Reference News Network reported on December 21 that American political scientist Joseph Nye is a professor at Harvard University. He served as Assistant Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the National Intelligence Committee in the Bill Clinton administration.
His latest book is Is the American Century Over? The reporter of German magazine International Politics and Society recently interviewed Serf Nye. The excerpt of the interview is as follows:
The soft power of the United States has been seriously damaged.
International Politics and Society reporter asked: A few years ago, you coined the word “soft power”. Unlike “hard power”, “soft power” is a measure of strength by how attractive a country is to other countries. How soft power is America after Donald Trump became president?
Joseph Naiswer: His policies have seriously damaged the soft power of the United States. This is mainly related to his political style. Trump has no real understanding of strategy, the importance of multilateralism and institutions. Carefully speaking, his foreign policy is wayward. Compared with most other US presidents in the past 75 years, Trump has performed extremely poorly.
The trust of allies in the United States has been seriously eroded. How much is the loss?
This will be measured by the time it takes to recover from it. Americans were very unpopular in the 1960s because of the Vietnam War. People all over the world take to the streets to protest. But within a decade, the United States has largely regained its soft power.
That’s also because President Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter convinced allies with honesty and reliability, and President Ronald Reagan later used optimism.
Therefore, after the new government takes office, public opinion is likely to change relatively quickly. But the question remains: How long will it take for us to eliminate the mistrust created during Trump’s presidency? That will take several years.
The first known personnel decisions are now popular with Europeans. Secretary of State-designate Anthony Blinken is a multilateralist who attended primary and secondary schools in France.
The climate envoy, John Kerry, is a former Secretary of State, who knows the world. The president himself is a long-time friend of Europe: such a team is completely different from the Trump team. But isn’t such a cabinet fully confirming what the Trump camp has always claimed: Washington will once again be ruled by elite liberals who have nothing to do with civilians?
You can hear such allegations now. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, said earlier that the cabinet members nominated by Biden would destroy the United States.
Meanwhile: The Biden team is a middle-of-road team, and it’s not radical and follows a rational policy. I believe this will attract many moderate Republicans, and they will also be willing to cooperate.
China and the United States cannot completely “decouple”
Just because of the strong economic development of Asia and China, Americans will continue to focus on Asia and China. But this does not mean that turning to Asia must be at the cost of abandoning Europe. When it comes to common values, there is no greater consensus than between Europe and the United States.
The United States and Europe need to invest more in research and development. Together with technological progress, this constitutes the engine that keeps us competitive. In addition, cooperation is also important. The United States alone has participated in about 60 international alliances and forged close friendships.
If you only talk about “decoupling”, it is too general. Most importantly, some areas cannot be separated from each other at all, such as the ecological interdependence of climate change or pandemics.
In the cultural and commercial fields, China has soft power anyway. China has shown strong ability here.
Yes, it is. Trump has done considerable damage to his friends like his enemy, and it is counterproductive. Even though I personally think the project was not considered from the beginning, it has now progressed to an unstoppable point. Nor should we let the second line of the North Creek gas pipeline become a huge conflict between the United States and Germany. In other areas, Germany and the United States will be close to each other, such as in dealing with climate change or dealing with Iran.
I believe that many Americans have the basic feeling that every member must bear a fair and reasonable burden. If there is no problem with Russia, the situation may be different. But this is not the case. Please look at Ukraine. Therefore, Europeans will continue to need American security guarantees. So when we say you can do more for defense, is that unfair?