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Home » The Daily » The Daily: The Soft Power of Hard Power

The Daily: The Soft Power of Hard Power

November 19, 2013 6:44 am by: Category: The Daily
photo credit: CNN

photo credit: CNN

Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.

Tara Sonenshine penned a short post on how public diplomacy can be beneficial in times of disaster relief.

If ever we doubt the role of governments in providing information, think about what happens if local, provincial, state, federal, national or international information is lacking.  An individual with an iPhone is important, but the view is limited.  We need the local weatherman and local radio supported by the national weather service.  Individuals can assist, but also important is an organized large-scale governmental response, rescue and assistance coordinated by local, state and federal officials with—when necessary—militaries capable of doing the heavy lifting, literally and figuratively. [Take Five Blog]


A nuclear-powered aircraft carrier may be the pinnacle of modern hard power, but it can also project soft power when used for humanitarian assistance.

The U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier can base as many as 75 warplanes, has a combat load of 97,000 tons and is manned by 6,250 battle-ready crew. But as an expression of soft-power, the Nimitz-class carrier is finding its influence in its Asian theater of operations goes far beyond the range of its fearsome arsenal as it assists the Typhoon Haiyan relief operation — known as Operation Damayan — in the Philippines. Equipped with everything from a 51-bed hospital ward and an operating theater to dentists’ surgeries, according to Jane’s Defense, the USS George Washington is leading a flotilla of U.S. Navy support vessels in support of the effort. [CNN]


Jane Harman, president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Center, also points to the military’s “invaluable” soft power when it comes to disaster relief.

As Americans, it is natural for us to display generosity and compassion in response to natural disasters. These are truly American values. In fact, our generosity and compassion — combined with the U.S. military’s unparalleled ability to deliver disaster relief — may be our most effective foreign policy tools. Our military’s complete focus can’t be overseeing rescue and recovery efforts after a typhoon. However, our extraordinary competence at staging disaster relief gives the U.S. the ability to show the world our better angels. It’s a side that — unfortunately — many otherwise won’t see. [Huffington Post]



The Center for Strategic and International Studies has published a new report on public diplomacy in the Arab Middle East after 9/11.

Public diplomacy supports the interests of the United States by advancing American goals outside the traditional arena of government-to-government relations. Since 9/11, with the rise of al Qaeda and other violent organizations that virulently oppose the United States, public diplomacy in Muslim-majority countries has become an instrument to blunt or isolate popular support for these organizations. Efforts in this direction complement traditional public diplomacy that explains American policies and society to foreign publics. Public diplomacy must take many paths to accomplish its goals in the Arab Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the geographic focus of this study. Their populations are not monolithic. In fact, they are extremely varied within states and across regions. The best public diplomacy is tailored to these differences, with multiple approaches to strategically important segments in each country. [CSIS]


After being the keynote speaker at the “Public Diplomacy of the Americas” conference hosted by the USC Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars, former Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhán discussed U.S.-Mexican relations and digital diplomacy.

Ambassador Sarukhán is credited for being the first diplomat in Washington to tweet. Although most world leaders use twitter mainly during election campaigns, it is increasingly being seen as an effective way for government leaders to connect with the younger generation regarding variety of issues. For Sarukhán, digital/social media have played an important role in “challenging traditional media’s misrepresentations.” He believes that these tools provide government officials with a forum to correct narratives, put out their opinions, and shape perceptions. [Neon Tommy]



Is Qatar’s poor treatment of foreign workers used to construct the stadiums for the 2022 World Cup—documented in a damning 150-page report by Amnesty International—undermining any soft power it will gain from hosting it?

Instead of being perceived and feted as a cutting edge 21st century nation to whose defense the international community would want to come in a time of need, Qatar’s image as a feudal state that tolerates forced labor and abuse of fundamental rights is being cemented by a series of reports that unambiguously document the exploitation suffered by foreign workers who account for up to 80 percent of the population and 94 percent of the labor market. Qatar’s image problem feeds into mounting criticism of FIFA’s awarding of the 2022 World Cup that potentially could lead to the Gulf state being deprived of becoming the first Middle Eastern nation to host one of the world’s foremost sporting events. [Middle East Online]


An editorial in Metro India calls for Indian TV station to air more Pakistani shows as a way of soft power outreach after Pakistani TV stations were fined by their media regulatory authorities for broadcasting too many Indian shows.

PEMRA monitoring system is working round the clock to ensure the compliance of code of conduct and code of advertising, the report said. Private TV channels in the Islamic nation have been authorised to air only 10% foreign content and 60% of that 10% should be Indian or other content and 40% of the 10% may be English content. This indeed is a tricky situation. People of Pakistan would like to watch more and more Indian soap operas, reality shows and music programmes, while their government is not allowing it. We can find a way out by allowing a specified Pakistani content in Indian channels, so that Pakistani channels too can air a liberal dose of Indian entertainment content, in a win-win situation. [Metro India]



Tom Fletcher, British ambassador to Lebanon, opines that Twitter diplomacy doesn’t work if staff members are writing the tweets.

Unlike the sterile, well-rehearsed tweets of many politicians and diplomatic officials, Fletcher has made a point of cultivating a genuine voice on social media. In addition to daily official-sounding tweets addressing #SyriaCrisis, #Palestine and #resilience, Fletcher often tempers his tone with more lighthearted asides. Maintaining an authentic voice by producing his own social media content is important to Fletcher. “If someone else is writing your tweets, you’re not really on Twitter,” he said. [Daily Star]

The Daily: The Soft Power of Hard Power Reviewed by on . [caption id="attachment_897" align="alignnone" width="640"] photo credit: CNN[/caption] Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public dipl [caption id="attachment_897" align="alignnone" width="640"] photo credit: CNN[/caption] Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public dipl Rating: 0

About Michael Ardaiolo

Michael Ardaiolo is currently a student in Syracuse University's Public Diplomacy Master's Program: M.A. in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and M.S. in Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. In addition, he is a recovering record slinger, a Criterion Collection addict, an NBA obsessor, and a struggling student of the Korean language.

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