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Maxim Bratersky1, Andrei Skriba 2
  • 1 HSE, 17 M. Ordynka str., Moscow, 119017, Russia
  • 2 HSE, 17 M. Ordynka str., Moscow, 119017, Russia

Soft Power Concept in U.S. Foreign Strategy

2014. Vol. 9. No. 2. P. 130–144 [issue contents]

The article deals with the soft power component in U.S. foreign strategy as both a concept and a mechanism. In the last two decades, the use of soft power has increased because of numerous restrictions on hard power. The authors distinguish between a country’s (inherent) passive soft power and its active, activity-based part, and discuss the methods of applying soft power to practical policy. They find that soft power has a long-term and less operational character, is difficult to manage and does not serve the resolution of tactical foreign policy issues. At the same time, soft power is more effective than hard power in some instances, such as when a more permanent outcome is sought.

In the last decade the United States has used its soft power more actively and purposefully. While it has always possessed significant passive soft power, actively promulgated its ideals and tried to maintain a favourable image abroad, the United States began paying special attention to soft power after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the war of terror began. Today the U.S. government is effectively combining the soft and hard power used by its different agencies.

U.S. soft power has been applied intensively to the post-Soviet region, because public and political life there is commonly marked by a vacuum of values and ideas, giving the United States the opportunity to fill it.

Consequently, Russia should study US best practices in the use of soft power and apply them not to counter U.S. influence in the region but rather to project its own influence on the post-Soviet space. 

Citation: Bratersky M., Skriba A. (2014) Soft Power Concept in U.S. Foreign Strategy. International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 9, no 2, pp. 130-144 (in Russian).
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