Richard L. Armitage was deputy secretary of state from 2001 to 2005. Joseph S. Nye Jr., a former assistant secretary of defense, teaches political science at Harvard. They co-chaired the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Commission on Smart Power.
The world is dissatisfied with American leadership. Shocked and frightened after 9/11, we put forward an angry face to the globe, not one that reflected the more traditional American values of hope and optimism, tolerance and opportunity. This fearful approach has hurt the United States' ability to bring allies to its cause, but it is not too late to change. The nation should embrace a smarter strategy that blends our "hard" and "soft" power -- our ability to attract and persuade, as well as our ability to use economic and military might......the United States needs a broader, more balanced approach (than it has been employing).....Editorial Comment. This is a very important recommendation. If the next administration decides to adopt a "smart power" policy, UNESCO should be a key instrument of that policy. No organization is better placed on which to build a consortium of like minded nations, and to practice public diplomacy that listens as well as lectures! JAD
when our words do not match our actions, we demean our character and moral standing. We cannot lecture others about democracy while we back dictators. We cannot denounce torture and waterboarding in other countries and condone it at home. We cannot allow Cuba's Guantanamo Bay or Iraq's Abu Ghraib to become the symbols of American power.......
In a changing world, the United States should become a smarter power by once again investing in the global good -- by providing things that people and governments want but cannot attain without U.S. leadership. By complementing U.S. military and economic strength with greater investments in soft power, Washington can build the framework to tackle tough global challenges. We call this smart power.
Smart power is not about getting the world to like us. It is about developing a strategy that balances our hard (coercive) power with our soft (attractive) power. During the Cold War, the United States deterred Soviet aggression through investments in hard power. But as Gates noted late last month, U.S. leaders also realized that "the nature of the conflict required us to develop key capabilities and institutions -- many of them non-military." So the United States used its soft power to rebuild Europe and Japan and to establish the norms and institutions that became the core of the international order for the past half-century. The Cold War ended under a barrage of hammers on the Berlin Wall rather than a barrage of artillery across the Fulda Gap precisely because of this integrated approach.
Specifically, the United States should renew its focus on five critical areas:
- We should reinvigorate the alliances, partnerships and institutions that allow us to address numerous hazards at once without having to build a consensus from scratch to respond to every new challenge.
- We should create a Cabinet-level voice for global development to help Washington develop a more unified and integrated aid program that aligns U.S. interests with the aspirations of people worldwide, starting with global health.
- We should reinvest in public diplomacy within the government and establish a nonprofit institution outside of it to build people-to-people ties, including doubling the annual appropriation to the Fulbright program.
- We should sustain our engagement with the global economy by negotiating a "free trade core" of countries in the World Trade Organization willing to move directly to free trade on a global basis, and expand the benefits of free trade to include those left behind at home and abroad.
- We should take the lead in addressing climate change and energy insecurity by investing more in technology and innovation.