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Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics

Average Rating 3.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2007

    nauseating, descriptive narrative

    For over a decade and a half, Nye has self-promoted by coining 'soft power' as if this is a novelty, when any one reading Antonio Gramsci's writings in 1920s or 1930s can see Gramsci was a far more complex, superior thinker who, unlike Nye, does not instrumentalize culture, movies, etc., as a functionaly utility for political power. Worse, Nye has changed his mind about the meanings, components, and uses of soft power that by now it is impossible to see what is and what isn't soft power, i.e., an excercise in futility. Kaveh Afrasiabi

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2006

    Where is the critical edge?

    Nye's 'soft power' in a nutshell: smart parents know that getting their child to 'want what they want' is more efficient than wielding sticks or withdrawing weekly allowances. A more 'critical' approach to soft power, often used on the left as Nye notes, could be healthier for us in moderate doses. It gets us to examine the biases, interests, and ethnocentrism conditioning our worldview. How our interests are not always the world's. How only self-serving arrogance could suggest otherwise. Does the US ('born to lead') always want the best for 'her chidren'? Who awarded it special access to that font of wisdom? Parents sometimes want the kids in bed early less out of concern for their welfare, but because an adult movie is about to start. Look elsewhere than Nye if you're searching out a way to negotiate a pluralistic world, one in which none of us has 'the answer'. At the moment we presume ourselves capable of parenting others, we seem most prone to childish vanity.

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