The limits of hard power.

In politics, hard power is the use of military and economic means to influence the behaviour or interests of other political bodies. This form of political power is often aggressive (coercion), and is most immediately effective when imposed by one political body upon another of lesser military and/or economic power. Hard power contrasts with soft power, which comes from diplomacy, culture and history. Soft power can be wielded not just by states but also by all actors in international politics, such as NGOs or international institutions. A country's soft power, according to Joseph Nye, rests on three resources: 'its culture (in places where it is attractive to others), its political values (when it lives up to them at home and abroad), and its foreign policies (when others see them as legitimate and having moral authority).' Soft power is hampered when policies, culture, or values repel others instead of attracting them and consequently, enforces use of hard power in its place, which mostly and erroneously seems a quick fix. According to an authentic Global Soft Power 2021 Survey (Monocle's), the top ten countries exercising soft powers are Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, United States, France, China, Sweden, and Australia. However, some other international surveys do not include the USA in their list due to excessive use of hard power of military muscles.

According to Nye, hard power involves 'the ability to use the carrots and sticks of economic and military might to make others follow your will'. Here, 'carrots' stand for inducements such as the reduction of trade barriers, the offer of an alliance or the promise of military protection. On the other hand, 'sticks' represent threats-including the use of coercive diplomacy, the threat of military intervention, or the implementation of economic sanctions. The use of hard power is often tedious. Insurgencies and more aptly stiff resistance against the external force can be prominent. The United States has demonstrated a 'hard power' policy with regards to the Iraq war, the Syrian war/ISIL, the Afghanistan war and its continued war on the Taliban, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Iran and even Pakistan.

It is well acknowledged that on its way to becoming a leading global power, the USA mostly relied on use of soft power i.e. relying on the power of example rather than the example of power. Earlier in January 2020, I had written in an article titled 'Hammer Versus Nailhead USA...

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