“Smart Power” – America’s new Keyword Policy towards the Middle East


Semantics, a field of inquiry all of it’s own.

“Smart” power means a combination of “hard” power — to coerce by military or other means — and “soft” power — the power to convince and persuade through trade, diplomacy, aid and the spread of values.

The phrase is relatively recent addition to the diplomatic phrasebook, even if the concept is not. It was coined not long after the invasion and occupation of Iraq and was presented as a liberal alternative to the aggressive neo-conservatism of the Bush Administration

According to Joseph Nye, a leading exponent of “smart” power as an extension of “soft”, America must “learn to co-operate and to listen” if it is to become a “welcomed world leader”.

Smart-power advocates invoke the the creation of such institutions as the United Nations, Nato, global free trade and the Marshall Plan, in which the US plays a central but not solo role.


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