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The Future of Power

TheFuture of Power

TheFuture of Power

TheFuture of Power

Accordingto Nye, smart power is the future of the countries that seek toexploit their resources in the international arena. The authorarrived at this conclusion after concluding that power is neithergood nor bad. However, its either extremities can be dangerous.Having too little power resources can hinder a country to obtain thefavorable resources. On the other hand, obtaining too much power canmake some governments be over-confident and assume inappropriatepower conversion. Lord Acton outlined that “power corrupts andabsolute power absolutely” (Nye, 2011). To achieve maximumoutcomes, the United States can apply five recommendations made byNye that are consistent with the aspects of smart power. In the 21stcentury, the narrative of smart power deviates from maximizing powerand preserving hegemony to devising methods of combining resourcesinto successful strategies. Since the United States is a major playerin the international affairs it must be a model in the adoption ofsmart power strategies.

First,the United States must determine its preferred goals and outcomes.The rationale for this is that although the United States is theworld’s superpower, it cannot pursue everything that the governmentwants (Nye, 2011). The resources must be directed towards theactivities that have the most intensive interests to the citizens.For example, the in the 90s, the United States sought to gainmilitary dominance without having any other objective. Nye proposesthis strategy because it can help the administration to understandthe relationship between zero-sum powers and prioritize them over thejoint gains (Nye, 2011).

Nyealso outlines that the smart power strategy for the United Statesmust identify the available resources to be used in differentcontexts (Nye, 2011). The author further explains that an inventoryof the resources is not only necessary but also understanding thetime that they will be available. For example, when engaging in war,the United States should not launch attacks without projecting itscost on the citizens.

Athird strategy proposed by Nye is the consideration of the positionsand preferences of the targets of influence attempts. According toNye (2011), the government through it agencies must determine thepotential of the opponents before engaging in any form of conflict.It is noteworthy that the opponents are likely to change theirpreference. The identification of the malleability and likelihood ofchanging tactics should inform the government actions. Occasionally,the United States engages in preclusive and proactive measures (Nye,2011). Therefore, intelligence can play a significant role ingathering information about the changes in preparation made by foes.

Thefourth strategy involves identifying the forms of power behaviorsthat are likely to succeed in different situations. This approach ofsmart power ensures efficiency and cost control. The United States,according to Nye must command the behavior of hard power with settingagendas and promoting co-optive behavior. The tendencies should alsobe evaluated for competition and reinforcement (Nye, 2011). Lastly,the possibility of success for the strategies assumed by the stateshould be assessed for their probability of success. The rationalefor this is that with the power that the United States, it ispossible to engage in noble causes that can have extreme consequencesif care is not taken. There is a danger of courting extreme optimismwithout the possibility of success.

Critiquingthe Strategies

First,it is noteworthy that Nye’s position as a long-serving diplomat hasexposed him to various situations. Therefore, the strategies heproposes for the United States are well thought and analyzed. Forexample, understanding the outcomes of any given action by thegovernment is a primary strategy that should guide decision makingespecially in foreign affairs (Nye, 2011). The United States shouldnot be dragged into any war in the world as a show of dominancewithout having the interest of the citizens in mind. Additionally,the assessing the probability of success in the actions taken by thegovernment is imperative since it is not possible to overlook thepossibility or war. Although the United States has a robust militarypower, it should not engage in war without the chances of emergingsuccessful. Therefore, I do not consider any of the five strategiesinadequate or misleading in any way.

Whatcan be added to the Strategy?

AlthoughNye ingenious strategy can outline the country’s path for smartpower, it would be imperative to seek a healthy internationalrelationship. Through its diplomatic missions, the government hasextended its interest across the world. Also, there are other risingeconomic and military powers including China, Russia, Iran, andBrazil. Considering that majority of these have various disagreementswith the United States, there is a need to seek international peacerather than war. Although the United States is still the superpower,it should combine it resources to create strong alliances across theglobe. Furthermore, there is a need to be calculative when seekingthe interest of the citizens, something that Nye did not mention. Forexample, in the case of North Korea, the government is likely tolaunch preclusive attacks in future if the country does not cease itsnuclear production and testing. A calculative strategy will involveputting pressure on the country through the United Nations and theNon-Proliferation Treaty. Such situations will avoid a direct contactwith the obstinate countries and lift the burden of a direct war onthe citizens.

Conclusively,the 21st-century governments should work towards strengthening smartpower because it not only seeks efficiency in the use of resourcesand influence and puts the interest of the citizens first. The fivestrategies proposed by Nye advocates for the identification ofoutcomes and the resources required in given settings. The diplomatalso advises on assessing the potential of the targets to changetheir preferences, the forms of behaviors that are likely to succeedand the probability of emerging victorious. Although the strategiesare viable for America, the government should also use its resourcesto strengthen international peace and alliances to avoid instances ofwar.


Nye,Joseph S. Jr. (2011). TheFuture of Power.New York, NY: Public Affairs.