Hard and soft power

The Pak Banker - - Front Page - Ikram Se­h­gal

NA­TIONAL se­cu­rity strat­egy seeks to main­tain the sur­vival of the na­tion-state through use of eco­nomic, mil­i­tary and po­lit­i­cal power and ex­er­cise of di­plo­macy. An ef­fec­tive na­tional se­cu­rity sys­tem (1) trans­lates na­tional strat­egy into pol­icy op­tions to or­ches­trate the var­i­ous fac­tors of na­tional power; (2) al­lo­cates pri­or­i­ties and ob­jec­tives; and (3) se­lects for­eign-pol­icy op­tions within a na­tional strate­gic frame­work: th­ese in­clude po­lit­i­cal and diplo­matic, eco­nomic and com­mer­cial, mo­ral and psy­cho­log­i­cal, ge­o­graphic and de­mo­graphic, and cul­tural and tech­no­log­i­cal fac­tors.

In pur­suit of na­tional se­cu­rity ob­jec­tives mod­ern dis­course gen­er­ally per­tains to state power, in­di­cat­ing both eco­nomic and mil­i­tary power. Var­i­ous con­cepts of po­lit­i­cal power used are: (a) as a goal of states and/or lead­ers; (b) as a mea­sure of in­flu­ence or con­trol over out­comes, events, ac­tors and is­sues; (c) as re­flect­ing vic­tory in con­flict and at­tain­ment of se­cu­rity; and (d) as sta­tus, which some states or ac­tors pos­sess and other do not.

Power pro­jec­tion is the abil­ity of a state to ap­ply all or some of its el­e­ments of na­tional power – po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, in­for­ma­tional, or mil­i­tary – to rapidly and ef­fec­tively de­ploy and sus­tain forces in and from mul­ti­ple dis­persed lo­ca­tions to re­spond to crises, to con­trib­ute to de­ter­rence, and to en­hance re­gional sta­bil­ity. Any state able to di­rect its mil­i­tary forces out­side the lim­ited bounds of its ter­ri­tory is said to have some level of power-pro­jec­tion ca­pa­bil­ity. Coun­tries are thus seek­ing to re­design their strate­gies by re­struc­tur­ing mil­i­tary forces with an em­pha­sis on strate­gic and op­er­a­tional mo­bil­ity. “Hard power” de­scribes the abil­ity of a na­tion or po­lit­i­cal body to use eco­nomic in­cen­tives or mil­i­tary strength to in­flu­ence other ac­tors’ be­hav­iours. Hard power serves to in­duce com­pli­ance, but also presents some glar­ing short­com­ings with re­gard to its wielder’s le­git­i­macy and cred­i­bil­ity. Power is linked with the pos­ses­sion of cer­tain tan­gi­ble re­sources, in­clud­ing pop­u­la­tion, ter­ri­tory, nat­u­ral re­sources, and eco­nomic and mil­i­tary strength, among oth­ers, and is of­ten ag­gres­sive. Most ef­fec­tive when im­posed by one po­lit­i­cal body upon an­other of less mil­i­tary and/or eco­nomic power, hard power strate­gies in­clude a wide range of mea­sures geared to­ward co­erc­ing or threat­en­ing other en­ti­ties into com­pli­ance.

Th­ese mea­sures might in­clude the use of “sticks,” such as the threat of mil­i­tary as­sault or the im­ple­men­ta­tion of an eco­nomic em­bargo; they might also in­clude the use of “car­rots,” such as prom­ise of mil­i­tary pro­tec­tion or re­duc­tion of trade bar­ri­ers.

Joseph S Nye (Univer­sity Distin­guished Ser­vice Pro­fes­sor at Har­vard Univer­sity, dean of the univer­sity’s John F Kennedy School of Government, former chair­man of the Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Coun­cil and as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of de­fence in the Clin­ton government) iden­ti­fies hard power as “the abil­ity to use the car­rots and sticks of eco­nomic and mil­i­tary might to make oth­ers fol­low your will.” Ernest Wil­son – au­thor, pro­fes­sor, and dean of the USC An­nen­berg School for Com­mu­ni­ca­tion – de­scribes it as the ca­pac­ity to co­erce “an­other to act in ways in which that en­tity would not have acted oth­er­wise.”

Kurt Camp­bell and Michael O’Han­lon, au­thors of Hard Power: The New Pol­i­tics of Na­tional Se­cu­rity, de­fine it as “the ap­pli­ca­tion of mil­i­tary power to meet na­tional ends – that is, the de­ploy­ment of ground troops, naval as­sets, and pre­ci­sion mu­ni­tions to se­cure a vi­tal na­tional ob­jec­tive.” A plethora of 20th cen­tury ex­am­ples in­clude the 1939 in­va­sion of Poland by Ger­many, trig­ger­ing the Sec­ond World War; the 1979 in­va­sion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union; the 2001 in­va­sion of Afghanistan by the US to de­stroy Al-Qaeda’s bases by elim­i­nat­ing the Tal­iban; and the 2003 in­va­sion of Iraq by the US over con­cerns about Iraq’s weapons ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Eco­nomic pres­sure can also be de­ployed for sim­i­lar ends. US trade em­bar­gos on coun­tries such as Cuba, Iran and Iraq pro­vide prime ex­am­ples of such ex­er­cise of hard power. The threat of ei­ther mil­i­tary or eco­nomic force also func­tions as an ex­er­cise of hard power. De­scribed by Alexan­der Ge­orge as “co­er­cive di­plo­macy,” this strat­egy in­volves back­ing one’s de­mands “with a threat of pun­ish­ment for non­com­pli­ance that he will con­sider cred­i­ble and po­tent enough to per­suade him to com­ply with the de­mand.” Thus, the threat of mil­i­tary or eco­nomic force – whether ex­plic­itly stated or im­plic­itly ac­knowl­edged – serves as a method of com­pelling be­hav­iour.

Strate­gies that do not take into ac­count a coun­try’s in­ter­na­tional im­age with re­spect to le­git­i­macy and cred­i­bil­ity may have se­ri­ous con­se­quences. If a coun­try’s cred­i­bil­ity abroad de­te­ri­o­rates, at­ti­tudes of mis­trust tend to grow while in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion di­min­ishes, such that the coun­try’s ca­pac­ity to ob­tain its ob­jec­tives is dam­aged. In­dia’s hard-power pol­icy in the sub­con­ti­nent failed mis­er­ably. From 1971 to 1990-1991 In­dia in­ter­vened in Pak­istan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In­dian sup­port for East Pak­istani rebels un­der­lined In­dia’s diplo­matic hard-power strat­egy that was fol­lowed by the mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion in De­cem­ber 1971 and the de­feat of the Pak­istani army.

In Bangladesh, de­spite In­dia’s full fledged sup­port in 1971, it was only dur­ing the first three years that In­dia could really be re­garded as a hege­monic power in Bangladesh on the ba­sis of its hard power. Af­ter 1975, suc­ces­sive regimes in Dhaka were able to re­tain their in­de­pen­dence so that In­dia was not able to set­tle bi­lat­eral dis­putes uni­lat­er­ally. In Sri Lanka, af­ter the civil war es­ca­lated into full-fledged war with the LTTE who were trained by the In­dian in­tel­li­gence agency, RAW, In­dia in­ter­vened, see­ing this as an op­por­tu­nity to stamp its hege­monic power. De­ployed in Sri Lanka against the wishes of the host coun­try, the In­dian Peace Keep­ing Force (IPKF) fi­nally had to with­draw in March 1990; mark­ing an­other fail­ure of In­dia in ex­er­cis­ing its hard power.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.