Public Affairs
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Soft Power
The Means To Success In World Politics


Joseph Nye coined the term "soft power" in the late 1980s. It is now used frequently—and often incorrectly—by political leaders, editorial writers, and academics around the world. So what is soft power? Soft power lies in the 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 a country's 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. It forms the core of the Bush administration's new national security strategy. But according to Nye, the neo-conservatives who advise the president are making a major miscalculation: They focus too heavily on using America's military power to force other nations to do our will, and they pay too little heed to 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 us deal with critical global issues that require multilateral cooperation among states. That is why it is so essential that America better understands and applies our soft power. This book is our guide.

about Jr. Nye Joseph S.

  • Joseph S. Nye, Jr. is University Distinguished Professor and former Dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He has served as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, chair of the National Intelligence Council, and a deputy under secretary of state. The author of many books, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the British Academy, and the American Academy of Diplomacy.

other editions

  • eBook | ISBN 9780786738960
    Pub date: 04/28/2009 | Price: $9.99 / 12.99 Canada
    Publisher: PublicAffairs
    208 Pages
    POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
    POLITICAL SCIENCE / Globalization
  • Paperback | ISBN 9781586483067
    Pub date: 04/27/2005 | Price: $15.99 / 18.50 Canada
    Publisher: PublicAffairs
    5.375 x 8.250 | 208 Pages
    POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
    POLITICAL SCIENCE / Globalization