Cover image for Soft power : the means to success in world politics
Soft power : the means to success in world politics
Nye, Joseph S.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Public Affairs, [2004]

Physical Description:
xvi, 191 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


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JZ1480 .N94 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Joseph Nye coined the phrase "soft power" to describe a nation's ability to attract and persuade. Whereas hard power - the ability to coerce - grows out of a country's military or economic might, soft power arises from the attractiveness of its culture, political ideals and policies. Hard power remains crucial in a world of states trying to guard their independence and of non-state groups willing to turn to violence. But as a new administration - whether Republican or Democrat - maps out its foreign policy, Nye emphasizes the importance of husbanding our military power and nurturing our soft power. It is soft power that will help prevent terrorists from recruiting supporters from among the moderate majority. And it is soft power that will help the United States deal with critical global issues that require multilateral cooperation.

Author Notes

Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, was Chairman of the National Intelligence Council and an Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

This is an indispensable book for anyone wondering what sort of changes to expect in U.S. foreign policy should the Democrats retake the White House later this year. Nye (The Paradox of American Power, etc.), now dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, was an assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration and is certain to be a key player in a new Democratic administration. In fact, this book could all but guarantee it. Nye's careful analysis of the shortcomings of unilateralism and reliance solely on military power in confronting the threat posed by Islamic extremists is strong, all the more so because it is virtually devoid of partisanship. He gives credit to President Bush and his neoconservative advisers in their projection of "hard" military and economic power. But he shows how what he casts as their blindness to the significance of "soft" power seriously undermines hard power. Soft power-"the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion"-is cultivated through relations with allies, economic assistance and cultural exchanges with other countries, projecting a sense that U.S. behavior corresponds with rhetorical support for democracy and human rights and, more generally, maintaining favorable public opinion and credibility abroad. The go-it-alone approach, Nye argues, has led to an unprecedented drop in support for the U.S. abroad, which leaves us scrambling to rebuild Iraq almost singlehandedly, overstretching ourselves militarily and economically. It also hampers efforts to secure the voluntary cooperation of foreign governments essential to dismantling terrorist cells spread throughout the globe. The answer, Nye says, lies in a return to the mix of soft and hard power that cemented the Western alliance and won the Cold War. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. IX
Acknowledgmentsp. XV
Chapter 1 The Changing Nature of Powerp. 1
Chapter 2 Sources of American Soft Powerp. 33
Chapter 3 Others' Soft Powerp. 73
Chapter 4 Wielding Soft Powerp. 99
Chapter 5 Soft Power and American Foreign Policyp. 127
Notesp. 149
Indexp. 175