Sunday 19 Aug 2018 | 17:14 | SYDNEY
Sunday 19 Aug 2018 | 17:14 | SYDNEY

Soft power is cheap power


Andrew Carr


13 April 2011 10:29

Joseph Nye notes the outcome of the latest US budget cuts:

Yet while last week's cuts failed to do much about the deficit, they could do serious damage to U.S. foreign policy. On Tuesday, the axe fell: The State Department and foreign operations budget was slashed by $8.5 billion -- a pittance when compared to military spending, but one that could put a serious dent in the United States' ability to positively influence events abroad.

These cuts come after the Pentagon's budget rose by $5 billion to $513 billion, compared to State's $48.3 billion. The effectiveness of soft vs hard power can be debated endlessly, but what can't be debated is the efficiency of soft power. It is the cheapest route to improving a nation's standing in the world.

For a minor reduction in material capability, states can have a significant boost in intellectual, cultural and ideological capability. And as I noted last week, the strength of connections between societies is more important than ever.