While power is the capacity to direct the behaviour of others through any means necessary, ‘soft power’, a term first coined by Joseph Nye in 1990, is essentially power without the use of coercion or force.

Ravale Mohydin 7 October 2019

When it comes to countries’ soft power, Nye believed that it “rests primarily on three resources: its culture in places where it is attractive to others; its political value when it lives up to them at home and abroad; and its foreign politics when they are seen as legitimate and having moral authority”.

Soft power can translate into effective public diplomacy ie the process whereby a country seeks to build trust and understanding by engaging with a broader foreign public beyond governmental relations.

Pakistan appears to have very little soft power globally, which is usually achieved through public diplomacy efforts. This is due to a variety of reasons, disregarding the political imbroglios the country has found itself in over the years, including a lack of a clear national brand and missing market-able public diplomacy assets. This is despite the existence of sizeable Pakistani diasporas, the world’s lingua franca being Pakistan’s ‘official’ language and a population of over 200 million diverse people from a plethora of cultures — all really potent ingredients for a powerful punch of soft power.


*This article was originally published on Dawn

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