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Ever since the United States existed, in fact even before the country was formed, force has been used to remove barriers and challenges. America's history records one war after another, after another. Today, the situation does not appear much differently. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld and others who agree with the present state of affairs assert that The United States is strong enough to do as it wishes with or without the world's approval and should simply accept that others will envy and resent it. The world's only superpower does not need permanent allies; the issues should determine the coalitions, not vice-versa (Nye, 2004). With this opinion firmly footed, it is not surprising that Rumsfeld does not agree with the "soft power" hypothesis of Joseph Nye former Assistant Secretary of Defense and Dean of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government that states that America's approach for the 2000s should be "co-opting people rather than coercing them."
In his book Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, Nye describes "soft power" as "the ability to get what you want from the attractiveness of a country's culture, political ideals, and policies." When America's policies are recognized as legitimate by other countries, soft power is enhanced. Historically, he recalls, America has had a great deal of soft power: President Roosevelt's Four Freedoms in Europe after WWII, Radio Free Europe, Chinese students creating a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Tiananmen Square, and, most recently, liberated Afghans in 2001 asking for a copy of the Bill of Rights. Soft Power does not mean, Nye argues, what others have sarcastically noted since he first used the term: the influence of Coca-Cola, Hollywood, blue jeans and money (x-xi).
The dictionary defines power as "the capacity to do things." However, the application of power to get things done can range from "might is right" to Mahatma Ghandi non-violence. Soft power, explains Nye, rests in the ability to shape the preferences of others (5). The strong leader does not coerce, but rather leads by example and support. One person can make another do something by threatening, punishing and restricting and setting unattainable goals. However, a person can instead "appeal to my sense of attraction, love, or duty in our relationship and appeal to our shared values about the justness of contributing to those shared values and purposes," (7) explains Nye.
Nye believes that much of what is occurring in international politics today, where it is continually questioned "whose story wins?" depends on credibility. In a world where everyone is inundated with information, what really matters is not information but attention, and the attention goes to those who are recognized as more credible. This makes the politics of credibility more essential than ever before in global history.
The soft power of a country depends on its culture-the places where it is attractive to others; its political values-how it lives up to them at home and abroad; and its foreign policies-when they are seen as legitimate and having moral authority (11).
The German editor Josef Joffe once attest
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a smart power., Donald Rumsfeld, Nye, Mahatma Ghandi, Josef Joffe, Chirdon, Geir Lundestad,
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Lowy Institute for International Policy, Harvard University,
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America, co-opting people, Europeans, Iraq, France,
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