THE BLOG
06/08/2005 02:43 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Hard and Soft Power

Bob Boorstin, always a fount of interesting ideas, has announced that The Center for American Progress is going to develop the concept of integrated power and a unified national security budget. Two cheers! He would rate a third cheer, except that he also announces that he will "discard" the previous concepts of hard and soft power because they are not alternatives but must be linked. Exactly. As I wrote in Soft Power: the Means to Success in World Politics, we should not aim for hard or soft power, but to combine the two as a "smart power." That is what we did in the Cold War. Our hard military power helped to deter Soviet aggression while our soft power ate away the basis of communism behind the Iron Curtain. When the Berlin Wall came down, it was under hammers and bulldozers, not artillery. We are failing to make that combination of hard and soft power in the so called "war on terrorism". We spend 450 times more on our hard military power than we do on our budget for public diplomacy (including broadcasts and exchanges). If we spent one percent, we would quadruple the expenditure for that particular instrument of soft power. Good luck to the Center if if pulls that off, and a third cheer if it stops knocking down straw people such as "discarding" hard and soft power.