What is soft power and why has it become more important in recent years? 15 marks

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What is soft power and why has it become more important in recent years? 15 marks
Soft power is power as attraction rather than coercion, the ability to influence others by persuading
them to follow or agree to norms and aspirations as opposed to using threats or rewards. This has,
for instance, stimulated a debate about whether military power is now redundant in global politics,
especially when it is not matched by `hearts and minds' strategies. An example of soft power is the
London 2012 Olympics. This is a soft power because other states have been cooperating with each
other to make sure that they are receiving a good service. Also, by cooperating with each other they
will gain respect for one another. The perspectives of soft power are liberalists and feminists
theories. The feminist theory supports the soft power by arguing that soft power advocated qualities
of women such as nurturing, cooperation and sharing. This is a more effective way of creating power
rather than masculine qualities such as coercion and force. Soft power contrasts with hard power
which is a term describing political power obtained from the use of military and economic coercion
to influence the behaviour or interests of other political bodies. An example of hard power is the
Syria civil war which took place in 2011. This is an example of hard power because Syria is using
threats, force and military resources to fight with other countries in order for them to be safe. By
using hard power Syria will be protected as they will have all the security as possible to keep them
safe. The perspective of hard power is that realist theorists place a particular emphasis on military
power because, in their view, the international system is structured above all by security and survival.
In a selfhelp world, states face national disaster unless they have the capacity for selfdefence.
However, this image of military based power politics has been challenged by neoliberals who argue
that growing trade links and increasing interdependence makes interstate more costly and so less
Although there is debate about the relative significance of soft and hard power, it is often argued that
soft power has generally become more important recently. The growth of interdependence and
interconnectedness means that people see more, hear more and know more about what happens
around the globe. Interdependence encourages states to achieve goals by working together and soft
power is effective in facilitating cooperation. Soft power is most often associated with the rise of
globalisation and the establishment of complex interdependence. During the cold war, the
approximate, if dynamic military equality between the USA and the Soviet Union inclined both of
them towards a strategy of deterrence. Once the mutually assured destruction (MAD) was
achieved, the two superpowers effectively cancelled each other, though through a `balance of
Another argument where soft power has become more important in recent years is the shift through
hard power to soft power. Joseph Nye has been particularly associated with the idea of soft power,
the ability to attract and persuade, it is a term that he coined, and later with the notion of smart
power, a balance of soft and hard power. This shift has come about due to interconnectedness, this
is because states need each other for them to support and be there for one another. As well as,
transnational powers has affected climate change. Countries will need to cooperate with each other
in order for them to be more powerful and they will need to use each other's ideas in order for them
to tackle this problem. Also, terrorism has affected European countries so the countries will need to

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But at the end there
will be still wars in the world and it will still remain.
The limits of hard power are evident in the war on terror, in which an emphasis on military force and
unilateralism weakened the USA's soft power in terms of its ability to build a wider coalition of
support within and beyond the Muslim world.…read more


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