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Saturday, November 8, 2008

President Obama and the Return of Soft Power

I'm not the first to notice this factor and I'll post some links below which we can examine together since I have not yet read other articles on this topic.

It's a good think piece for this first Sunday after the election.

I'll keep my comments focused on one example so we can move on to what the real thinkers think and you can compare my take with theirs.

Imagine for a moment that you are a citizen of Tehran, Iran. You may not have been out dancing in the streets last Tuesday night but you certainly know who Barack Obama is and you know that he has peacefully overthrown the American government by winning a decisive democratic vote of confidence from the American people.

You know that Obama risked his candidacy by expressing his willingness to resolve conflicts in the interest of peace.

Consider what this means to Iran's president Ahmadinijad, whose own government has been recently been rocked by scandal. Consider the superficially gracious and yet slightly pointed letter he sent to president elect Obama regarding future discussions.

President Ahmadinijad now faces the problem of appearing belligerent in the face of democratic principle and reason. He faces the risk of placing his tenuous hold on government against a world leader who is probably now more popular in his own country (especially among young people) than he is. He and others in the establishment could face a newly energized electorate chanting "Yes We Can" on the streets as they work to further their own Democracy.

This is how President Barack Obama can win the peace we all seek with soft power.

George Bush attempted to impose American will with military might. But ironically Barack Obama and America, with new democratic allies everywhere, are in a position to use this election to drive the change that doesn't come from a gun.

America has shown that all of us are free to rise up and shout, "YES WE CAN".


Joseph Nye - Barack Obama and Soft Power

Joseph Nye II

Galen Fox - Capitalism + Democracy = Peace

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