The relevance of “Soft Power” has become much imperative giving the deterioration witnessed in American foreign policy recently. There is no denying that America has diverged from the rest of the World on critical global matters for some time.
The departure is motivated by Trump’s mantra of “America first.” As a result, multilateral approach to dealing with the World’s connected challenges have plummeted. These challenges range from ecological disruptions, weak global health security, increasing technology misuse, and rising nuclear warfare potential. Iwis, group action has greater potency than a single nation spearheading and seeking a solution on its own. Regrettably, the World has no time at hand, giving that some of these global challenges are imminent and could hit at any time. Indeed, we already are having pockets of direr effects of global challenges happening around the World. It is crucial to state that no single nation is insulated from the ramifications of these global commons.
In the convoluting geopolitical space, “Soft Power”- a term coined by Dr. Joseph Nye Jr., [a persuasive approach to international relations, typically involving the use of economic or cultural influence] becomes paramount and beneficial to humanity. Put bluntly, America must start to provide leadership and come to the table with the rest of the World to find solutions to humanity’s challenges today and tomorrow. Using such “Soft Power” could also nudge those who do not ascribe to global norms vital to future human existence to begin to support such agendas.
Using “Soft Power” will likely gain America international prominence and give the rest of the World confidence to trust America again. Soft Power has been at the core of Japanese foreign policy for a long time. That country has gained the respect of comity of nations because it hardly adopts “hard power” in the conduct of its international relations. It instead appeals to the “hearts and minds” of countries that engage with them and supports areas that are critical to those countries and at the same time satisfy the interest of Japan through such engagements.
However, we are mindful of the many domestic issues President-Elect- Joe Biden will face right from day one of his presidency. Regardless of these domestic challenges, there is no denying that a significant effort will be devoted to rebuilding the American brand, which has been badly hurt by the current administration. Of course, his immediate attention will be to turn the corner on COVID-19 pandemic and reduce mortality from the virus in America and by extension, the rest of the World. He will also be eager and rapid with fiscal reforms to protect vulnerable Americans and take sustainable steps to reduce unemployment from their current high levels. He is again expected to make the provision of adequate security for all Americans a top priority. Gun control will undoubtedly feature in the security agenda of President Biden.
On the agenda of “building back America,” we anticipate that a ferocious diplomatic and PR campaign will be mounted to remedy its dented image and make America the place of choice for all. Truly a “free nation.” This PR narrative will be critical since the America that the Democrats seek to build would be forward-looking and connected to the rest of the World’s aspirations. Biden’s administration will need to re-establish America as a global hegemony and court international appeal for Americans and American interest. America will need to re-establish that it can be trusted by the rest of the World, especially its allies.
America is relevant in this multilateral convo because of its contribution to exacerbating global threats facing humanity today. For instance, America is the second-largest emitter of about 14 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions next only to China- 28 percent. In terms of per capita emission, America is the biggest emitter in the World. Regarding nukes, America is equally important in that discourse. America still possesses many nuclear weapons and has high capabilities in producing and using atomic resources. In technology misuse, the United States faces one of the most significant threats from individuals and state actors. At the same time, America has become a place where cyberattacks on others have been promoted. Lastly, on securing global health security, the ravaging COVID-19 in America and the rest of the World is an ample demonstration of the lax in global healthcare architecture. From this perspective, America cannot preclude itself from multilateral efforts aimed at ameliorating these pressing issues. Rather, America must be making available all support systems- technical, financial and leadership- needed to deal with these challenges.
The “Soft Power” strategy is equally beneficial to America because the underlining motive of the strategy is economic; one that will make America appealing and preferred place for commerce. The plan equally underscores democracy as the most reliable government system and elevates American values to the World. Importantly, respect for all people’s rights regardless of where they come from is central to this approach.
Judging from President Biden’s nominations for appointments this far, our hunch is that emphasizes will be placed on making American democracy the beacon of World. It will also be about America supporting multilateral efforts in health, ecology, human rights, minority rights, reducing global poverty and ameliorating pockets of wars. It will be about promoting fair trade and eliminating child labour wherever they may exist. It will be about science over fiction. It will not be about pitching one group against the other. It will also certainly not be about calling the fourth realm, the “enemy of the people or fake news.” Accountability and transparency in all facets of the global economy would also receive a significant boost under Biden. It will be about collective global voice against depots and making those who abuse their citizens’ rights suffer their actions. Indeed, 2021is anticipated to be good for America and the rest of the World. Let’s all work together and build back the global economy with speed.
Co-Founder, iWatch Africa