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Is U.S. Soft Power Declining Too?

Mitchell, Lincoln A.

Soft power was a major, and often overlooked, contributor to the U.S. eventual victory in the Cold War, a conflict that was defined by competing visions and ideologies at least as much as by guns and bombs. It also has contributed to many major American foreign policy successes, such as NATO expansion, since the Cold War. However, the possibility that U.S. soft power will decline along with more traditional measures of state power should not be overlooked. Two specific areas where this has already become a concern is the ability of the U.S. to influence decisions made by countries with whom the U.S. should have ample leverage deriving from soft power, as well as the declining role of the U.S. and an example or model for the rest of the world. The latter issue is particularly significant because of the discrepancy how the U.S. views itself as a model and how it is viewed in other countries.

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Academic Units
Harriman Institute
Published Here
October 26, 2011