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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A decent understanding of smart power, and the sum of its parts
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...
Published on 22 Jun 2011 by A. J. Smith

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars American Empire vs. Global Governance
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...
Published on 13 Mar 2011 by David Hillstrom


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars American Empire vs. Global Governance, 13 Mar 2011
This review is from: Future of Power (Hardcover)
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. The US is losing ground economically in the world economy. Consequently, it will not be capable of maintaining its decisive lead in military prowess. Hence, the reliance on soft power will become ever more important. Why not recognize the trend and stand down earlier on the foolish race to maintain military dominance? In any case shouldn't one question the basic premise of Mr. Nye's book? Why is it important that the US maintain the maximum influence possible within the global community? The author never considers calling this unspoken premise into question. Surely there is a moral dilemma here. Hence, I recommend a more radical perspective on the issue of American power, such as that presented by Andrew J. Bacevich in his excellent book, Washington Rules.

David Hillstrom
Author of The Bridge
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A decent understanding of smart power, and the sum of its parts, 22 Jun 2011
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A. J. Smith (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Future of Power (Kindle Edition)
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. This takes many forms, ranging from the attractiveness of a country to foreign students, the popularity of its cultural exports, or the reception of its hosting of major events, such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Nye cautions that the imprudent use of hard power, such as the 2003 Iraq War, and incidents such as Abu Ghraib and the ongoing prison at Guantanamo Bay have been detrimental to American soft power, and has had an adverse affect on the psychological dimension of warfare, serving as a means of terrorist recruitment.
To students of political science and international relations, Joseph Nye is a familiar name, and this latest volume is a welcome addition to the reading lists of political and current affairs enthusiasts, both old and new. Nye's book is a much needed update to international relations theory that is essential reading, regardless of however acquainted one is with the global system.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book, 28 May 2013
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This review is from: Future of Power (Hardcover)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars !!!!, 11 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Future of Power (Paperback)
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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The Future of Power by Joseph S. Nye Jr.
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