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Smart power

Speak softly, carry a big stick

Via the Foreign Policy blog, I learn of a new “policy initiative” from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. It’s called smart power, defined thus:

smart power (n) the effective integration of ‘hard power’ — our military might — and ‘soft power’ — our ability to wield influence by attraction and persuasion.

As FP‘s Blake Hounshell aptly comments:

“Soft power,” unfortunately, sounds to many like weakness. Nobody wants to be weak. People do, however, want to be smart. Smart move, CSIS.

It reminds me of that Douglas Coupland riff about the name Microsoft – shouldn’t it be Macro-Hard? But what Hounshell is perhaps too polite to point out is the further implication — that hitherto the US has been engaged in wielding stupid power.

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