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In Unstable World, Is the US Pursing “Soft Power” Options?

Posted August 7th, 2015 at 5:36 pm (UTC-5)
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Reinstating Soft Power into US Foreign Policy

Joseph F. Nye – The Boston Globe

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait 25 years ago, the world was so much simpler. A “bad guy” openly sent tanks across the border of his little neighbor… George H.W. Bush organized a broad coalition of states that included Syria and Egypt to ensure the soft power of legitimacy, while the hard power of the US military defeated Saddam’s forces in a matter of days with minimal American casualties.

Only a decade later, that picture had dramatically changed. Al Qaeda, a non-state actor, attacked the world’s only superpower, and Bush’s son invaded Iraq …  providing a focal point for jihadi terrorists. The United States fell into Osama Bin Laden’s trap….

Once again, America finds itself embroiled in a debate over whether to intervene in a Middle East conflict….

Our policy should be one of containment, nudging and influencing from the sidelines rather than trying to assert a control that would not only be costly, but also counterproductive.

This image made from video broadcast on Press TV, Iran's English language state-run channel shows President Hassan Rouhani making a statement following announcement of the Iran nuclear deal on July 14, 2015 in Tehran. (AP)

This image made from video broadcast on Press TV, Iran’s English language state-run channel shows President Hassan Rouhani making a statement following announcement of the Iran nuclear deal on July 14, 2015 in Tehran. (AP)

Obama Can Wield U.S. Military Might as Weapon of Diplomacy

Michael O’Hanlon – USA Today

It seems clear that some of the opposition here in the United States to the [Iran] nuclear deal is based on a sense that Obama is pulling back on foreign policy, not showing enough spine or sustained engagement. This critique largely occurs along partisan lines domestically and is not always fair — as with the Republican handling of much of the Benghazi scandal.

But it has echoes in other parts of the world, too, where friends and foes alike have been wondering especially in Obama’s second term just how committed he is to American leadership abroad. The clearest manifestation and biggest problem has been in regard to the rise of the terrorist group Islamic State….

Military power and diplomacy are not diametrically opposite tools of American foreign policy; used well, they are complementary, and each makes the other much stronger. I believe that Obama knows this. It is a good time for him to remind everyone else that he gets it, too.

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