Monday, July 14, 2014

Joseph Nye and soft power

Joseph S. Nye wrote in 2008:  “ . . as I have said before, it is difficult to think of any single act that would do more to restore America’s soft power than the election of Obama to the presidency.”  Soft power, Nye said, was the ability to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction rather than using the carrots and sticks of payment or coercion.  It’s difficult to think of any assessment of Obama that was more silly or misguided. Nye was commenting on the adulation and swooning of Europeans (they are good at that as history shows), not the desire for high priced reparations and absolution that American voters sought by electing a black man. Obama has messed up in so many foreign policies areas—Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Russia, Pakistan, etc. one doesn’t even need to go into the NSA, IRS, Fast and Furious, and his own “leave no Central American child behind.”

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