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The concept of soft power was developed around 1990 by Joseph S. Nye Jr., currently distinguished service professor of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and former assistant secretary of defense for International Security Affairs in the Clinton administration. Distinct from “hard” economic and military power, soft power refers to the power of attraction deriving from a country’s culture, values, ideals, and policies. Political scientists and scholars of international relations have closely scrutinized the analytical strengths and limits of the soft power concept since it entered the public discourse in the 1990s. This entry defines soft power, examines the sources of soft power, and the difficulty in measuring soft power, and discusses public diplomacy activities.

Soft Power and Its Resources

According to Nye, there are ...

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