Soft power is the ability to attract and co-opt, rather than by coercion (hard power), which is using force or giving money as a means of persuasion. Soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. A defining feature of soft power is that it is noncoercive; the currency of soft power is culture, political values, and foreign policies.

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  • Soft power is a concept developed by Joseph Nye of Harvard University to describe the ability to attract and co-opt rather than by coercion (hard power), using force or giving money as a means of persuasion. Soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. A defining feature of soft power is that it is noncoercive; the currency of soft power is culture, political values, and foreign policies. Recently, the term has also been used in changing and influencing social and public opinion through relatively less transparent channels and lobbying through powerful political and non-political organizations. In 2012, Nye explained that with soft power, "the best propaganda is not propaganda", further explaining that during the Information Age, "credibility is the scarcest resource."Joseph Nye coined the term in a 1990 book, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power. In this book, he wrote: “when one country gets other countries to want what it wants-might be called co-optive or soft power in contrast with the hard or command power of ordering others to do what it wants.” He further developed the concept in his 2004 book, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. The term is now widely used in international affairs by analysts and statesmen. For example, the US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke of the need to enhance American soft power by "a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments of national security – diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action and economic reconstruction and development." In 2011, as Xi Jinping was preparing to take power from Hu Jintao, the 17th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party devoted a whole plenary session to the issue of culture, with the final Communiqué declaring that it was a national goal to "build our country into a socialist cultural superpower." And in 2014, Xi announced, "We should increase China's soft power, give a good Chinese narrative, and better communicate China's messages to the world."According to the 2015 Soft Power World Rankings report from Comres, Portland Communications, and Facebook, the United Kingdom currently holds the top spot in soft power, followed by Germany in second place. The top ten is completed by the United States, France, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, Sweden, Netherlands. According to the 2014 Monocle Soft Power Survey, the United States holds the top spot in soft power. The Elcano Global Presence Report scores the European Union highest for soft presence when considered as a whole, and ranks the United States first by sovereign state. It includes China, Russia, Spain and Italy in the top ten. (en)
  • Soft power is a concept developed by Joseph Nye of Harvard University to describe the ability to attract and co-opt rather than by coercion (hard power), using force or giving money as a means of persuasion. Soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. A defining feature of soft power is that it is noncoercive; the currency of soft power is culture, political values, and foreign policies. Recently, the term has also been used in changing and influencing social and public opinion through relatively less transparent channels and lobbying through powerful political and non-political organizations. In 2012, Nye explained that with soft power, "the best propaganda is not propaganda", further explaining that during the Information Age, "credibility is the scarcest resource."Joseph Nye coined the term in a 1990 book, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power. In this book, he wrote: “when one country gets other countries to want what it wants-might be called co-optive or soft power in contrast with the hard or command power of ordering others to do what it wants.” He further developed the concept in his 2004 book, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. The term is now widely used in international affairs by analysts and statesmen. For example, the US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke of the need to enhance American soft power by "a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments of national security – diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action and economic reconstruction and development." In 2011, as Xi Jinping was preparing to take power from Hu Jintao, the 17th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party devoted a whole plenary session to the issue of culture, with the final Communiqué declaring that it was a national goal to "build our country into a socialist cultural superpower." And in 2014, Xi announced, "We should increase China's soft power, give a good Chinese narrative, and better communicate China's messages to the world."According to the 2015 Soft Power World Rankings report from Comres, Portland Communications, and Facebook, the United Kingdom currently holds the top spot in soft power, followed by Germany in second place. The top ten is completed by the United States, France, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, Sweden, Netherlands. According to the 2016 Monocle Soft Power Survey, the United States holds the top spot in soft power. The Elcano Global Presence Report scores the European Union highest for soft presence when considered as a whole, and ranks the United States first by sovereign state. It includes China, Russia, Spain and Italy in the top ten. (en)
  • Soft power is the ability to attract and co-opt, rather than by coercion (hard power), which is using force or giving money as a means of persuasion. Soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. A defining feature of soft power is that it is noncoercive; the currency of soft power is culture, political values, and foreign policies. Recently, the term has also been used in changing and influencing social and public opinion through relatively less transparent channels and lobbying through powerful political and non-political organizations. In 2012, Joseph Nye of Harvard University explained that with soft power, "the best propaganda is not propaganda", further explaining that during the Information Age, "credibility is the scarcest resource."Nye coined the term in a 1990 book, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power. In this book, he wrote: “when one country gets other countries to want what it wants-might be called co-optive or soft power in contrast with the hard or command power of ordering others to do what it wants.” He further developed the concept in his 2004 book, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. The term is now widely used in international affairs by analysts and statesmen. For example, the US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke of the need to enhance American soft power by "a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments of national security – diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action and economic reconstruction and development." In 2011, as Xi Jinping was preparing to take power from General Secretary Hu Jintao, the 17th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party devoted a whole plenary session to the issue of culture, with the final Communiqué declaring that it was a national goal to "build our country into a socialist cultural superpower." And in 2014, Xi announced, "We should increase China's soft power, give a good Chinese narrative, and better communicate China's messages to the world."According to the Soft Power 30, an annual index published by Portland Communications and the USC Center on Public Diplomacy for 2017, found France to have topped the index in soft power. Since indexes for soft power started, the United Kingdom alone has topped the surveys three times, in the ComRes, SoftPower30 and Monocle Soft Power Surveys for 2011, 2012 and 2015 respectively. The rest of the top ten include the United States, Germany, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, and the Netherlands. According to the 2016/17 Monocle Soft Power Survey, the United States holds the top spot in soft power. The Elcano Global Presence Report scores the European Union highest for soft presence when considered as a whole, and ranks the United States first among sovereign states. (en)
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  • Former South Korean president Park Geun-hye. (en)
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  • In the 21st century, culture is power. (en)
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  • Soft power is the ability to attract and co-opt, rather than by coercion (hard power), which is using force or giving money as a means of persuasion. Soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. A defining feature of soft power is that it is noncoercive; the currency of soft power is culture, political values, and foreign policies. (en)
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  • Soft power (en)
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