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Locher: Soft power prevents costly conflict

December 9, 2010

Since the end of the Cold War, the utility of “soft power” in addressing the complex challenges of the 21st century has greatly increased. Against the ambiguous threats of nonstate aggressors, traditional applications of “hard power” have limited success and often produce adverse consequences. America has been dreadfully slow to recognize the needed shift in emphasis. Our strategy and resourcing still emphasize military force, which continues to be our preferred instrument of power. We have neglected nonmilitary instruments, especially diplomacy and development. Serious attention must be given to strengthening these instruments and rebalancing our national security toolbox. Given our troubled financial situation, soft power’s economy of effort is even more important. Soft power offers an economical ounce of prevention while hard power delivers an expensive pound of cure. For increased effectiveness and efficiency, soft power is the answer.

– Jim Locher, President and CEO

This is from a series of posts by our staff in response to this question: What role should soft power play in 21st century national security?

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