Joseph Nye: “With Donald Trump, the United States has lost respect and power in the world”

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Professor of Political Science at Harvard University, he is the architect of the concept of soft power, the ability of a country to influence through attraction or persuasion, culture or its political values, as opposed to hard power or military threat.

Joseph Nye, professor of Political Science at Harvard University, is the architect of the concept of “soft power”, the ability of a country to influence through attraction or persuasion, culture or its political values, in as opposed to “hard power” or military threat. This respected American expert pointed out to Clarion, in the framework of a series of interviews with thinkers about the elections on Tuesday, which during the government of Donald Trump “the United States has lost respect and power in the world”, although he believes that the damage is “reversible.” Recent author of “Do Morals Matter??”, where he analyzes from the moral point of view the foreign policy of American presidents from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the current president, Nye warns that Trump is “amoral” and places him within the lowest ranks among the leaders. “Trump had the opportunity to be a transformative leader after the pandemic, but he lost it,” he notes, warning that in the post-Covid world “there could be an authoritarian challenge in the style of the 1930s.”

-Has President Donald Trump damaged the “soft power” of the United States in the world?

Yes, your “America First” has damaged you. As I argue in my book “Do Morals Matter ??”, every leader must defend the national interest. The important question is how they define it, and Trump has used a narrow compromise approach. Compare that, for example, to Harry Truman and the Marshall Plan.

-Has the United States lost respect or influence in the world?

-Yes, renowned polls such as Pew and Gallup show that this has been the case since 2017. They point out, for example, that the country’s leadership fell 20% since the beginning of its mandate, and that the image of the United States also fell even among the traditional allies like Great Britain or Japan.

-Do you think this damage is temporary or irreversible?

-It is reversible. In 1970, people were protesting American policies around the world, but within a decade we recovered.

-According to former national security adviser John Bolton, Trump lacked strategy and his foreign policy depended mainly on domestic politics and his personal interests. Do you agree with that assessment?

-Bolton’s book, coming from the right, confirms my point of view as a Democrat. In other words, the criticism is not partisan.

-Trump’s international policy was less interventionist than many expected. In fact, he used “hard power” less than many expected. Do you evaluate it as a Trump achievement?

-Yes, in my book I give him credit for discrimination and proportion in his use of force in the Middle East.

-The rapid economic growth of Asia has led to the theory that that region will supplant the United States as the dominant force in the world in the 21st century. Do you agree?

– No, I believe that the USA will continue being the most powerful country during the next decades, but not as much as before.

What role do new technologies, internet, artificial intelligence, etc. play? in power today? Is Tiktok or Wechat more important than “hard power”?

-Social networks have led to a spread of power, but military and economic power is still important. They add complexity.

-In your book “Do Morals Matter ??” you evaluate the 14 American presidents since 1945. How can you describe the morale of President Trump? Which cases best exemplify your morals?


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