TITLE

The Decline of America's Soft Power

AUTHOR(S)
Nye fr., Joseph S.
PUB. DATE
May 2004
SOURCE
Foreign Affairs;May/Jun2004, Vol. 83 Issue 3, p16
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The article assesses the increase in anti-Americanism and the decline in the soft power of the U.S. as of 2004. According to Gallup International polls, pluralities in 29 countries say that the policies of the U.S. government have had a negative effect on their view of the country. Skeptics of soft power claim that popularity is ephemeral and should not guide foreign policy. The U.S., they assert, is strong enough to do as it wishes with or without the world's approval and should simply accept that others will envy and resent it. But the recent decline in U.S. attractiveness should not be so lightly dismissed. It is true that the U.S. has recovered from unpopular policies in the past, but that was often during the Cold War, when other countries still feared the Soviet Union as the greater evil. It is also true that the sheer size of the U.S. and its association with disruptive modernity make some resentment unavoidable. The U.S. cannot confront the new threat of terrorism without the cooperation of other countries. Of course, other governments will often cooperate out of self-interest. But the extent of their cooperation often depends on the attractiveness of the U.S. Soft power, therefore, is not just a matter of ephemeral popularity, it is a means of obtaining outcomes that the U.S. wants.
ACCESSION #
12845800

 

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