The Overnight Success of “Smart Power” (That Was Years in the Making)
“I believe that American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted,” she said. “We must use what has been called smart power, the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural… With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy.”
As explained in The Cable,
the framing of “smart power” was, so far as we can determine, actually introduced into the public sphere by former deputy to the U.S. mission at the U.N. Suzanne Nossel…
Suzanne, who is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Human Rights Watch (and a friend of mine) wrote a 2004 article in Foreign Affairs entitled “Smart Power” that set out her conception of the term. She has a further take on it here, in part describing it “as a synthesis of hard and soft, arguing that America’s military and economic preeminence and its cultural and ideological appeal need to be tied together in a brand of power that reinforces both.”
While Clinton’s use of the term turned it into a bon mot literally overnight, “smart power” as a concept has been getting wider and wider usage in recent years. Harvard’s Joe Nye, (who had also used the term “smart power” in his 2004 book “Soft Power“) further explored the idea of smart power when he founded the the CSIS Commission on Smart Power in 2006. John Edwards talked about smart power in 2007, saying:
“We need to re-engage the world with the full weight of our moral leadership,” Mr. Edwards said, in excerpts of his speech obtained from his campaign. “Not hard power. Not soft power. Smart power.”
Here on Opinio Juris, this past November Peggy had blogged about smart power and Obama’s foreign policy.
So, it has taken about five years for “smart power” to be an overnight success. And now we will see how the concept is actually operationalized.