From an international politics perspective, countries require the support of others to succeed in certain political matters. Power is a vital requirement, especially when a country wants to succeed in dealing with certain political threats or crises such as international wars and terrorism. Such a country can achieve the power to win against external threats only when other countries agree to support its policies and approaches to solving such problems. Therefore, countries can gain other countries’ support through various means, including coercion, payments, or the use of “soft power.” Although countries such as the US have primarily used hard power to influence other countries on their political issues and succeeded, in today’s political environment, soft power proves more effective than the former.
Contrary to hard power, where a country uses military forces to compel collaboration from them, soft power involves a country using non-violent means to achieve the same objective. For instance, a country can attract others by making its resources, including international policies, culture, and political values, more favorable, moral, and legitimate (Nye, 2004). By enhancing the above resources, other countries will gradually develop mutual trust with the subject country and eventually follow and support its political objectives. Therefore, soft power is critical in developing a good long-term relationship with other countries, which assures enduring subject support in solving external political, social, and economic problems.
As international threats facing the US are evolving over time, America needs to revise its approach toward winning the favor of other countries. The circumstances that favored hard power were from the past and do not exist in today’s world (Ogunnubi, 2019). As a result, America should consider using soft power to get international support in formulating, passing, and implementing its foreign policies. It is inconceivable for the US to think of winning the war against terror without the help of other countries. Therefore, the US government should invest in enhancing the attractiveness and popularity of its foreign policies to attract other countries. The use of soft power to gain international influence is vital in helping the US achieve an enduring solution to terrorism (Nye, 2004). Hard power cannot provide America with long-lasting solutions as it would lead to increased antagonism, thus provoking more violence from the perpetrators.
Recently, the value of soft power in the US in the fight against terrorism has been subject to criticism. Some Americans argue that it’s useless for the US to invest in soft power because the terrorists have no interest in the attractiveness or popularity of American values or culture (Rugh, 2017). While the above argument may sound true, it is worth considering why terrorism has been a persistent problem in America despite the application of hard power for many years. Notably, although America may pride itself in managing to capture and kill terrorist leaders such as Osama Bin Laden, the war is far from over. It is worth noting that the terrorist recruitment rate in madrassas outweighs the number of terrorists that America captures and kills on a daily basis (Nye, 2004). To end terrorism America must consider streamlining its cultural and political values, advocate for transparency and eradicate discrimination and marginalization of Muslims and the Islam religion.
Finally, soft power is gaining emphasis recently as a means by which countries can influence others to support their views and actions. Basically, soft power proves preferable to hard power because of several benefits to a country. For instance, the use of soft power helps a country not only to influence support from other nations in times of need but all create an enduring foreign relationship. In addition, soft power can bring a long-lasting solution to external problems as opposed to hard power. Therefore, America should invest in achieving soft power to win the collaboration of other countries in its current war against terrorism.
Nye Jr, J. S. (2004). The decline of America’s soft power-Why Washington should worry. Foreign Aff., 83, 16.
Ogunnubi, O. (2019). The ideational value of soft power and the foreign policy of African regional powers. Politikon, 46(3), 289-310, Web.
Rugh, W. (2017). American soft power and public diplomacy in the Arab world. Palgrave Communications, 3(1), 1-7.