Thursday, February 13, 2003
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Is American soft Power on the wane?
Saying that the U.S. is the global hegemon is obvious. One obvious source of that hegemony is our military might, but there are others, as Josef Joffe pointed out a few years ago:
That jibes with this definition of soft power as well.
Now, many are fretting that as the U.S. increases its exercise of hard power -- you know, the whole war on terrorism and all that kerfuffle over Iraq -- that our soft power will decline, just because of the global resentment such actions create.
Charles Paul Freund and Shekhar Kapur also argue that U.S. soft power is on the wane, but for different reasons. They argue that, contra Benjamin Barber, that demand for indigenous culture is increasing, making U.S. exports, like Hollywood films, less compelling. Kapur (who was the director of Elizabeth) concludes:
Now is normally the time in my posts where I weigh in on whether these claims are true of not. In this case, however, I will confess that I'm just not sure. I think the above arguments are exaggerations, in part because the U.S. economy remains so dynamic compared to our competitors, and because just as broadcast networks remain relevant in a world of disparate cable channels, American culture will remain relevant in a multiculti world. But I can't deny they've got some good arguments. And I automatically tend to sympathize with any argument that proves that Jihad vs. McWorld is a load of dingo's kidneys.posted by Dan on 02.13.03 at 03:19 PM