The Theory and Reality of Soft Power: Practical Approaches in East Asia

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Soft power has been referred to as a form of national power that is based on ideational and cultural attractiveness, which is intentionally or unintentionally utilized by actors in international relations to achieve strategic imperatives.1 Soft power also constitutes more than mere cultural power and includes political values and ideas, educational and socioeconomic systems, and legitimate national policies as accepted by other nations and people.2 When other countries are persuaded that a nation’s ideals or policies are legitimate, indeed desirable, then the “soft power” of that nation is increased.3 As a theoretical concept, soft power means taking on increasing importance and relevance. Many countries have recognized the significance of using soft power tools and resources to engage in competitive politics of attraction, legitimacy, and credibility. This is because compatibility with other nations’ values and interests can be as important as the exercise of hard power to achieve a nation’s desired objectives.




Lee, S. W. (2011). The Theory and Reality of Soft Power: Practical Approaches in East Asia. In Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy (pp. 11–32). Palgrave Macmillan.

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