Soft Power is a term coined by Joseph Nye, foreign policy advisor to Bill Clinton. The context was post-Vietnam USA: the first time that the worlds only superpower had really seen the limits of hard power.Vietnam, only a fraction of its size in terms of money and human resources, had beaten the US throughguerilla warfare. Americas global dominance however was never in doubt and it was Jo Nye thatarticulated its soft power – its ability to dominate the globe by other means such as culture, values,products that everyone wanted. People would always want to be in a relationship with the US.
The soft power idea however, emerged into the Cold War world – a large section of theworld was deemed to be behind an Iron Curtain. Everyone knew whos side they were on.
GOOD V EVIL IN A B / W WORLDSoft power was just another tool in the war against the Red Peril (Russian and ChineseCommunism) to be deployed in a world that was shared out between bitter opponents.Soft Power was an American schema.
In the post war period globalisation was unfolding on hard power terms: money above all - and to someextent guns - shaped everything. To those excited about the prospect of an increasingly connectedglobe, the anti-globalisation movement was a challenge. However, the anger was mostly with multi-national companies who were taking advantage of a free market to dominate those countries withoutthe economic strength to resist.
With the advent of the internet media power is no longer in the hands of the few. Non-state actors – from terrorists to hackers – seriously threaten the influence ofgovernments or security force
Remember military planes dusting countries with leaflets to get amessage across? What used to take huge amounts of time and money toorganise..
..could now be achieved for nothing, in the comfort of thebedroom of a 12 year old boy.
Major internet petition sites like Avaaz have many millions of members and are regularly quotedby Chinese, Middle Eastern and US governments as evidence of the peoples will. In democraticcountries this has a direct effect on government policies because the votes of Avaaz members –and their extended audience - count. But non-democratic countries too, are increasingly awareof their own global reputation and how this may effect their economic status and influence.
One man - Gene Sharp - author of a small book called How to Start a Revolution, is credited withproviding a template for the Arab Spring. Sharps belief that all revolutions can be carried out withoutviolence based on the power of connectivity, use of art and symbols and conviction based on truth,inspired hundreds of thousands of people in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria to rise up againsttheir hard powered oppressors.
TAHRIR SQUARE, EGYPT,2011. A MOMENT OF CHANGE IN PERCEPTIONS OF THE MIDDLE EAST
Throughout most of our life-times Africa has been depicted in our media through the images of itsstarving people – typically a malnourished baby without hope of survival.Today, thanks to the mobile phone revolution, Africans are themselves shaping a new image of thecontinent. An energetically mediated story of the growing middle class is generating new confidencein Africa, leading to much increased foreign investment and economic growth.
Part 2: Understanding and Developing Soft Power
...... POWER AND AGENCYco-operation? What is agency? How do we make a difference – not just in our own lives, but in our world? What is power? Who wields it, what does it look like? In the morning we will focus on the difference between hard and soft power, its relationship to Power of prayer? agency and how to recognise it in our environment.a throw of the dice? In the afternoon we will look at how to harness the power to change the direction of events in our community, nation and globally. leveraging?
Group Exercise no.1: WHO OR WHAT HAS THE MOST POWEROR INFLUENCE IN THE WORLD?Discuss the nature of this power: What are its characteristics?
Group Exercise 2WHO OR WHAT HASTHE MOST POWEROR INFLUENCE OVERYOU PERSONALLY?Discuss nature ofthis power: is itdifferent?
Disaggregating Power Hard power is force, soft power is attraction ie the potential for relationship. Through relationship we can have influence, without it we are only shouting at people. Hard power is transactional: it has an object, exerting power over something Soft power is transformational: through relationship it changes both parties: power for something SOFT HARD ATTRACTION FORCETRANSFORMATIONAL TRANSACTIONAL POWER FOR POWER OVER
21C SMART POWER SOFTER HARDER 20C SMART POWERSmart power is not a middle way between hard and soft, but a variety of ways of combiningthem.When the term was first invented by Joseph Nye, smart power was just the best way to bedominant in the world, using both hard and soft power. In other words, since it was operatingwithin a hard power era – under a hard umbrella - it was still a form of hard power.Today the global culture has changed significantly: power has been distributed amongst a hugenetwork of non-state actors. No nation has control the way it used to have – or believed it had –and all are obliged to develop relationships for influence.Hence 21C smart power, in an era of growing soft power awareness, will be softer than harder: amix we have not yet experienced.
Group Exercise 3 WHAT WOULD A SMART POWER FUTURE LOOK LIKE UNDER A SOFT UMBRELLA?What are the key elements of the shift you would expect to see inan era of soft power awareness?What changes might occur in themilitary? In our ideas of leadership? The role and operation ofmoney? Politics? Remember soft power is not good and hardpower bad: the shift is from less connected to more connected.
Group Exercise 4 Experiencing HARD POWERCHOOSE A SUBJECT YOU FEEL VERY STRONGLY ABOUT THAT IS CURRENTLY NOT GETTING A FAIR HEARING: USING ALL THE TOOLS OF HARD POWER – MONEY, FORCEFULNESS, MANIPULATION – TRY TO MAKE YOURPARTNER ACCEPT YOUR POINT AND AGREE TO YOUR RULES
Group Exercise 5 SOFT POWER WHAT IS THE FEELING? WHAT ARE THE TOOLS? If hard power feels disconnected, alienated,requiring arousal to enforce, how does soft powerfeel?If hard power is delivered through guns andmoney, sticks AND carrots, how is soft powerdelivered? What are the tools?
On exploration,we find thereSo what is Soft Power? is no easy line to draw between soft and hard power: each have elements of the other depending on the context within which it is used. For example, the army is a hard power tool, but a nation that is well armed (hard) is often more respected (soft) than one that does not. Hollywood and Bollywood are soft power tools, but they are also big business (hard) and can manipulate power. Individuals can have charisma (soft) but celebrity is a commodity to be bought and sold (hard).
Drawing a hard to soft continuum We have to create a much bigger continuum between the poles of hard and soft to allow the many forms and tools to be seen. At one extreme, soft power is simply the power emanating from an individual being still, authentic and open – drawing people in through trust and the desire to relate. Close to that is something closer to diplomacy: the active pursuit of relationship achieved through opening up channels of communication. This can be done through studying the needs of the other and shaping what one has to offer accordingly pu So out blic cia rel l ne rea atio two ch ns / cu Au rkinma nip neg /n etw g/ ltur al d com thent ula otia dia iplo pa ic b ti o n tion ork log ssi ein ing ue ma on g cy ACTIVE BEING + RELATIONSHIP POTENTIAL = POWER OF ATTRACTION
Exercise 6 in Couples EXPERIENCING SOFT POWERGood relationship begins with deeply understanding the needs of the other. By the end of these exercises you will be able to read the mind of the other and know their preferences. Experiencing rapport through layering experiences of 1) matching and mirroring
EXPERIENCING SOFT POWER:BUILDING RELATIONSHIP POTENTIAL THROUGH RAPPORT 2) noticing In couples: a) studies b) b) turns away for 1 minute b) turns back with subtle changes a) notes changes Reverse the procedure. Repeat with increasing subtlety
Experiencing SOFT POWER: BUILDING RELATIONSHIP POTENTIAL THROUGH RAPPORT3a) talk about someone you really like3b) talk about someone you really dont likeNotice the different body language, tone of voice etc
Experiencing SOFT POWER: BUILDING RELATIONSHIP POTENTIAL THROUGH RAPPORT4) reading the mind of the otherBy the time you get to this fourth exercise,your ability to intuit the preferences of the otherwill be much enhanced. Ask your partner to talkabout a person you dont know and intuit their truefeelings about them.
ACTIVE BEING is difficult to achievebecause once you are self consciouslybranding yourself, you lose authenticity.NORWAY always comes out near the topof any soft power leagues. People allover the world see it as the home ofpeace: the Nobel Peace Prize is awardedthere every year and people come fromall over the world to avail themselves ofthe conflict resolution programmes theyoffer.However, when asked about thisachievement Mona Elisabeth BRØTHERfrom the Ministry of Foreign Affairs toldme that it arose naturally from thepeople of Norway: they dislike conflictand teach mediation from an early age.Simply adopting an image andpromoting it does not have the samepower: it is strongest when it isauthentic.To the left is a Norwegian Peace Jumper.
Group Exercise 7 Experiencing SOFT POWER ACTIVE BEINGWhile we are often encouraged to expressourselves, it remains difficult to knowwho we are authentically being in theworld. How often do we have our ownimage of ourselves contradicted byothers? This exercise asks us to sit withourselves for a while and write up to tenpoints that go some way to describe whowe are truly being in the world. What areour values? What do we do to uphold ourvalues? How do we exercise our values?The following exercise is designed tochallenge your idea of control over yourimage in the world.1) Adopt the observer mode and describe yourself as accurately as you can, with no-onelistening. Make sure the description is honest and based in reality.2) As your group to discuss and agree a description of you, what your values are and yoursuccess at living your life accordingly3) To the best of you ability try to convey this description to the group – using every softpower tool you have from body language to stance and openness - and notice how easy ordifficult it is to do that4) Compare notes with the group. Is your image of yourself the same as theirs?
HOW IS SOFT POWER SHAPING YOU?We aim to be authentic in the world but to whatextent are our preferences being actively shapedby others? What follows are three industriescommitted to exercising soft power over you.
1) Power of the media: setting the agendaThe power of the media. Although we like to think our opinions are our own, towhat extent do we allow the media to FRAME the agenda ie to tell us what weneed to have an opinion on and what the choices are?
1) Power ofthe Media 2Since the growthof the internet,many people havetried to moveaway from themainstream newsto look for inputfrom a variety ofsources. This canleave us at themercy of evenmore opinion andpersuasion. If weselect our ownnews sources, arewe not stillnarrowing downour openness toothers views?
2) Power of advertisingSome of the very best artists, film directors, psychologists and writersstarted their careers in advertising, using their skills to capture ourimagination and sell us something. Remember the above adverts fromthe 80s? What could they be selling?
Yes, those sumptuous sensual ads were used tosell .. cigarettes! Now known as lethal weapons.
3. Power of government agenda: NUDGE The power of government agendas on our personal behaviour. To the left are pictures of a a urinal in Holland. The local council had too many complaints about the state of the mens public toilets which were regularly awash with piss. So they organised for a small fly to be etched onto the urinal bowls which had the effect of causing men to aim for it when peeing. Result? 80% cleaner public loos. This is what is technically called a NUDGE.
Group Exercise 8 HOW MANY WAYS ARE YOU BEING SHAPED BY OTHER PEOPLES AGENDAS?How does the media affect you? How many different kinds ofmedia are you influenced by? What are you regularly buying thatyou dont really need? Have you been nudged? What about yourpeers, celebrities, national events, your neighbours lifestyle –think of as many as you can. WRITE ONTO POST IT NOTES AND ADD TO CONTINUUM
Group Exercise 9 WHAT ARE THE TOOLS THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO US FOR SOFT POWER?In the light of the soft power tools that are used on us, what softpower tools are available to us? How can we influence our families,friends, community, government – the world?Think about the way you dress, the petitions you sign, the ideas you tweet, thewebsites you join or create yourself, the products you buy and those you wont buy. CREATING RELATIONSHIP POTENTIAL for ACTIVE BEING
Increasingly we areinvited to have a say inhow things are run. Is thisa sign of our growingdemocracy or animposition upon ourprivacy? Organisationslike Avaaz are increasinglybeing quoted ingovernments around theworld – proof that theyhave influence. Its acommonly known truththat the only superpowerthat exists in the wordtoday is Public Opinion:politicians know that theycan no longer get awaywith ignoring it
HARD AND SOFT POWER: A SUMMARY SO FAR There is no clear line between hard and soft power: most ways of acting have elements of both. However there is clearly softer and harder behaviour and all our actions exist somewhere on the continuum between the two. Below is a theoretical and practical description of that continuum and how it is played out in our world. NON-DUAL BEING – ACTIVE BEING – RELATIONAL – CONFLCT TRANSCENDING – CONFLICT RESOLVING - SMART – MANIPULATIVE – FIXING – AUTHORITARIAN – VIOLENT - ALIENATEDNON-DUAL BEING ALIENATED BEING ACTIVE BEING VIOLENT RELATIONAL AUTHORITARIANCONFLICT TRANSCENDING FIXING CONFLICT RESOLVING MANIPULATIVE SMART
When I began writing about soft power 8 years ago (http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/indraadnan)I used to get a handful of soft power news pieces in my inbox per week. Today I get five or six a day.Although soft power is not a household term about in Britain, in other parts of the world it is commonparlance – particularly China and the Far East.
How different nations demonstrate soft power Soft Power as relationship potential: Japan Immediately after WW2 Japan had the image of a hard powered, inscrutable nation. Japan expended a lot of energy studying the consumer desires of other nations and came up with two formulas for creating relationship potential: a) exactly reproducing items that Western consumers love at a fraction of the cost b) designing and producing original beautiful technical objects of desire such as mobile phones. In a very small space of time Japan came to be seen by the Western consumer as cool with a remarkable spirit of service.
BRITISH SOFT POWER INSTITUTIONSAs a post imperialnation, Britain has anatural bent for softpower without it everbecoming a politicalissue. The four topBritish soft powerinstitutions are theEnglish Language, theBBC, the Royal Familyand the British council.Using these fourvehicles, Britainremains hugelyinfluential throughoutthe world despite itssize.
INDIA: SOFT POWER THROUGH ACTIVE BEINGIndia has been associated withextreme poverty for decades andas such, has not been perceived asa global power befitting its size andresources. The notable exceptionhas been the pulling power of itsfounding father Gandhi which hasearned India a reputation forspiritual wealth – good for tourismbut also for its diaspora.More recently however, India hasbeen actively developing its softpower, particularly in the form of itsfilm industry referred to asBollywood. It is no accident that agrowing awareness of India as aglobal superpower has coincidedwith the increasing popularity ofIndian films.
CHINA: SOFT POWER AND OVER-ACTIVE BEING?China has a mixed record on soft power – a term thathas been actively adopted in its foreign policy since the1980s. As the largest population (and fourth largestland mass) in the world it has taken care to emergegently into the global community. Rather thanthreatening surrounding countries with its army, itactively promotes friendship through investment andaid, particularly in Africa. Moreover it is attempting tobe better understood by building and promoting over500 Confucious Institutes worldwide where the Chineseculture and language is taught.However, in its attempt to control its image abroad, ithas made a number of mistakes. African aid has oftenbeen perceived as being too manipulative, importinglarge numbers of Chinese labourers in to guarantee thework if Africans refuse the conditions offered. In theConfucious institutes it is not permitted to talk aboutTibet.For many people Chin is still a land of human rightsabuse – Tiannamen Square remains uppermost in theirminds. The imprisonment of the artist Ai Wei Wei hasdone little to change that view.
NORWAY: SOFTEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLDSimon Anholt, policy advisor and globalExpert on nation brands, devised theMARRS model for predicting the soft powerof nations:Morality - how good are you?Aesthetics - how beautiful are you?Relevance - how great is your impact?Sophistication - how developed are you?Strength - how strong are you?This explains Norways lasting effect.
Group Exercise 10 SOFT POWER STRATEGY DEVELOP A SOFT POWER STRATEGY USING ALL THE TOOLSOF SOFT POWER FOR ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: SCOTLAND AS AN INDEPENDENT NATIONCHANGING THE DIRECTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS CREATING A NEW GENDER BALANCE IN POLITICS