Russia, and China created a coalition to balance American soft power by depriving the United States of the legitimacy that might have been bestowed by a second UN resolution. Although such balancing did not avert the war in Iraq, it did significantly raise its price. When Turkish parliamentarians regarded U.S. policy as illegitimate, they refused Pentagon requests to allow the Fourth Infantry Division to enter Iraq from the north. Inadequate attention to soft power was detrimental to the hard power the United States could bring to bear in the early days of the war. Hard and soft power may sometimes conflict, but they can also reinforce each other. And when the Jacksonians mistake soft power for weakness, they do so at their own risk.
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