Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

How Can Public Diplomacy Complement “Hard Power” Tactics in International Affairs?

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Hard power is a term used to describe power that is acquired from the use of military and/or economic force to influence the behaviour or interests of other political entities. As the name might imply, this type of political power is often aggressive, and is most effective when imposed by one political body upon another of lesser military and/or economic power. What it boils down to is: Do what we want. If you don't, we will inflict undesirable damage on your person, citizenry, economy, security forces, crops, well water, et cetera.

Hard power is mostly placed in the International Relations field of Realism, where military power is seen as the expression of a state’s strength in the international community. While the existence of hard power has a long history, the term arose when Joseph Nye coined 'soft power' as a fresh and different form of power in a State's foreign policy. Nye defined soft power as “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than through coercion. ” He also said that soft power “could be developed through relations with allies, economic assistance, and cultural exchanges. He argued that this would result in “a more favourable public opinion and credibility abroad. ” By engaging both forms of power, hard and soft, one is then employing ‘smart power’. Another term defined by Joseph Nye, it was endorsed by Hilary Clinton: “We must use what has been called smart power — the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural — picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy. Ideas matter, and a country’s ability to promote ideals to citizens of other nations and societies, known as public diplomacy (PD), can work wonders to advance the national interest. By taking a look at case studies, we will examine whether PD can complement hard power tactics and thus we will see if ‘smart power’ is really viable in practice. The U. S strategy of hard power and public diplomacy in the Cold War During the Cold War, the world was divided in two, as the two super-powers attempted to gain support from neutral parties while offsetting the actions of their opponent.

The United States and Russia were more or less equally matched in military and political strength and this resulted in a stalemate. With hard power abilities alone proving ineffective at turning the tide in any direction it meant that another means of demonstrating global dominance would be required. The basic strategy of the US during the Cold War was containment using military, economic, and diplomatic strategies to stop the spread of Communism, boost America’s security and influence abroad, and avert a "domino effect".

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The concept of containment was proposed by diplomat George Kennan in the notorious Long Telegram . Kennan argued that the only way to defeat the spread of Communism was to suffocate it. Containment had two major policies associated with it, the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan and was a reaction to a string of moves by the Soviet Union to expand Communist influence in Eastern Europe, China, and Korea. It represented a middle-ground position between appeasement and rollback. The Truman Doctrine was a robust plan that that pledged military support to the nations struggling against communist pressures.

It was announced By President Truman in his 1947 address to congress after the United Kingdom informed the United States that it no longer had the capabilities to aid Greece and Turkey in their struggle against Soviet tensions. In the address he declared that the United States would “support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. ” The Truman Doctrine displayed the U. S objective to respond to any further expansion with military force—the hard power element of containment.

The Truman Doctrine was the justification for considerable injections of American money into European economic recovery to counteract the development of social and political unrest. This ambitious aid plan was called the Marshall Plan after the secretary of state at the time. General Marshall proposed the plan with two intentions: to assist in the rebuilding of Europe and to win the “hearts and minds” of the citizens most vulnerable to the reach of communism. The act of benevolence was accepted by the United States’ European allies after a phase of negotiations, but was discarded by the Soviets and other members of the Eastern Bloc.

The Marshall Plan represented a significant early application of U. S. soft power and the vital non-military aspect of US policies of containment. Containment is an excellent example of a successful balance of hard and soft power. The policies they implemented in this process served to strengthen relations with “at-risk” countries in Europe while at the same time sending a strong message to the Soviet Union th at the United States would react strongly to any further Soviet expansion. In fact, containment was so successful, that many experts consider it the leading cause of the Soviet collapse.

Another prime example of this PD was the cultural exchanges which saw tens of thousands of Soviet students go to America to study. These exchanges enabled many Soviet citizens, especially in the upper and middle reaches of society, to see the United States with their own eyes. The students would then go back to the USSR and some even occupied roles of influence and played important roles in the peaceful demise of the Soviet Union As I mentioned earlier, Public Diplomacy serves to make one’s country and ideals more attractive to citizens of other countries.

One way that the U. S achieved this during the Cold War was by setting up organizations such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib¬erty (RFE/RL), the Voice of America (VOA), and the United States Information Agency (USIA) which communi¬cated the ideals of democracy, individual rights, and the free market. U. S. officials distin¬guished America's truthful approach from the lies and deceptions of classic Nazi and Soviet propa¬ganda and therefore the term "public diplomacy" came into general use by the 1970s to reflect this critical dif¬ference.

In fact it was noted by Edward R. Murrow, then director of the USIA, that “truth is the best propaganda and lies are the worst. ” Nye remarks that Pop culture also featured largely in the U. S arsenal as it transmits widely "American values that are open, mobile, individualistic, anti-establishment, pluralistic, populist, and free. " "Long before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989; it had been pierced by television and movies. The hammers and bulldozers would not have worked without the years-long transmission of images of the popular culture of the West before it fell. In the end, the promotion of these values contributed mightily to the nearly bloodless dissolution of the Soviet Empire. China’s public diplomacy in Africa In recent years, China has looked to complement its long-established employment of hard power with soft power, and as a consequence, the Chinese government has devoted a lot of consideration to public diplomacy. In the past, Chinese governments have demonstrated a limited understanding of public diplomacy, viewing it either as external propaganda or a form of internal public affairs, but this has not prevented China from becoming a killed public diplomacy player. Public diplomacy and hard power are not only used in situations of war or tension between countries. One can look at Chinese relationship with Africa for a prime example of public diplomacy employed to strengthen economic relations. Africa has resources that China needs and so China views other countries, mainly this in the West, as a direct competitor for African resources. That is why they needed to establish such strong relationship with Africa.

A strategy to block out competitors would require a deep partnership of trust (gained with PD), or coercion (Hard Power). The Chinese opted for the trust route as they believed it would be more cost-effective in the long run to establish a trust and understanding. Relationships begin with dialogues. The goal is to build trust. Trust cannot be manufactured, it has to be earned. China-African relations have steadily deepened and strengthened since the founding of “new China” in 1949.

Developing from the ideologically-driven interactions during the Cold War, today’s China-Africa relations combine pragmatic economic and political means to achieve China’s objective of establishing a world order that is peaceful and favourable to continued economic growth and stability at home. In the 1960s and 1970s, China supported liberation movements in several African countries, gave aid to socialist nations to build stadiums, hospitals, railroads and other infrastructure, and cemented relations through a steady stream of expert engineers, teachers, and doctors.

Today, Chinese officials travel to Africa accompanied by bankers and businesspeople, promoting political and economic commerce that develops China-Africa ties in a sustainable fashion. While trade and diplomacy are driven by China’s newfound economic strength and subsequent demand for raw materials, China continues to support longstanding programs that deliver aid to impoverished African citizens, such as sending teams of doctors and providing medicines. There are a number of reasons why China makes for such an appealing partner to many African countries.

China’s attitude towards bilateral relations and economic development offers a different alternative to the political and economic reforms pushed forward by the “West”. China has adopted a firm stance of respect for other nations’ sovereignty and persistently refuses to condemn or involve itself in the internal affairs of African nations. This attitude has earned it the respect of those leaders and elite individuals and groups that profited from poor governance and crooked political systems and so they are not so keen on applying tedious and costly economic reforms insisted on by the West.

In order to demonstrate to Africa how sincere and beneficial their friendship with China is, Beijing drafted a policy on Africa. China reportedly gets over a quarter of its oil from Africa , so it is not surprising it's interested in building up and maintaining relations on the continent. At the start of the millennium, Beijing established the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (CACF) to encourage trade and investment with 44 African countries. In 2003, Prime Minister Wen visited several oil-producing African states accompanied by Chinese oil executives, and President Hu toured Algeria, Egypt, and Gabon.

China has been collaborating with governments in the Gulf of Guinea, from Angola to Nigeria, as well as with the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Libya, Niger, and Sudan. In mid-January 2006, China issued an African foreign policy paper. China has laid out the strategy for all to see and it is divided into six parts: 1. Africa's Position and Role 2. China's Relations with Africa 3. China's African Policy 4. Enhancing All-round Cooperation between China and Africa 5. Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and Its Follow-up Actions 6.

China's Relations with African Regional Organizations The document is made as accessible as possible on the internet. It is written in simple English which means that it is easy to read even for those who do not have an exceptionally strong command of the language. This document is a perfect demonstration of public diplomacy. The Chinese are doing a superb job in the region. China's relationship with the public goes further than building prestige buildings for the public and the public themselves get to choose whether they want a sports stadium or a government building.

In addition, television in the area is becoming more and more English language transitions from China. By backing up its economic interests with so much soft power, China has been put on a moral high-ground when compared to other global players. EU integration and public diplomacy One of the most successful initiatives to embody the principles of effective public diplomacy was the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community in the 1950’s which has now evolved into the European Union.

European integration is the process of mainly political, legal, social and economic integration of European states, which these days is primarily achieved through the European Union and the Council of Europe. Attempts at European integration emerged originally after the devastation of the Second World War and the desire of European countries to integrate so much so as to eliminate the possibility of another European war. The main intention behind integrating economically and politically is that the smaller European countries have more influence in international matters such as trade and world politics.

A ‘kind of United States of Europe’ was called for by Winston Churchill and in 1950 the German and French politicians, Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet, proposed a common market for coal and steel for those countries willing to delegate control of these sectors of their economies to an independent authority. In 1951 the Treaty of Paris was signed by the leaders of six European countries; Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and West Germany.

This treaty founded the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) creating a common market in which the industries that were crucial for war were controlled thus preventing the unilateral rearmament of any of its member states, particularly Germany. The ECSC enjoyed economic and political success which spurred the six member states to sign the Treaty of Rome in 1957 and establish the European Economic Community (EEC), which was transformed into the European Community from 1967 in the Merger Treaty.

In 1993 the Maastricht Treaty transformed the ECSC into the European Union and European integration became less and less about the ‘negative’ removal of barriers, and more and more about ‘positive’, active harmonization. The EU has steadily been evolving as a diplomatic power in its own right. To demonstrate this, we need to look at the broad sweep of the development of an EU diplomatic corps over time; where it came from, how few of them there originally were, how little they did, and how these details compare with trends today.

The European Union practices public diplomacy through a multilayered framework of policies and programs, relying both on its Representations in member-states, as well as its Delegations abroad – it now has diplomatic delegations in over 150 countries, employing over 5,000 members of staff. With its internal communication strategy the Union aims to engage EU-citizens more closely in its political life and to create a sense of common identity.

Its communication strategy for enlargement, on the other hand, is designed to explain the goals and responsibilities of the European project to countries that aspire to become member states as well as to promote the benefits of enlargement to Euro-sceptics inside the EU. The European Neighbourhood Policy provides another layer of regional integration and governance and is directed towards the EU's immediate neighbours by land and sea, primarily developing countries, who seek one day to become either member states of the European Union itself, or more closely integrated with the economy of the European Union.

Finally, through its network of Delegations abroad, the EU aims to assert itself on the international stage and regulates its relations with "third" countries. Although basically aimed at developing a public diplomacy capability, most of the outreach activities of the EU are not officially referred to as "public diplomacy", but are described as information and communication campaigns, or education and cultural exchange programs. These efforts are intended not only to inform and explain the workings of EU institutions but also to socialize into the norms and values of the Union.

The European Commission is the institution responsible for conducting the Union's diplomacy and public diplomacy efforts. While other EU bodies have also initiated public diplomacy programs, the Commission is the one providing the executive action. Since the creation of the ECSC in 1950 member states have achieved great success in integrating socially, economically and politically between themselves however there are still many difficulties to be overcome and the process of integration will never be complete.

Much progress has been made to create an integrated EU diplomatic service and this will continue to be utilized alongside hard power economic and political policies to develop the EU as strong and coherent body of states. Conclusion As we have seen in these case studies, when hard power is coupled with soft power, especially public diplomacy, it creates a most effective product – more effective than the sum of its parts. The European Union for example has been seen as a civilian power.

It has no army even though this is one of the areas where unity would bring an obvious increase in efficiency and influence. It relies on law, on negotiation, on multilateral organisation. Its relationships are often in the form of “contractual agreements”, itself a revealing phrase. It seems a model of soft power, as America is of hard power. Even China, a country based on hard power, has realised the effectiveness of adding a strong public diplomacy to its repertoire. Realists have a preference for hard power.

Otto von Bismarck is famous for the remark that “this policy cannot succeed through speeches …and songs; it can be carried out only through blood and iron”. In a twist of irony however Bismarck’s blood and iron was not the solution to the German question. By 1945 Germany had had enough of both: they had undermined Bismarck’s achievement of unification and had led to the ruin of Germany. In today’s world it is more important than ever to be able to effectively combine hard and soft power to form smart power.

Even one of the greatest military men of all time, realised the importance complementing hard power with soft when he famously stated that: “There are but two powers in the world, the sword and the mind. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the mind. ” - Napoleon Bonaparte Bibliography Bonaparte, Napoleon (1769-1821), ‘Napoleon Bonaparte Quotes’, http://www. military-quotes. com/Napoleon. htm Carnes Lord - Helle C. Dale, Public Diplomacy and the Cold War: Lessons Learned, in the Heritage Foundation (online) 18 September 2007 http://www. heritage. rg/Research/nationalSecurity/bg2070. cfm [accessed 28 January 2010] Drew Thompson, China’s Soft Power in Africa: from the “Beijing consensus” to health diplomacy, China Brief: Volume 5, Issue 21 (October 13, 2005) Joseph S. Nye Jr, Soft Power: A Means to Success in World Politics. Public Affairs, New York. 2004. Joseph S. Nye Jr, Soft Power, Hard Power and Leadership. Seminar, 27 October 06. http://www. hks. harvard. edu/netgov/files/talks/docs/11_06_06_seminar_Nye_HP_SP_Leadership. pdf Lee Rotherham, EU Diplomats, (online) in TaxpayersAlliance. com http://www. taxpayersalliance. om/EUDiplomats. pdf Matt Armstrong, Practicing Effective Public Diplomacy in Africa (or elsewhere). Blog – MountainRunner. US (online). February 8 2006 http://mountainrunner. us/2006/02/practicing_effe. html [accessed 28 January 2010] Robert Cooper, Hard power, Soft power and the Goals of Diplomacy, in David Held/Mathias Koenig-Archibugi, American Power in the 21st Century, 2004, pp. 167-180 Rory D Huff Jr, U. S. Applications of Hard and Soft Power (online) http://www. personal. psu. edu/cpl2/blogs/powerforce/Huff%20on%20Hard%20and%20Soft%20Power. pdf [accessed 28 January 2010]

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