According to Nye (p.52), the 21st century global power keeps on shifting from states all the way to the non-states participants, besides shifting east-west. These power changes can either be transition which is power change among the states and power diffusion which is change from either east or west states to non-state participants. Power has two divisions which are; hard power and soft power.
Hard power is define as the act of changing people’s position towards an individual’s side by using financial coercion, threats or inducements (Bohorquez, “Soft Power”).
Soft power is the ability to influence or move people or events through attraction and persuasion rather than using financial or military means to coerce them (Bohorquez, “Soft Power”).
In this current generation, Nye mentioned that soft power has been misunderstood and neglected by the policy makers who do not know all about it. This soft power has got three main pillars stated by Nye as foreign policy, values and culture. The survey conducted basically discussed each pillar based on the top 30 listed countries in the survey. Soft power has enabled many countries to acquire more technology cheaply as compared to using traditional methods. This is the best strategy in ensuring a country’s aim is achieved without using tangible pay-offs.
Argument for soft power as an apparatus for leading world to new globalization
One of the pillars of soft power is cultural development. In this pillar, nations are struggling to ensure diverse cultural exchange, assimilation of new cultures and transfer of their cultures beyond their state boundaries to other nations. This has helped in positioning these nations to become attractive to the people of other nations worldwide. For example, the private sectors in America are creating Hollywood movies, hip hop music in order to change the way the world perceives them (Bloomfield, p43). In education, the US education has proven to be the best in the whole world because of its world class universities such as Harvard, MIT and Princeton University. The United State’s quality education has therefore, induced many people from other nations to seek visas to study in America. Secondly, the United Kingdom has invested a lot of resources in its football Premier League and it has greatly impacted the whole world and it is almost becoming like a religion (Bloomfield, p44). Through airing of these football matches in the global satellite televisions, more advertisements is being made to the world such as Samsung LG Television ads which has made many nations embrace the new digital technology television. All this has transformed the world into a global village.
Similarly, the use of foreign policy pillar in America has successfully yielded a global impact. For instance, the America has been on the forefront in the foreign aids provisions such as the USAID to overseas nations and this has captured the global attention. In addition, the Obama administration has also displayed its ability in using soft power in the handling of the Civil War in Libya. The State Secretary had emphasized on using “smart power” and thus assuring the global relevance (Bloomfield, p43).
Argument against soft power as an apparatus for leading world to new globalization
On the other hand, soft power has also proven to be an apparatus for destruction of many nations and thus cannot be used to lead other nations to the new globalization. Indeed, this has been proven by the fall of many nations as indicated in the Soft Power Survey. For example, in the United Kingdom, the outbreak of Mad Cow disease in 1990 made the UK to become the “laughing stock” and as a result the beef industry in that country collapsed. This indicates that besides the positive effects, there are also the negative impacts of the soft power on nations (Bloomfield, p52).
Similarly, the nuclear testing that was conducted in the region of South Pacific in 1995 by the French government leads to a lot of global protests due to its environmental impact. This has negatively affected the relationship between France and the other nations (Bloomfield, p52). A nation which has impacted a negative image to the world through media would fall and can never be relied upon to lead others.
Finally, I would also disagree on the fact that soft power is better in this 21st century rather than the hard power in transforming the world into some form of globalization. This is because sometimes military force is preferred over soft especially in countries with military rivals such as those in Iran and Syria (Bohorquez, “Soft Power”). When we look at Russia which is the new entry into this Survey for instance, Putin who is in the administrative power favors brutal regime of hard power and not soft (Bloomfield, p52). This would mean that it is not soft power only which can make the nations to be powerful and influential, but sometimes it is necessary to use some force to coerce them.
The soft power has provided a great deal for many nations that have knowledge about it, have it and knows how to use it. The strategies of the soft power have offered governments a wide range of approaches that are cost-saving. The nations would just need to understand this soft power so as to make them effective in their applications and this would transform them into some new form of globalization.
Bloomfield, Steve. “A Tender is the Might-Global.” AFFAIRS SOFT POWER SURVEY (2011): 41-52. PDF file.
Bohorquez, Tysha. Soft Power- The Means to Success in World Politics. California U, 2012. Web. 8 November 2012.
“Joseph Nye on global power shifts” Talk: Joseph Nye. TED Global, 2010. DVD.