Getting smart with public diplomacy (2)

14:04, March 26, 2010      

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Promotes soft power and smart power
Joseph Nye, a well-known American scholar, is credited as the first to propose the concept of soft power. He theorized that soft power exerts its function because of its own attraction but does not force others to act against their will. In 2009, starting from the theoretical basis of soft power, he developed the smart power concept. A newspaper reporter recently interviewed him on questions of relations between public diplomacy and the national soft power, as well as the characteristic of public diplomacy in the new time.

Soft power is carried out by direct and indirect ways. It has vital important indirect influence through establishing a certain kind of environment, which is usually divided into "two steps" pattern: public diplomacy affects the general public and they affected their leader in turn. Public opinion always tries to create some possible and impossible conditions to influence the political elites on some concrete policy issues, so the soft power can only be achieved through public diplomacy.

The power of the global information age includes the soft power, which is based on prestige and influence, and the hard power, which is manifested through coercion and penalty. The power which can unify soft power and hard power is smart power. Thus the public diplomacy is a very important tool for smart power. Implementing artful public diplomacy needs good understanding of reliability, the status and role of self criticism, as well as the role of "civil society" in the process of implementing soft power. What we need to pay more attention is that public diplomacy which appears to be propaganda weakens soft power. And soft power should be built on the foundation of the understanding of other people's ideas, because the best public diplomacy should be always bidirectional.

By People's Daily Online
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