The term “soft power” has become a political science catch-all for forms of influence that are not “hard” in the sense of military force. According to Joseph Nye’s original definition, a country’s hard power is based on coercion, largely a function of its military or economic might. Soft power, in contrast, is based on attraction, arising from the positive appeal of a country’s culture, political ideals, and policies—as well as from a vibrant, independent civil society.
As the Cold War era faded, analysts, journalists, and policymakers in democratic countries came to view influence efforts from authoritarian
Source URL: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2017-11-16/meaning-sharp-power