Should America Use 'Soft Power' in the Middle East?

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In the aftermath of World War II, the United States was known for generosity to allies and former enemies. Lately, the US is seen as an international bully as President Bush and his neo-conservative advisors project America's "hard power" militarily and economically. Now, isolated and overstretched, as the wars grind on in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US is losing the battles even some Administration officials now say should be fought with "soft power."  Even Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a recent reference to this prime American asset when he said that American has "a variety of tools. Not all of them are hammers."  What is "soft power?" Are Iran and China beating the US at what used to be its own game? How could "soft power" serve America's interests in a world of terrorism and nuclear weapons?




Warren Olney