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Architect of Soft-Power theory opines on 'Talking Foreign Affairs'
The two discuss Professor Nye's new book, "Do Morals Matter: Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump", and aspects of soft power relevant to today's world. In his opening statement, Professor Nye remarks, "If you take the cynical view that morals don't matter, you're gonna get history wrong". He further adds that for all the US Presidents that he's discussed in his book as well as their foreign policy, morals make a huge difference.
On China, he believes it has an ethical problem with soft power and that they don't realise its importance. "If your hard power – economic and military – is increasingly growing, you're gonna scare your neighbours and they will form coalitions against you." He explains how developing soft power of attraction at the same time as hard power can make a nation-state appear less threatening. In relation to China, Professor Nye adds, "It is very hard to develop soft power in areas where you're claiming somebody else's territory." He further explains the significance of civil society in developing soft power.
Professor Nye also opens up on theoretical aspects of the discipline and how they apply to contemporary world problems. He concludes by stating the importance of soft and hard powers reinforcing each other, rather than one replacing the other.
"It's a mistake to think that soft-power will replace hard power."
Prof. Joseph Nye
Prof. Joseph Nye is a University Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus, and former Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He famously pioneered the theory of soft power and explained the distinction between it and hard power. In a recent survey of international relations scholars, he was ranked as the most influential scholar on American foreign policy.
Talking Foreign Affairs has interviewed several World Leaders, from a UN Secretary-General to Heads of State, from Nobel Laureates to those who have led mission-critical organisations like the WTO, World Bank, and NASA.
Adil Cader specialises in Global Diplomacy and Australian Foreign Policy . He is the Perth-based Founder and Host of 'Talking Foreign Affairs'.