Dean Stavridis co-authors: "Learning from soft power: A need for soft healing in the 21st century"

The BMJ - British Medical Journal

Published by British Medical Journal

The limitations of direct military intervention—“hard power”—for achieving foreign policy are increasingly highlighted by international events. Policy makers, military leaders, and intelligence experts now recognise the crucial role of preventive policy approaches—“soft power”—to tackle the multifaceted, upstream causes of conflict and instability. 1 - 3 Soft power encompasses diplomacy, development, trade agreements, sanctions, foreign aid, and the promotion of education, women’s rights, and democracy. It prioritises prevention, the shaping of international affairs to pre-empt or minimise crises before they arise, and is supported by bipartisan commissions, independent agencies, and the military. 4 Hard power is reserved as a last resort. Used early and efficiently, soft power not only provides effective and diverse policy options, but it costs far less and risks fewer lives.