This most recent post is...?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The enigma that is N. Korea

Normally the death of the leader of a half-starved country with few natural resources would not garner much attention. But that major leaders like Hilary C. had something to say on it is a signal of importance.

N. Korea has nuclear expertise. They have mastered the whole nuke cycle, all the way up to ballistic missiles. And that gets the attention of all the big boys from USA and China to Russia and Japan.

What is also interesting is how one sided their power is. It is all 'hard power' military, missiles, intel., border patrol, the works.

There was a debate in the last decade about hard versus soft power. Soft power is the influence of culture to achieve your goals instead of bullets. War is not unfortunately out of style yet but it is costly and no longer contributes to the national interest. Lots of smart folks know that and started praising soft power. I have said to my students that the old show Baywatch killed more so-called terrorists than did fighter jets.

N. Korea offers insight into the opposite extreme. Lots of hard power. Then all they have to do talk scary and everyone worldwide perks up their ears.

You would think that a combi-nation of hard and soft power would be ideal. But the US has not shown that to be the case lately. That is because the best strategy is smart power, which means something like knowing when to hold them and when to fold them. Unfortunately too many interest groups and politicos get invested in current circumstances and refuse to let failures end.

Right now everyone is criticizing Europe for failure but watch out! They have hard, soft, and smart power! I will explain what I mean next time.   

No comments:

Post a Comment