In The Future of Power by Joseph S. Nye he
states that “There is no contradiction between realism and soft power. Soft
power is not a form of idealism or liberalism. It is simply a form of power,
one way of getting desired outcomes.” 1 With
soft power, the best way to use this power would be to attract or persuade
other states by changing their preferences, and sometimes their cultural
values. Nye also defines soft power, “as the ability to get others to want what
However, Nye elaborates that soft power has, “the ability to attract, and
attraction often leads to acquiescence.”3
The word acquiescence means to accept, comply, or
submit tacitly or passively. Therefore, “accept” can be included in the
definition. However, the problem with the word “accept” in the sense that nothing
can be done to change an unpleasant fact and so the state(s) must accept it or
they will have to accept the said fact reluctantly. Thus, the statement soft
power has the capability to get other state(s) to want, or accept, what the
initial state wants can be a beneficial explanation of soft power.
also states that, “soft power is a descriptive, rather than a normative,
concept. Like any form of power, it can be wielded for good or bad purposes.”4 Soft
power in relations to it being defined as “accepting what the other state wants
them to accept” could be explained with the reign of authoritarian leaders, like
Hitler. “The 1930s, for example, witnessed intensive cultural
exchanges between fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Although these efforts were
shaped by the ideology of their respective regimes, they also built on
pre-fascist traditions of cultural diplomacy.”5 Along
with Hitler’s hostile and his imperialist foreign policies, Mussolini of Italy
and other totalitarian state(s) like Stalin of USSR not only used culture, but also
science and arts to achieve their diplomatic goals.
Joseph S. Nye The Future of Power (New York:
PublicAffairs), 2011 p. 82.
2 Vuving, A.L. (2009). How Soft Power Works. “Paper
presented at the panel “Soft Power and Smart Power,” American Political Science
Association annual meeting, Toronto, September 3, 2009,” p. 5-6.
3 Joseph S. Nye, The Paradox of
American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go It Alone (New York:
Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 9.
4 Nye, The Future of Power, 81.
5 David Brydan Postdoctoral
Researcher, Birkbeck University of London. “Hard right, soft power: fascist
regimes and the battle for hearts and minds.” The Conversation. September 29,
2016, Accessed January 30, 2018