Soft Power Essay
Author(s): Joseph S. Nye, Jr.
Source: Foreign Policy, No. 80, Twentieth Anniversary, (Autumn, 1990), pp. 153-171
Published by: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1148580
Accessed: 12/08/2008 12:33
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Because the ability to control others is often associated with the possession of certain resources, politicians and diplomats commonly define power as the possession of population, territory, natural resources, economic size, military forces, and political stability. For example, in the agrarian economies of eighteenth-century Europe, population was a critical power resource since it provided a base for taxes and recruitment of infantry.
Traditionally the test of a great power was its strength in war. Today, however, the definition of power is losing its emphasis on military force and conquest that marked earlier eras. The factors of technology, education, and economic growth are becoming more significant in international power, while geography, population, and raw materials are becoming somewhat less important.
If so, are we entering a "Japaneseperiod" in world politics? Japan has certainly done far better with its strategy as a trading state since
1945 than it did with its military strategy to create a Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity
Sphere in the 1930s. On the other hand,
Japan's security in relation to its large military neighbors, China and the Soviet Union, and the safety of its sea routes depend heavily on
U.S. protection. While they may diminish, these problems will not vanish