Should “soft power” be added to the traditional list of elements of national power Essay

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Using the references presented, answer the question below in 240 words.

Q1) I have argued that the elements of national power reflected in D.I.M.E. have not changed, but their content and relative importance is dynamic. Soft power is not traditionally recognized as an element of national power because it is cultural and not easily “used” but flows of its own accord. The Soviet Union was occasionally successful in using the philosophical tenets of Marx and Lenin to create conditions favorable to its national interests.
Two questions:
1- Should “soft power” be added to the traditional list of elements of national power (e.g., D.I.M.E.S.) and
2- Can a democracy effectively use its “soft” power without becoming totalitarian?

Q2- (65 words ) Read the following comments and write your opinion ( Why you agree with this comments or why not ACCORDING TO the references presented above in the first question. “Your comments must be substantive, meaning that you are adding something new and thoughtful to the discussion. It’s not sufficient to say you agree or disagree. Explain why.”

1. Should “soft power” be added to the traditional list of elements of national power (D.I.M.E.S.)? 
2. Can a democracy effectively use its “soft” power without becoming totalitarian? 

Bottom line up front – my opinion. Should “soft power” be added to the traditional list of elements of national power: diplomatic, informational, military, economic, soft power (DIMES)? The short answer is yes, it will not hurt. However, it could be successfully argued that soft power is already imbedded in the national powers of diplomacy, information, and economics, and to some extent in the military when they are part of nation building and providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. 

Can a democracy effectively use its “soft” power without becoming totalitarian? This answer is definitely “no,” all nations do not play by the same rules. We have gone from conventional wars in solving world problems to an era of persistent conflict in which there are good guys and bad guys that are trying to bring harm to the US and its allies. Emerging global trends show the conditions for this state of persistent conflict, which will continue to require the use of the military. It must be noted, however, that there is a great potential for cascading effects from a combination of events or crises arising from the following trends and also compound the risk and global implications for the US and its allies: 1) Global Communication; 2) Radicalism; 3) Population Growth; 4) Resource Competition; 5) Climate Change and Natural Disasters; 6) Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction; 7) Safe Havens; and 8) Failed or Failing States (1) The use of soft power can assist greatly in these areas; however, it will not be the remedy to all situations. In President Theodore Roosevelt’s own words, “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”(2) 

And now for the rest of the story and let’s begin with China. Soft Power: “The Ability to obtain what you want through co-option and attraction,” (3), “to affect others to obtain the preferred outcomes..”(4) China, under President Hu Jintao has been exporting soft power to all nations of the continents during the last few years. China has been providing many types of social services, ranging from free medical help, building of schools and homes, and helping with improving nations’ infrastructures. Examples of these services could be easily seen in South America, the Caribbean islands, and many parts of Africa and Asia. Cuba has been conducting soft powers for many decades. In particular, Cuba has been providing doctors and engineers to assist many nations. This too is evident throughout the Caribbean, South America and Africa. In return, China and Cuba are highly respected for their work towards humanity – never mind if both countries may have other motives. Soft power is effective. It works. 

On the other hand, President Bush ignored the importance of soft power. The President did not feel that the war on terrorism depended on Washington’s capacity to persuade others without force, a capacity that continued to be in dangerous decline. (2) Many nations continue to exhibit Anti-Americanism, a feeling that had significantly increased in recent years, and in particular during the last eight years under President Bush’s administration. The US’s soft power and its ability to attract others by legitimacy of US policies and the values associated with them have continued to be in decline. Many nations believed that Washington hindered efforts to maintain peace, protect the environment, and help global poverty. The US would be forced to act otherwise in the form of coercion or payment to achieve its goals if soft power is under cut. 

There is good news however; the US has always been seen as a caring nation, a nation that always help during disasters such the Indian Ocean tsunami, earthquakes in South America, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Mexico, and even in China, just to name a few. The US has always been there to assist people and nation in time of needs. This type of soft power always help the US to restore is attractiveness. The US was seen as having encouraged the tragedy in Bosnia because short of the Dayton Peace Accord, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and bombing of innocent citizens (market shopping) were the daily norm. CNN showed live links to the tragedy directly to the family room of the American people, who were disgusted at what they say. Worse, they were disgusted that the US leadership had looked the other way while people perished. This was not the American way. After all America remembered the Holocaust, the depression, and pains associated with such tragedies. They forced lawmakers and America’s leadership to act – fast and effective, the result, which became the Dayton Peace Accord. 

If anyone that is the best at soft power, it is the US. We have been doing this throughout history. In the military, we refer to it as psychological operations, which are used to win the heart and mind of the people, and we have done this with great success. It must be noted that the last eight years under President Bush should not serve as the defining moment for the United States. In my opinion, I believe that our great Constitution was ripped apart to serve a “personal” agenda vice what was or what is still good for our beloved country, the great US of A. I say this because I am a naturalized citizen of the US. I volunteered for the draft at eighteen years of age to become a US citizen of this great land. I went on to serve 26 years in the Army as an enlisted, warrant and commissioned officer. I did this not only to secure my family and myself, but more important, the fact is that I love my country that has done so much for me (and others). However, I was not personally satisfied at the way the county was run during the last eight years. 

Super power does need permanent allies. The US is the sole super power and it needs to build coalitions to solve the world problems. President Obama is quite correct in stating that the US cannot solve all world problems and leaders of other nations will have to step up to assist in solving global issues. Clearly there may be occasions that may force the US to go-it-alone without the world’s approval. Most nations did not agree that the US had sufficient evidence to seek and destroy weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq. General Colin Powell as Secretary of State did not convince anyone at the UN and showed no conclusive evidence for the UN to support the US invasion. I am of the opinion that there was a personal agenda and I hope that history will bear me out. Clearly, no conclusive evidence existed to support a US invasion. The US found no WMD in Iraq; however, President Saddam Hussein was captured, found guilty of genocide and hung. This was not in the mandate for the US invasion of Iraq. 

On the other hand, on October 25, 1983, President Ronald Reagan ordered US Marines, Army Rangers, Navy Special Warfare teams, and other military forces during Operation Urgent Fury to invade Grenada to take over the tiny Caribbean Island by “a brutal group of leftist thugs.” US troops, along with a small force from six Caribbean nations, overcame a surprisingly strong resistance from Cubans, who supported the island’s new regime. A day after the invasion, the troops began evacuating 1,100 US citizens on the island. The point to be made here is the fact that President Reagan showed the evidence to the American people. He showed where Cuba had installed their weapons throughout the island of Grenada in asking the American people and the Congress for permission to begin the military operation. President Bush failed to provide any conclusive evidence of WMD in Iraq. 

In sum, the US has the ability to use soft power in order to affect others to obtain the preferred outcomes from the resources that may produce those outcomes. While soft power is a relationship between the US and another nation, it is understandable that relationship will vary with different situations. Meaningful statements about soft power must always specify the context in which the resources may be converted in behavior. (6) It appears that the Obama administration may use more soft power in order to “win friends and influence people,” as Vincent Lombardi would say. President Obama’s decision to cancel the defense shield in Eastern Europe is but a small example of soft power vice challenging Russia via hard power. The US’s nose may have been bloodied for some good reasons in the past due to our attitude of ultimate supremacy; however, a new administration is trying the route of soft power diplomacy to see how this strategy would be effective. Whether or not soft power should be added to the traditional list of elements of national power (DIMES), it would not hurt, though it could be argued that its already imbedded as a subcomponent of DIME. 



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