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Books / Book Chapters

Soft power and US foreign policy: theoretical, historical and contemporary perspectives / edited by Inderjeet Parmar and Michael Cox
Print Location: 327.73 S681
1. Future of soft power in US foreign policy
2. Soft power and strategy: developing a 'strategic' concept of power 
3.Challenging elite anti-Americanism in the Cold War: American foundations, Kissinger's Harvard Seminar and the Salzburg Seminar in American studies
4. Technologicalleadership and American soft power
5. Military use of soft power-information campaigns: the challenge of application, their audiences and effects
6. Public diplomacy and the information war on terror
7. Soft power in an era of US decline
8. Cheques and balances: the European Union's soft power
9. Myth and reality of China's 'soft power' 


In Search of Soft Power: Does Foreign Public Opinion Matter for US Foreign Policy? / Benjamin E.Goldsmith and Yusaku Horiuchi
World Politics. 64, 3 (Jul 2012): 555-585.

Abstract:Does “soft power” matter in international relations? Specifically, when the United States seeks cooperation from countries around the world, do the views of their publics about US foreign policy affect the actual foreign policy behavior of these countries? The authors examine this question using multinational surveys covering fifty-eight countries, combined with information about their foreign policy decisions in 2003, a critical year for the US. They draw their basic conceptual framework from Joseph Nye, who uses various indicators of opinion about the US to assess US soft power. But the authors argue that his theory lacks the specificity needed for falsifiable testing. They refine it by focusing on foreign public opinion about US foreign policy, an underemphasized element of Nye's approach. Their regression analysis shows that foreign public opinion has a significant and large effect on troop commitments to the war in Iraq, even after controlling for various hard power factors. It also has significant, albeit small, effects on policies toward the International Criminal Court and on voting decisions in the UN General Assembly. These results support the authors' refined theoretical argument about soft power: public opinion about US foreign policy in foreign countries does affect their policies toward the US, but this effect is conditional on the salience of an issue for mass publics.
Logics of narrative and networks in US public diplomacy: Communication power and US strategic engagement / Craig Hayden
The Journal of International Communication, 19, 2 (2013): 196-218.

Abstract: This article examines the evolving concept of power in the rhetorical assumptions warranting US public diplomacy and strategic communication as evidenced in contemporary policy discourse. The shift toward ‘engagement’ across US institutions responsible for international communication increasingly reflects some awareness of how crucial audiences for public diplomacy are organized in relation to the media they consume, and how audiences are connected as networks. These developments may necessitate wholly different forms of persuasive discourse that account for the network context of influence in public diplomacy. The rhetoric of a mediated public diplomacy would account for the changing ecology of international communication, and likewise reflect different conceptions of what is strategically possible: how public diplomacy can accommodate or manage foreign policy objectives.
Political utilisation of scholarly ideas: the 'clash of civilisations' vs. 'Soft Power' in US foreign policy / Johan Eriksson and Ludvig Norman
Review of International Studies  37.1 (Jan 2011): 417-436
Abstract: This article discusses how and under what conditions ideas coming from International Relations (IR) scholarship are used in foreign policy. We argue that the focus on policy relevance, which dominates the IR literature on the research-policy interface, is limited. Focusing instead on political utilisation highlights types and mechanisms of political impact, which are overlooked in studies on policy relevance. The fruitfulness of this change in focus is showed in an analysis of how Samuel Huntington's 'clash of civilizations' notion and Joseph Nye's 'soft power' concept have been used in US foreign policy. George W. Bush's explicit critique and reframing of 'the clash' thesis should not be interpreted as absence of impact, but as a significant symbolic utilisation, which has helped legitimate US foreign policy. Likewise, in the few instances in which the notion of 'soft power' has been used explicitly, it has played a conceptual and symbolical rather than instrumental role. More generally, this article argues that accessible framing and paradigm compatibility are essential for political utilisation of ideas. [publication abstract]
Soft power and public diplomacy: The new frontier for public relations and international communication between the US and China / Jan Servaes
Public Relations Review. 38, 5 (December 2012): 643–651.

Abstract: The underlying assumption is that a gradual change in economic and financial power will also lead to changes in ‘soft power’ like media communication, public relations, public opinion, public diplomacy and (new and old) media consumption. In other words, culture and mass communication play a significant role in shaping the dialogue between organizations and publics in different countries in general, and between the US and China in particular.
New ways to conceptualize and study Public Relations and News, Public Diplomacy, International Communication, and Crisis Communication are being introduced.
The Clinton Legacy: How Will History Judge the Soft-Power Secretary of State? / Michael Hirsh
Foreign Affairs. 92, 3 (May-Jun 2013): 82-91.

Abstract: In late January, only a few days after his second inauguration, US President Barack Obama delivered a surprisingly fond farewell to his old political rival Hillary Clinton. Sitting for a joint interview with the outgoing secretary of state on 60 Minutes, Obama lauded their great collaboration. By any standard measure of diplomacy, Clinton will be remembered as a highly competent secretary of state, but not a great one. Despite her considerable star power around the world, her popularity at home, and her reputation for being on the right side of most issues, she left office without a signature doctrine, strategy, or diplomatic triumph. Asked what she most enjoyed about the job, she replied that it's the slow and steady progress that she thinks provides a much firmer footing for Americans. Slow and steady progress is not necessarily the stuff of greatness. But it is valuable nonetheless, and it may be what, in the end, the world will remember most about Clinton's tenure as the country's top diplomat.
The disjunction of image and word in US and Chinese soft power projection / Robert Albro

International Journal of Cultural Policy. 21,4 (2015): 382-399.
Abstract:This article compares US and Chinese national soft power strategies, using the cases of the US Shared Values Initiative for the Middle East in the aftermath of 9–11 and the present operation of Chinese Confucius Institutes in the US. Comparing these two national programs, I describe a consistent disjunction between visual image and spoken word for each. Regardless of variations in national approaches to soft power, this disconnect between seeing and talking is a limitation of soft power as a cultural tool of diplomatic communication. First, public diplomats’ unexamined folk theories about culture’s instrumental role in messaging emphasize spectacle in ways inimical to reciprocal engagement. Second, as a cultural policy of display, soft power image projection discourages opportunities for inter-cultural dialogue. Third, government-sponsored national image management and branding are often controversial elsewhere, in the process touching off boundary-patrolling public debates instead of helping to build international relationships.
The future role of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region: dead end or crossroads? / Tang Xiaosong

Australian Journal of International Affairs. 66, 5 (2012): 592-605.
Abstract: The Asia-Pacific remains a region of central importance for US foreign policy. In this vital region, core US geopolitical, security and economic interests intersect. US policy in the Asia-Pacific not only seeks to maintain and develop its security and economic relationships with long-standing allies and partners, but also to confront its most powerful rival and competitor, China. Offshore balancing has always been a very important, and mostly effective, way for the United States to protect its interests in different regions. Currently, the United States is building more comprehensive engagement in the Asia-Pacific in an attempt to balance against increasing Chinese power and influence in the region. The leading edge of this approach is a more comprehensive suite of diplomatic initiatives aiming to integrate defence, diplomacy and development. This is the framework for Obama's Smart Power strategy, which seeks to employ both the hard and soft power assets held by the United States, but in reality it is just another manifestation of offshore balancing strategy.

The Soft Power Currencies of US Navy Hospital Ship Missions / Larissa Forster

International Studies Perspectives. 16, 4 (November 2015): 367–387
Abstract: The Tsunami in South-East Asia in 2004 prompted the largest military disaster response in history. Encouraged by the success, increasing attention has been paid to the various humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities conducted by US armed forces. Since 2006, the US Navy deploys one of its two large hospital ships in annual missions to either Central and South America or the Asia–Pacific region to provide people in need with free care. These missions offer many opportunities to increase the soft power capital of the United States by forging ties with host nation governments and improving the image of the United States within the local population. However, this article argues that we need more research on the impact of humanitarian assistance to justify a continuation in a fiscally constrained environment.

U.S. Soft Power and the “China Threat”: Multilevel Analyses / Satoshi Machida
Asian Politics & Policy. 2, 3 (July-September 2010): 351–370

AbstractThis study investigates the impact of U.S. “soft power” in the international system. Specifically, it examines how American soft power affects individuals' perceptions of the “China threat.” Based on the theoretical model developed by Rousseau (2006), the present research considers how citizens develop their perceptions of China in relation to the United States. Multilevel analyses relying on the Pew Global Attitudes Project 2007 verify the view highlighting the compatibility of these two states in the international system. The analyses find that the diffusion of U.S. soft power in each state significantly reduces the urgency of the China threat. Implications from this study contribute to our understanding of U.S-China relations in rapidly changing international environments.

Theses / Dissertations

Social media and the advancement of America's soft power by public diplomacy / William T. Colona
Georgetown University, 2012.

Abstract: For hundreds of years, countries have engaged in diplomatic relations in order to advance their national interests. Most people think of diplomacy in the traditional sense, which is characterized by government bodies or officials communicating with each other. Since the last century, however, there has been increased emphasis on the practice of public diplomacy, which involves governments communicating with foreign citizens in order to alter their attitudes. The United States still uses traditional means of diplomacy, as well as twentieth-century tools of public diplomacy, such as the use of radio broadcasts, specifically by means of the Voice of America, but recent events such as the Arab Spring suggest that embracing new forms of media is an effective means of conducting public diplomacy. This thesis shows how the United States government has used new media in public diplomacy, and how it currently uses social media to advance its soft power, which according to Joseph S. Nye, Jr., is "the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments" and "arises from a country's culture, political ideals and policies."1 The social media to be examined consist primarily of social networking sites, weblogs, and social videos. The effectiveness of new media throughout history will be compared to the new media of today, demonstrating how social media is among the most important component of contemporary discussions on US public diplomacy.
Soft power strategies in US foreign policy: Assessing the impact of citizen diplomacy on foreign states' behavior / Stephen Macharia Magu
Old Dominion University, 2013.

Abstract: This dissertation empirically demonstrates that the isolated effects of citizen diplomacy correlate positively with foreign policy behavior as a non-military, foreign policy strategic option. The dissertation also finds that soft power, of which citizen diplomacy is a key component, is a viable foreign policy strategy. The findings are important to the academy and to the foreign policy-making process for states in search of effective, non-military strategies that leverage foreign state needs and attributes to achieve their foreign policy goals. Using a mixed methods approach, the dissertation investigates the correlation between Peace Corps Volunteers (citizen diplomat) placement and congruent voting with the US at the UN General Assembly. The question of interest is, do citizen diplomat recipient countries vote more with the US at the UN General Assembly? Is there a difference in countries' voting patterns on key votes than on all votes, and what are the implications of congruent voting behavior for US foreign policy?
I develop several hypotheses and test for the effects of citizen diplomacy through four models: the omnibus, factors of bilateral attraction, host country variables and temporal and regional effects models. Using data from two sources, first, Voeten and Strehnev and second, Dreher, Strum and Vreeland, I find that in twelve of the sixteen models, citizen diplomacy is positively correlated with congruent voting with the US at the UN General Assembly. Countries vote more with the US at the UN on key votes than they do on all UN General Assembly votes (observed in seven of eight models). The level of democracy is positively correlated with congruent voting in four of eight models and also positively signed. The level of globalization, GDP per capita and region are important explanans for voting in congruence with the US at the UN General Assembly. As expected, failed states vote less in congruence with the US at the UN.
These findings are augmented by case studies based on three qualitative models. The issue linkages model finds that the US links citizen diplomacy to its national security interests. The interpersonal model finds that citizen diplomats affect foreign policy through individuals and elites. The foreign policy approach finds that citizen diplomats have contributed to building and changing national infrastructure and development and thereby countries' foreign policy trajectory. The dissertation concludes that citizen diplomacy matters: there is a positive and strong correlation between citizen diplomacy and foreign policy behavior of recipient states towards the US. As a soft-power strategy, citizen diplomacy is a viable foreign policy option.
Soft power, NGOs, and the US War on Terror / Layla Saleh
The University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, 2012
Abstract: Bringing together foreign policy literature and INGO (international non-governmental organization) scholarship, this dissertation seeks to explain geographic and temporal variation in the US government's use of hard, soft and smart power in the War on Terror. Making an important theoretical contribution, I revise Nye's concept of soft power, more rigorously conceptualizing it as a consciously-utilized strategy employing methods other than hard power (military or economic sanctions) to influence a target government or population to enhance US interests. Soft power is a strategic means of achieving a foreign policy goal. I conceptualize smart power as including both soft and hard power, whose proportions will vary by context. I argue that the US executive begins its counter-terrorism strategizing with an assessment of the terrorist threat from a particular country. The US executive will use hard power to fight a short-term terrorist threat, soft power to fight a long-term terrorist threat, and smart (i.e., combined) power to fight a combined threat. The political, economic, and NGO regulatory context of a country also influence the kind and degree of soft power the US executive uses in countries posing a long-term or combined threat, ultimately influencing the smart power makeup of US counter-terrorism strategy in such countries. I examine a particular form of US soft power: government funding of NGOs. I explore the theoretical and empirical interest of NGOs, arguing that US soft or smart power utilizing NGOs will be impacted by their goals, capabilities, and the government's relationship with them. Employing qualitative methods, I provide a big-picture overview of US strategy in the War on Terror, as well as country case studies of US strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This project presents and tests a relevant, innovative, integrated theory of US foreign policy strategizing, making theoretical and empirical contributions to foreign policy and INGO literatures.