The Paradox of American Power by Joseph S. Nye


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In the book of Joseph S. Nye, “The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go It Alone, he shows a complete analysis of the elements contained in formulating consistent foreign policy in the post Cold War world. Nye obtains a relaistic thery for analyzing the countless forces at play. The forces which are effective on the foreign policy areas. . This permission to relevant groups, parties to talk at the same language. So, Nye everytime frames the matters for analysis and debate. Nye mentions about the obvious chaos in the foreign policy realm of the asymmetric post Cold War. He regularly, logically and permamently shows a deep insights of fact-driven context.


The U.S. have control on the world affiars as never seen before in the past like since Rome. Globalization became like equal with the made in US productions. But this domination will be countinue or end.

Power means in the foreign relations that the capability to effect desired aftermaths and alteration the act of others to make this happen. Power in here mainly deals with the military and economic power. And power can be used effectively or ineffectively.

Hard Power

Military power is the most important element that can rapidly become a dominant interest as we seen in the recent events. Although nations don’t accept the direct use of force, they can recruit to private proxies to hire terroist groups against foes. Nye mentions that these terrorist groups is similar to pirates which were compressed by British Navy in the 19th century.

For the stabilizing military force can be used to fix the unstable relationships. For example in many Asian and European states were happy with the coming of US military forces for making stabilizate to their environment against to unstable neighbors in usable ways.

Economic power has became very vital for modern states by the effects of rasing economic objectives increases. To maximize economic power, a state should obey to market rules.

So, in one sense, modern nations muth dipense with sovereign economic powers to the marketsi f they don’t willing to dispense with a appreciable degree of their economic durability and welfare. Despots that dont care the welfare of their citizens can reject market rules and contempt at international enforcements.

Military and economic power are sortly but deftly analyzed by Nye in the hard power issue.

Soft Power

There are some cultural, ideological and institutional forces can be counted as soft powers. Maket o people belive that they want something but actually you want that, to coopt citizens rather than enforcing them. And that is what soft power is. Institutions, beliefs, and values can be set off by soft power. Soft power is more than only influence or conviction, its the talent to seduce and attract, whcih can cause to acceptation or imitation and can make easier to endeavors at leadership. Soft power arises from the citizens as well as from government. Govermental and popular soft power effets each others, work individually. Vanity, the idea of discrepancy from others, and a close approach to national interest are the factors that erode the soft power.

Soft power arises from the citizens as well as from government. Govermental and popular soft power effets each others, work individually. Vanity, the idea of discrepancy from others, and a close approach to national interest are the factors that erode the soft power.

Different contentions of soft power is analyzes by Nye. Different types of powers in different types of nations, he talks about importance of this. Soft power elements effect distinctively in modern countires than in the pre industrial despotisms states generely in the Africa and the Middle East. There are also distinctions in lately industrializing state like China and India. But, contemporary economic and social streams toward rised effect for soft power elements. In the modern world only military power can’t assure the success.

U.S. Leadership

Simple balance of power researches break up when soft power elements are assumed. Oppositely to balance of power elements, the enormous dominance of US power is not actually driving other states to unite against it. The excitative attraction of its soft power elements and its mostly unthreatening attitude towards peaceful nations should avoid such situations if the US does not start to behave in a manner that build up widespread affright and abomination.

After the world war second the nations choose to ally themselves to the US against the Soviet Union threat for instance; although the US was so powerfull at that time. That was the Soviet Union which made widespread affright and abomination. Till latelty, Iraq and Iran concerned more about each other than about the US, although both of them never like the US.

Nye analyzed that dominant power can make eras of relative peace and create trade ways among the major states of the world. Nye truely is aware of the need for some dominant power which is comprehensively accepted as a headman to restrict and reconcile conflicts, stabilize world wide finance and economy, and encouraging the found to the adjustments and establishment of the institutions necessary for international governance.

The U.S. is too strong to be effectively challenged, but lacks the power to alone achieve such desirable goals as nuclear nonproliferation and the minimization of global terrorism. In pursuing its foreign policy objectives, it needs cooperation and coalitions that require a complex array of compromises and accommodations.

Vanity and one sidedness can undermine the effectiveness of the US power, especially the adorableness and effects of its soft power policies and leardship style, Nye says. On the other hand, US strategic restricts is comfortingly the open and pluralistic attitude where its external policy is improved decreaces uncertainty and surprise and its desire to engage in the way of international governence guaranty other states a have a say that rises the adorableness of its leadership.

The role of United States in the egypt-isreali war is that took office in the temporary full followed the Lebanese civl war and tried to break out of Kissinger s step-by-step process by offering a plan for a comprehensive settlement. The Carter plan was much like the Rogers plan. It called for a gradual Israeli withdrawal to kto its 1967 boundares with only minor expceptions in exchange for recogniton, great power security guarantees, and demilitarized zones on the borders. The Palestinians gradully would receive self-determination in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as an independent state,or in federation with Jordan.

Neither the Araps nor the Israelis were ready for such a compromise, and Carter s own elaboratiopns on the plan gave both sides an excuse to avoid it. Carter first said that Israel should have “defensible borders”, the code word in the Middle East for according Israel nuch of the territory conquered in the Six-day War of 1967. Carter tried t? correct this impression by speaking later of only minor border adjustments and of a Palestinian “homeland”, both anathema to the Israelis. The Carter plan bogged down in confusion as the new hard line Israeli administration, headed by Menachem Begin, insisted on the right to make Jerusalem Israel s capital and plant new Jerwish settlement on the West Bank.

Carter tried to recoup by bringing the Soviets back to into the Middle East negotiations. Cyrus Vance and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko worked out a joint statement on October 1,1977, that called for reconvening the Geneva conferencewithin 3 mounth. There the Arabs and Israelis would negotiate a comprehensive settlement under the auspices of the U.S, the Soviet Union, and the other powers. Immediately Carter run into a hail of criticism. Many Americans denounced the Geneva approach even though they had agreed to it under duress. Carter tries to appease his American and Israeli critcs by insisring that America had no intention of imposing a settlement and by agreeing to alter the U.S-Soviet understanding to allow the Israelis to veto the participation.

Doable challenges for the United States dominance are realistically baselined and analysed. China is in compliance with listed leading as a possible resource for many challenges. On the other hand, Chinas economical and miliraty aspect involves so many existential blockes and obstacles not only for gaining achieve world power situation, but even in dislocating the United States as the dominant force in the Western Pasific and Southeast Asian regions.

Dependence can be formed of culturally, politically and economically. The most easily measured one of them is economic dependence. It can be seen in branches of trade, foreign aid and direct foreign investment from the core country. Political depence is mostly about with security and foreign military asistance. This dependence relations lead to dependent foreign policies

Pro-Core dependent policy; dependent states apply the foreign policies relevant with the core state’s prefers. Compliance is an explanation of pro-core foreign policies. Compliance is that dependent states will apply foreign policy within the context of their asymmetrical economic relationships. In this situation Core states will provide th e economic aids and perphery state will behave in the foreign policiy relevant with the core state’s preferences. Periphery state obeys the core state’s foreign policy desires for the economical supports from the core state. Under normal circumstances dependent states constent to apply to pro-core policies.

Anti-core foreign policy requires counter-dependence, compensation. Compliance means that dependent state- periphery, make foreign policy decisions considering the core’s wishes in order to be rewarded or not to be punished. Consensus means the elites of periphery who dominates the agenda , have the same ideas with the core country in economic or political arena. Generally, the elites of periphery had been educated in core country so they can adopt culture of the core easily. Counter-dependence means, not to cause a relationship between foreign policy and dependency. The periphery country makes foreign policy decisions without considering the wishes of the core but in the end there occur some sanctions to the periphery country such as an economic or military embargo. Compensation process is implemented by a government that does not strongly oppose economic ties with the core, but must respond to the popular unrest that such an economic relationship creates.

The theory of leadership style is regarding to three critical assumptions.: reaction to political constraints, openness to information and motivation for action. On the other hand; there are two kinds of leader according to this theory on foreign policy: goal driven leader and contextually-responsive leader. Goal driven leaders make decision in light of their ideas, perceptions, belief system, passion and ideologies. They act according to their personal standards. Constraints might be an obstacle but they can ignore them. They are less likely to perceive political constraints. They are intent to perceive informations selectively from their environment. It means they take what they want to take. And goal driven leaders are motivated by an internal particular cause, an ideology or a particular set of interests. On the other side; in contrast, contextually-responsive leaders define situations according to expectations and interests of others. They pay attention to confirmation by others such as public,media, interest groups and advisers. Political constraints are important for them. They are open to all informations and they define the problems by checking what the others are advocating and doing. Their motivation for action is in light of acceptance, approval and support.

In a dramatic departure in US foreign policy, president Nixon removed the long-standing hostility to communist China to support China’s admission to the UN in 1971. He visited to China in 1972 as he called a journey for peace. Two governments agreed to broaden scientific, culturel and trade contacts. Nixon was the first president to visit China and the first to visit a nation which the US had no formal diplomatic relations.

On the US foreign policy at that time; Nixon and his advisers desired to provide normalization of relations with China with the assistance of relaxation in the restrictions on travel to China and American support of the Chinese nationalist regime on Taiwan. So we can say that; by using ping pong diplomacy ,that means offering in matters to open channels, president Nixon ordered a review of American policy toward China.

In briefly; the time of president Nixon is the time of starting the negotiations and cooperations with communist bloc in order to detent the international system. According to Nixon; era of confrontation was ending and the era of negotiations was beginning. In light of Nixon doctrine, that aims at rapprochement with communist bloc particularly China. The Nixon’s trip to China transformed the structure of international system. The visible purposes of Nixon were to remove the threat to peace and to provide stability among the major powers thanks to using strategic opportunity that derives from developing relationships with both the USSR and China.

With the opening the doors to China in terms of trade, culture and travel on foreign policy such as removing embargo against China, supporting China to join into the United Nations, announcing the new policy that supports the China, supporting trade with China and allowing export etc.. , Nixon’s fundemental purposes were to demoralize North Vietnam and the other communist forces in Southeast Asia and to gain superiority against Soviet Union not so-called new structure for peace or law and order in streets. His plan became clearer when Henry Kissinger became national security advisor. The main purposes of Nixon doctrine was get rid of Vietnam War, to protect the US dominance in world affairs, to prevent the rising economic and political power of Eastern Europe and Japan, which have capability in order to undermine American markets and Washington’s economic policies regarding Vietnam, Middle East etc. And Nixon’s trip to China was the evidence of these aim. On the other side; China, the most revolutionary of communist states, had desire to cooperate with capitalist US in order to deter a Soviet attact.

Consequently the trip by Richard Nixon to China was perceived as a great success. Because Vietnam became less obsession. It means Nixon obtained his and the American’s as a whole psychological aim. On the other hand; he attained other national aims regarding nuclear weapons in Cold War era as well. Because the SALT I Agreements 1972 were accepted by both the USSR and the US. Therefore the Anti-ballistic Misilse Treaty is a definitive long-term agreement which contributes the US security. The possibility of nuclear war has been reduced by this treaty. He was contextually-responsive leader when he made foreign-policy decisions about communist bloc and particularly China. . He took all decisions about China and socialist bloc step by step and ignored the ideological view. If he paid attention to the ideology and if the ideology prevented the rapproachement in spite of too many benefits, then we can say that yes he is goal driven. But he had all crucial points of contextually-responsive leadership.

Nixon encouraged his advisers to believe he was not only strong. It means he paid attention to his adviser’s opinions as all contextually-responsive leaders do as well. He tried to gain acceptance,approval and support. He had the political base on the right which protected him from the charge of being soft on communism. With the assistance of this opportunity, he gained the public support and acceptance of public on foreing policy about China and communist bloc although Nixon’s trip created like a bomb influence on Americans. In briefly; he was a contextually-responsive leader in this specific foreign policy issue. He took into account all informations from his environment and took decisions with his advisers. His motivation and action were determined in light of state institutions. He tried to gain general support and ignored his capitalist ideology. As Nye mentioned before, he is the first American president who tried to cooperate and rapproche with communist China.


Globalization means that worldwide Networks of interdependence. National borders have became more blurred, but are stil far from irrelative. Nye states that ; Globalization has a sort of formats, however all of them too often economists write like it and the worldwide economy were unqie and the same. But other sizes of globalization have important effects on our day-to-day life. The oldest form of globalization is environmental interdependence says Nye. For instance, the first variola epidemic is recorded in Egypt in 1350 b.c. The disease showed in China in a.d. 49, Europe after 700, the Americas in 1520, and Australia in 1789.24 The plague or black death originated in Asia, but its spread killed a quarter to a third of the people in the Europe in the 14th century. Europeans carried diseases to the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries that blasted to 95 percent of the endemic in population. Since 1973, thirty previously unknown infectious diseases have emerged, and other familiar diseases have spread geographically in new drug-resistant forms. The spread of foreign species of flora nd fauna to new areas has wiped out native species, and efforts to control them may cost several hundred billion dollars a year. On the other hand, not all effects of environmental globalization are adverse. For instance, nutrition and cuisine in both Europe and Asia benefited from the importation of such New World crops as potatoes, corn, and tomatoes, and the green revolution agricultural technology of the past few decades has helped poor farmers throughout the world. Military globalization consists of networks of interdependence in which force, or the threat of force, is employed. The world wars of the twentieth century are a case in point. During the Cold War, the global strategic interdependence between the United States and the Soviet Union was acute and well recognized. Not only did it produce world-straddling alliances, but either side could have used intercontinental missiles to destroy the other within the space of thirty minutes.Such interdependence was distinctive not because it was totally new, but because the scale and speed of the potential conflict were so enormous. Today, terrorist networks constitute a new form of military globalization. Social globalization is the spread of peoples, cultures, images, and ideas. Migration is a concrete example. In the nineteenth century, some eighty million people crossed oceans to new homes-far more than in the twentieth century.