Is America’s Soft Power Declining?

Joseph Nye defines soft power as a states’ ability to attract others by the legitimacy of the country’s policies and the values that underlie them. But due to rise of anti-American sentiment, the influence of the United State’s soft power is not as strong as it once was. The ability to attract and co-opt rather than coerce, soft power has been an integral aspect of many public diplomacy strategies. Yet foreign attitudes have had a negative outlook on American politics. Skeptics believe Washington’s policies have stalled global prosperity, with top-down ineffective strategies regarding the environment, conflicts, global poverty, and other major issues facing our world. 

It is essential that the United States shifts the way it is perceived by the rest of the world. In order to achieve its foreign policy objectives, the United States needs public diplomacy programs that create a cohesive and cooperative environment for mutual understanding. Attracting enemies should not be a goal, especially when dealing with new threats in our globalized society such as cyber security and transnational threats that require the assistance of multiple foreign actors together. 

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