The Influence of Soft Power in International Affairs
Published October 2, 2018
29 min
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    In the second INSS English-language podcast, Dr. Michal Hatuel-Radoshitzky sits down with Dr. Rob Geist Pinfold to assess the concept of “soft power.” How do actors use non-violent tools of statecraft to further their interests? Soft power is a concept that spans diplomacy, NGOs, civil society, and states, and is often mentioned and discussed. Nevertheless, there is significant disagreement about what soft power actually is, whether it is effective, and what role it plays in world politics, particularly in relation to more conventional “hard power.” Michal and Rob look at recent examples of soft power and examine how states have responded to the challenge of an empowered, globalized civil society, using the case study of Israel and the BDS movement. The role of diplomacy in the Syrian conflict is also scrutinized: can soft power, such as negotiations and summits, genuinely affect events on the ground? Or, in a contemporary world, does conventional military force still have the last word?
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