Future Of Soft Power: Confusion, Limitations and Hardening

Article

Soft power has become an increasingly important part of effective foreign policy strategies as the 21. Century is distinguished by transnational interactions and dispersion of power at local, national and international levels. The rise of networks...

Abstract

Soft power has become an increasingly important part of effective foreign policy strategies as the 21. Century is distinguished by transnational interactions and dispersion of power at local, national and international levels. The rise of networks, increased interconnectedness and ongoing digital revolution are main driving forces in global affairs.In this paper, firstly power is discussed in order to reveal its indispensable link to some elements of soft power. Then soft power concept and its further elaborations will be examined. In the final chapter, criticism on soft power and its limitations are studied with argument that while significance of soft power has dramatically increased over a quarter century after its first inception, confusion on its definitions and employment still continues, and it is becoming harder in every aspect.

Key Words: Power, soft power, foreign policy, digital revolution, networks


Introduction

Traditionally, power in global politicsis understood in the context of military and economic strengths. It is generally accepted that hard power is the employment of influence through intimidation, committing toinstruments and strategies such asarmed intervention, forceful diplomacyand economic and financialenforcements. Soft version of power, however, isdefinedas the faculty to have influence upon others to attaindesiredconsequences by the co-optiveinstruments of shaping the agenda, conviction and attraction.In simple terms, “hard power is push; soft power is pull“.1Though Joseph Nye first invented the term “soft power“, it is actually not a new instrument in politics.Theexamples of it go back centuries and span cultures. Historically, as long as technology, economy, society, culture and international system have evolved; the content and significance of power has dramatically changed.

Soft power has become an increasingly important part of effective foreign policy strategies as the 21. Century is distinguished by transnational interactions and dispersion of power at local, national and international levels. The rise of networks, increased interconnectedness and ongoing digital revolution are main driving forces in global affairs. In addition, the rapid diffusion of power between states, the erosion of traditional power hierarchies like nationsstates, power shift from West to East and the mass urbanization of the world’s population are increasingly affecting global politics.

In this paper, firstly power is discussed in order to reveal its indispensablelink to some elements of soft power. Then the concept of soft power and its further elaborations are examined. In the final chapter, criticism on soft power and its limitations are studied with argument that while significant soft power has dramatically increased over a quarter century after its first inception, confusion on its definitions and employment still continues, and it is becoming harder in every aspect.


Concept of Power

Power is traditionally considered as a mainly realist concept.2 “At its simplest form, power in interstate relations may be defined as a state’s ability to control, or at least influence, other states or the outcome of events“.3 According to Morgenthau, “political power is a psychological relation between those who exercise it and those over whom it is exercised“.4 Its impact comes from “the expectation of its benefits, the fear of its disadvantages, the respect or love for men or institutions“.5Morgenthau further elaborates power and make four distinctions of it;“between power and influence, between power and force, between usable and unusable power, between legitimate and illegitimate power“.6

Power is understood to “be the sum of military, economic, technological, diplomatic, and other capabilities at the disposal of the state“.7 Power is also seen not just“as some absolute value determined for each state as if it were in a vacuum but, rather, as capabilities relative to the capabilities of other states“.8Therefore, the power of Turkey is assessedwith regard toits capacity in relation with the capabilities of its rival states such as Iran, Greece, Iraq and others.

Another distinction is often made between static and dynamics factors comprising power as Morgenthau identifies two groups of elements of power: “stable factors and thosewhich are subject to constant change“.9 Morgenthau lists them “from most stable to less stable: geography, natural resources such as food, raw materials and industrial capacity, military preparedness including technology, leadership and quality and quantity of armed forces, population, national character, national morale, the quality of diplomacy, and the quality of government“.10 The salient point here is that some of attributes listed by Morgenthau as elements of power islater named by Nye and his followers as soft power. This will be discussed in detail in the following chapters.

Whether treating capabilities of a state is in isolation or relative to the capabilities of other states definitions above aretermed as a materialist and static view.11 An alternative, dynamic definition of power focuses on the interactions of states. A state’s influence or capacity to influence or coerce is not only determined by its capabilities or relative capabilities but also by (1) its willingness and perceptions by other states of its willingness to use these capabilities and (2) its control or influence over other states. Power can thus be inferred by observing the behavior of states as they interact. The relative power of states is most clearly revealed by the outcomes of their interactions.12 In fact, “most scholars focus on power as a mean, strength or capacity that provides the ability to influence the behavior of other actors in accordance with one’s own objectives“.13 “Some governments may seek power for its own sake. But for most, power, like money, is instrumental, to be used primarily for achieving or defending other goals and interests, which could include prestige, territory, or security among others. To achieve these ends, a state can use various techniques of influence, ranging from persuasion or the offering of rewards to threats or the actual use of force“.14 From this standpoint, the use of a state’s power is a relational exercise like Morgenthau’s psychological relation.

It was taken from the book of "Security of the Future" of TASAM Publications.
This content is protected by Copyright under the Trademark Certificate. It may be partially quoted, provided that the source is cited, its link is given and the name and title of the editor/author (if any) is mentioned exactly the same. When these conditions are fulfilled, there is no need for additional permission. However, if the content is to be used entirely, it is absolutely necessary to obtain written permission from TASAM.

Areas

Continents ( 5 Fields )
Action
 Contents ( 452 ) Actiivities ( 216 )
Areas
Africa 0 144
Asia 0 228
Europe 0 38
Latin America & Carribean 0 34
North America 0 8
Regions ( 4 Fields )
Action
 Contents ( 173 ) Actiivities ( 51 )
Areas
Balkans 0 93
Middle East 0 59
Black Sea and Caucasus 0 16
Mediterranean 0 5
Identity Fields ( 2 Fields )
Action
 Contents ( 175 ) Actiivities ( 71 )
Areas
Islamic World 0 146
Turkish World 0 29
Turkey ( 1 Fields )
Action
 Contents ( 210 ) Actiivities ( 54 )
Areas
Turkey 0 210

Dr. Serkan Cantürk’ün “Konvansiyonel Kalkınmadan Dijital Kalkınmaya Türkiye” isimli kitabı TASAM Yayınları tarafından kitap ve e-kitap olarak yayımlandı.;

Üstüne inceleme yapılan devletin, “modern devlet” yani “burjuva devleti” olduğunu hatırlatmak gerekir. Ancak burada, Pierre Clastres’nin1 ilkel (ilksel) toplulukların, siyasal yapılanmalarıyla “devlete karşı” topluluklar oldukları ve ilksel halkların tarihinin devlete karşı mücadeleler tarihi olduğu...;

Klasik diplomasiye ekonomik, sosyal, kültürel ve insani alanlarda açılım imkanı sunan kalkınma işbirliğindeki aktörlerin etkili koordinasyonu için proje, program ve proaktif inovasyon desteği sağlamak üzere kurulan TASAM Kalkınma ve İşbirliği Enstitüsü’nün resmî internet sitesi yenilendi.;

Emekli Albay Dr. Cengiz Topel Mermer’in “Yeni Soğuk Savaşın Sıcak Cephesi Himalayalar’da Çin-Hint Çatışması” isimli yeni kitabı TASAM Yayınları tarafından kitap ve e-kitap olarak yayımlandı.;

SİVİL GLOBAL | Global Sivil Diploması Zirvesi ilk kez 20-22 Nisan 2016 tarihinde İstanbul’da gerçekleştirilmiştir. Kıta bazında Afrika, Asya, Avrupa, Latin Amerika, Kuzey Amerika, Avustralya; bölgesel düzeyde Orta Doğu, Karadeniz - Kafkaslar, Akdeniz ve Balkanlar; uluslararası örgütler bakımından BM...;

Uzun süredir yazmak istediğim ama bunun için daha fazla zaman gerektiğini bilerek ertelediğim bir konuya sadece girizgâh yapacağım. “Sağlık Diplomasisi“ yaklaşık on yıldır üzerine okuduğum, gündemimde tuttuğum ve bu başlıkta çalışanları, ürettiklerini ve gerçekleşen çıktıları takip ettiğim bir alan.;

Balkan coğrafyası, kimi yakın, kimi kadim maziye dair birçok sorunlar silsilesinin yaşam alanıdır. Hep vurguladığımız üzere bu sorunların tamamı da tarihsel argüman ve tecrübe ile ilintili. İyi bir tarih bilgisi ve kurulacak bağlardan yoksun olan bir zihnin salt modern beynelmilel teoriler ile bu so...;

TASAM Başkan Yardımcısı Doç. Dr. Tuğgeneral (E) Fahri ERENEL ve Yüzbaşı (E) Mehmet YÜKSEL’in hazırladıkları, Kore’de, Kıbrıs’ta ve iç güvenlik muharebelerinde savaşmış bazı gazilerimizin anılarını içeren “Gazilerimizden Anılar“ kitabı TASAM Yayınları tarafından yayımlandı. ;

10. Balkan İletişim Ağı Konferansı

  • 28 Sep 2022 - 30 Sep 2022
  • CVK Park Bosphorus Oteli -
  • İstanbul - Türkiye

9. Dünya İslam Forumu

  • 23 Mar 2022 - 25 Mar 2022
  • CVK Park Bosphorus Oteli -
  • İstanbul - Türkiye

"Türkiye - Rusya İlişkileri" Konferansı

  • 22 Jun 2005 - 22 Jun 2005
  • İstanbul - Türkiye

İngiltere’nin II. Dünya Savaşı sonrasında Hint Altkıtası’ndan çekilmek zorunda kalması sonucunda, 1947 yılında, din temelli ayrışma zemininde kurulan Hindistan ve Pakistan, İngiltere’nin bu coğrafyadaki iki asırlık idaresinin bütün mirasını paylaştığı gibi bıraktığı sorunlu alanları da üstlenmek dur...

Gündem 2063, Afrika'yı geleceğin küresel güç merkezine dönüştürecek yol haritası ve eylem planıdır. Kıtanın elli yıllık süreci kapsayan hedeflerine ulaşma niyetinin somut göstergesidir.

Geçmişte büyük imparatorluklar kuran Çin ve Hindistan, 20. asırda boyunduruktan kurtularak bağımsızlıklarına kavuşmuş ve ulus inşa sorunlarını aştıkça geçmişteki altın çağ imgelerinin cazibesine kapılmıştır.

Türkiye ile Avrupa Birliği (AB) ilişkilerinin bugünü ve geleceğinin ele alındığı Avrupa Birliği Sempozyumu, Türk Asya Stratejik Araştırmalar Merkezi (TASAM) ile Türk Avrupa Bilimsel ve Eğitimsel Araştırmalar Vakfı (TAVAK) işbirliğinde 02 Şubat 2018’de İstanbul Taksim Hill Otel’de gerçekleştirildi.

Soğuk savaşın ardından, “yeni dünya düzeni“ olarak adlandırılan dönem, hegomonik bir güç olarak beliren ABD’nin “büyük vaadi“ ile başladı: “Demokrasiyi dünyada yaygınlaştırmak“. Bu “büyük“ vaad, yoksulluk, adaletsizlik ve şiddet dolu bir dünyayı kurmak biçiminde gerçekleşti ve iki “siyasi/askeri“ ar...

1 - İKT Üyesi Ülkeler Düşünce Kuruluşları Forumu 28 - 30 Ocak 2010 tarihleri arasında İstanbul’da yapıcı ve samimi bir ortam içinde cereyan etmiştir.

Türk Asya Stratejik Araştırmalar Merkezi (TASAM) bünyesinde yaptığımız bilimsel çalışmalar ile Dünya ve Türkiye’deki gelişmeleri kavrama ve analiz etmeye yönelik çabalarımızın ortaya koyduğu açık bir gerçek var: Aktörleri, kuralları, vizyonu eskisinden çok farklı olan yeni bir uluslararası sistem il...

Öncelikle, başta TASAM (Türkasya Stratejik Araştırmalar Merkezi) ve yöneticileri olmak üzere, bu gezinin gerçekleşmesi için emek ve kaynak harcamış olan tüm tüzel kuruluşlara ve özel insanlara teşekkürle başlamalıyım.