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In Quest for SMART POWER

In Quest for SMART POWER

Abdul Rasool Syed

The Means to Success in World Politics

Kudos to Pakistan Armed Forces, exclusively to Pakistan Air Force, for shooting down two Indian jets that violated Pakistani airspace! It was, for sure, an exemplary display of hard power that Pakistan has earned through the indefatigable industry and selfless devotion of its armed forces which they cherish for the noble cause of defending the frontiers of our country under all circumstances.

Undoubtedly, Pakistan possesses one of the best armed forces in the world. Pak Army is equipped with modern, sophisticated weaponry and an equally efficient command and control system. Above all, Pakistan is a nuclear power – a capability that always deters its adversaries from launching an all-out war against it. Surprisingly, Indian premier Narendra Modi has also admitted the superiority of Pakistan’s military after getting a befitting response in recent confrontation. All this suggests that Pakistan maintains enormous hard power.

But in today’s world, the enemy is not wholly vanquished only through the use of hard power; the soft power is fairly necessary to outsmart the rivals in the realm of global perception warfare. Soft power excessively contributes to building soft image of a country and helps improve its perception to the world. Therefore, the perception warfare should also be given equal concentration in fight with the enemy.

Joseph S. Nye, a renowned US academic who coined the term ‘soft power’ in the late 1980s, defines soft power as “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payment.” He adds: “It includes culture, values and foreign policies.” Soft power is, therefore, used to influence and change the behaviour of other nations through attraction rather than coercion. But soft power does not exclude hard power; it supplements and augments it. This is why the term smart power, which is the amalgamation of soft and hard power, has gained currency nowadays. This is what our country Pakistan is in dire need of at present. Our country is good at hard power but requires much effort to enhance its soft power as well.

Unfortunately, despite having enormous soft power potential, Pakistan failed to fully exploit that. Resultantly, ‘the epicenter of terrorism’, ‘international migraine’, ‘safe haven for the terrorists’ and ‘rogue state’ are some appellations that the world community has conferred upon the country. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has also put Pakistan on its Grey List. More recently, when Pakistan objected to inviting Indian minister for external affairs, Ms Sushma Swaraj, to Abu Dhabi Summit of the OIC as a ‘guest of honor’, its objection was blatantly overruled despite the fact that Pakistan is the founding member of the organization. This vividly reflects our image and status in the comity of nations.

Realizing the importance of soft power in the contemporary world, our arch-rival India has worked a lot in this domain, and has thereby succeeded in projecting its soft image to the world. Its success story can be traced back to the 1990s when Indian finance ministry, the Reserve Bank of India and the country’s Planning Commission formed a joint strategy (under the guidance of Manmohan Singh and Monty Singh) to support Indian corporations in developing a global vision and making their presence tangibly felt on the corporate map of the world. To this end, a meeting of bigwigs of the corporate world was convened at the famous Ritz Carlton, London. This gathering resulted in the emergence of what is today referred to as the London Club—to be supported by the Indian Government and its institutions in achieving the singular task assigned to them: creating a world of Indian multinationals.

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