How Can Public Diplomacy Complement “Hard Power” Tactics in International Affairs?

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Hard power is a term used to describe power that is acquired from the use of military and/or economic force to influence the behaviour or interests of other political entities. As the name might imply, this type of political power is often aggressive, and is most effective when imposed by one political body upon another of lesser military and/or economic power. What it boils down to is: Do what we want. If you don't, we will inflict undesirable damage on your person, citizenry, economy, security forces, crops, well water, et cetera. Hard power is mostly placed in the International Relations field of Realism, where military power is seen as the expression of a state’s strength in the international community. While the existence of hard power has a long history, the term arose when Joseph Nye coined 'soft power' as a fresh and different form of power in a State's foreign policy. Nye defined soft power as “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than through coercion.” He also said that soft power “could be developed through relations with allies, economic assistance, and cultural exchanges.” He argued that this would result in “a more favourable public opinion and credibility abroad.” By engaging both forms of power, hard and soft, one is then employing ‘smart power’. Another term defined by Joseph Nye, it was endorsed by Hilary Clinton: “We must use what has been called smart power — the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural — picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy.” Ideas matter, and a country’s ability to promote ideals to citizens of other nations and societies, known as public diplomacy (PD), can work wonders to advance the national interest. By taking a look at case studies, we will examine whether PD can complement hard power tactics and thus we will see if ‘smart power’ is really viable in practice. The U.S strategy of hard power and public diplomacy in the Cold War During the Cold War, the world was divided in two, as the two super-powers attempted to gain support from neutral parties while offsetting the actions of their opponent. The United States and Russia were more or less equally matched in military and political strength and this resulted in a stalemate. With hard power abilities alone proving ineffective at turning the tide in any direction it meant that another means of demonstrating global dominance would be required. The basic strategy of the US during the Cold War was containment using military, economic, and diplomatic strategies to stop the spread of Communism, boost America’s security and influence abroad, and avert a "domino effect". The concept of containment was proposed by diplomat George Kennan in the notorious Long Telegram . Kennan argued that the only way to defeat the spread of Communism was to suffocate it. Containment had two major policies associated with it, the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan and was a reaction to a string of moves by the Soviet Union to expand Communist influence in Eastern Europe, China, and Korea. It represented a middle-ground position between appeasement and rollback. The Truman Doctrine was a robust plan that that pledged military support to the nations struggling against communist pressures. It was announced By President Truman in his 1947 address to congress after the United Kingdom informed the United States that it no longer had the capabilities to aid Greece and Turkey in their struggle against Soviet tensions. In the address he declared that the United States would “support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” The Truman Doctrine displayed the U.S objective to respond to any further expansion with military force—the hard power element of containment. The Truman Doctrine was the justification for considerable...
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