The Hard Politics of Soft Power


In this week’s Horns of a Dilemma, Daniel Runde of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, speaks about his new book, The American Imperative: Reclaiming Global Leadership Through Soft Power.  Liberals and conservatives are frequently divided over foreign policy preferences, with conservatives favoring hard power, such as military might, and liberals emphasizing soft power elements, such as leadership in international organizations. Runde approaches foreign policy from a conservative perspective but concludes that competition between the United States and rivals like Russia or China is more likely to play out in the arena of soft power than in hard power confrontations. Runde therefore argues that without leadership in soft power, the United States is likely to find itself on the losing side in great power competition. This is a novel and compelling argument about the importance of American leadership. This discussion was held at the University of Texas, Austin.


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