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The Future of Power [Kindle Edition]

Joseph S. Nye Jr.
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In the era of Kennedy and Khrushchev, power was expressed in terms of nuclear missiles, industrial capacity, numbers of men under arms, and tanks lined up ready to cross the plains of Eastern Europe. By 2010, none of these factors confer power in the same way: industrial capacity seems an almost Victorian virtue, and cyber threats are wielded by non-state actors. Politics changed, and the nature of power—defined as the ability to affect others to obtain the outcomes you want—had changed dramatically. Power is not static; its story is of shifts and innovations, technologies and relationships.

Joseph Nye is a long-time analyst of power and a hands-on practitioner in government. Many of his ideas have been at the heart of recent debates over the role America should play in the world: his concept of "soft power" has been adopted by leaders from Britain to China; "smart power” has been adopted as the bumper-sticker for the Obama Administration’s foreign policy. This book is the summation of his work, as relevant to general readers as to foreign policy specialists. It is a vivid narrative that delves behind the elusive faces of power to discover its enduring nature in the cyber age.

Product Description


"(E)xcellent...Nye offers an illuminating distillation of the power relationships shaping a world in which the state with the best military can lose to the adversary with the better story."

--The Financial Times

"As power moves from west to east and from the palaces of dictators to the street, it is not just the identities of power brokers that are changing: so is the very meaning of power. No one is better placed to explain these trends than the scholar-statesman Joe Nye... The Future of Power contains important essays on both `cyber power' and `American decline', but what is most useful is Nye's subtle exegesis of the mechanics of more conventional forms of power."
--The New Statesman

"The Future of Power is a concise, forceful statement of what Nye refers to as the liberal realist position in the US academy and in US politics... (which) paints a plausible scenario for the continuance of the US at the heart of the international system."
--The Times Higher Education Supplement

"Nye has a lot of interesting points to make against conventional wisdom in matters geopolitical and cultural..."

About the Author

Joseph Nye is University Distinguished Service Professor and former Dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He has served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Chair of the National Intelligence Council, and Deputy Under Secretary of State. The author of many books, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the British Academy, and the American Academy of Diplomacy.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 797 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1586488910
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; Reprint edition (1 Feb. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004G5Z244
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,361 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars American Empire vs. Global Governance 13 Mar. 2011
The US has, since WWII, been the most powerful and influential country in the world. Following the collapse of the Communist system in 1990 it is the sole super power. Nonetheless, there have been limits to the extension of American power. The most obvious example is the defeat in Vietnam. More recently, in response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the US has become engaged in new wars of occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq. And the prognosis of those state building projects remains uncertain today.

Joseph S. Nye Jr. has provided a new book, The Future of Power, to assess American power and consider the future of America's reach. In some ways this book is an example par excellence of realpolitik. He offers a reasoned approach to assessing the limits of power and provides a methodology, which he terms `smart power,' as a strategy for the successful extension of American influence in the world. He explains that, while the US remains the dominate military power by far, it cannot successfully impose its will on the world order through military might alone. This is, as far as it goes, a rational critique of US policy and its continued reliance upon projected military strength. Indeed the US cannot afford the expense of maintaining military dominance and policing the world. So the author suggests a mix of soft and hard power that are measured against a prioritized list of goals in order to achieve the maximum influence possible. This is the essence of smart power. His advice would certainly be useful, if it were taken to heart by the many old cold-warriors who lead government policy. So from this perspective I think that The Future of Power is a worthy book.

However, in the long run not even smart power will be adequate.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Joseph Nye's timely and informative analysis addresses all the questions one may have asked about the ambiguous term Smart Power and contrasts the various forms of power, whether it is economic power, hard power, or soft power.
Smart Power refers to a combination of all the above, with the addition that each is used prudently. In the wake of the 2003 Iraq War, the 2008 Global Recession, and the ubiquitous speculation of so called American decline, Nye presents an analysis of the US strengths and failures, and the policy recommendations for the way forward.
Unlike many contemporaries, Nye is careful not to exaggerate the rise of China, taking a broader analysis into the reality that the current rate of Chinese economic growth cannot last indefinitely due to China's internal contradictions and demographics, and that the US is unlikely to be surpassed any time soon as the world's hegemon. Rather, Nye, much like Fareed Zakaria, constructs the emergence of a multipolar world, and although with the US likely to remain at the top for sometime, Nye believes that regardless of the leadership in Washington DC, a more multilateral approach to world affairs will come about.
This is much a book about the present and the forms of power as it is a divination project into the future of power. Nye explains the limits of economic power, such as the ineffectiveness of sanctions, the limited power of economic weapons as powerful as oil, and how the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo could not have lasted much longer, due to Arab dependence on Western Markets, and US Security Guarantees.
Soft Power is an altogether different concept, relying on the cultural and ideological attractiveness of a nation and its behaviour.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Easy reading 10 Feb. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not a stuffy academic, book which makes it far more pleasant to read than it could have been, though Nye's work both benefits and suffers from his frequent use of examples to illustrate his points. At some points ruining the flow of his argument, nevertheless this gives the book a nicely weighted feeling.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book 28 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Prof Nye at his best. An brilliant conception of the teorethical suture power but with a lot of practical examples who halp the reader to understand easelly the teorethical fundation. I recomend it for who what's to now the dynamics of the Future of Power.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars !!!! 11 Mar. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The order came earlier in perfect condition. I am very happy with the purchase. 10 from 10. And the book is definitely 'must have' for people interested in US Foreign policy!!!
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