Chapter 3: Responding to change: hard,
soft and smart power |
Shortcomings in what can be achieved
through force alone
29. Military strength has long been one of the
main components of power on the international stage and will continue
to be so, not least as a result of the UK's commitment to uphold
the UN-mandated 'Responsibility to Protect' doctrine.
However, we heard evidence that the ability of military force
alone to secure a nation's interests has been recognised as facing
increasing challenges due to the scattered and dispersed nature
of modern conflict and war, including by the defence communities
in the US and UK.
It is important to note, though, that as we explore in paragraphs
61 to 70 and 107 to 119 below, limitations on what can be achieved
through force do not equate to limitations on what can be achieved
by the Armed Forces.
30. Sir Jeremy Greenstock told us that "The
first decade of the 21st century has provided plenty of evidence
of the importance in politics and geopolitics of
effect of the use of military and political compulsion. The symptoms
of the trend are clear in the stories of Iraq and Afghanistan
[and] in the relative helplessness of outside powers trying to
address the instability in the Middle East".
Sir Jeremy attributed this trend to several causes, including
"the moral force of the concept of self-determination",
"the growing power of the people's voice", "the
increasing trend for moral and political legitimacy to reside
in the wishes of the people of a particular locality", "the
openness and global comprehensiveness of economic exchange and
opportunity" and "the deepening distaste among both
governments and individuals for war and the use of military force,
in a reaction against the legacy of the 20th century, against
the increasing destructiveness of modern weaponry and against
the uncontrolled human rights and humanitarian consequences of
31. In Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the military
might of the US and the sacrifices and investment made by the
UK, the US and their allies, coercive interventions since 2001
appear to have achieved only deeply unclear outcomes.
Consequently, American and other Western publics appear to have
become disillusioned with purely military 'solutions' to complicated
problems involving the use of overwhelming force or 'shock and
awe' tactics. In
the UK, there is a high level of public support for British troops
but much less support for their deployment in kinetic operations,
noted the UK Chief of Defence Staff General Sir Nicholas
Houghton in December 2013.
Some reports suggest that there is even confusion among taxpayers
about the continued purpose of the military in the modern world.
In January 2014 the House of Commons Defence Committee reported
that "One of the greatest strategic threats to defence is
the disconnect between the Armed Forces and the public".
The Defence Committee's view was that the "disconnect"
was caused by "a lack of understanding of the utility of
military force in the contemporary strategic environment".
32. Former Gurkha officer Emile Simpson has gone
further, inverting Clausewitz's noted maxim that "'war is
a continuation of political intercourse carried on by other means"'
by arguing that politics is now a continuation of warthat
the outcomes of many conflicts are messy, negotiated, indefinite
and based on compromise between combatants.
He told us that "When the enemy is endless, and even becomes
more an idea to which people can subscribe, then military activity
to defeat that enemy can often not be clearly conceptually distinguishable
from political activity with the same aim".
33. The challenges presented to coercive military
power in the 21st century have been exposed to public scrutiny
by the success achieved by those waging asymmetric warfare against
the UK and its allies since 11 September 2001 (if not before).
Such combatants have imposed great costs on the national economy,
on military personnel and their families, and at times on the
UK's international image and standing. By the early 2000s the
accessibility, immediacy and connectivity of digital global media
ensured that "the price of terrorism has been brought down
Damage can be inflicted with no more than a smartphone and
an improvised explosive device (IED) or mixture of home chemicals,
while one bomb in a Kabul restaurant allowed the Taliban to signal
that the International Security Assistance Force had not achieved
security in Afghanistan.
The importance of attempts to secure 'hearts and minds' in Afghanistan
and efforts to de-radicalise individuals in the UK testify to
the fact that defeating or diminishing these security threats
could not be achieved by force alone.
Richard Norton-Taylor offered the example of Nigeria, which
is "facing terrorist attacks in the north by the extreme
Islamist group, Boko Haram, where armed groups, some loosely affiliated
to al-Qaeda, some not, many fed by South American drug money,
pose a growing threat that will not be defeated by western military
International power no longer equates to the size of nations'
armed forces: if militants in some of the poorest nations on earth
can face down the might of the US Army, as in Afghanistan, it
is no longer a gunboat world.
Popular and political expectations of the outcomes of wars are
being forced to change, and new complementary tactics for fighting
or dissuading those who threaten our interests are becoming more
34. As Professor Nye put it, "states
are no longer the only important actors in global affairs; security
is not the only major outcome that they seek, and force is not
the only or always the best instrument available to achieve those
disillusionment of American and other Western publics with the
ability of military force to further the interests of Western
nations has led to a feeling that there must be a subtler way
of achieving international objectives and curbing violence, terrorism
and aggression (including through the use of armed forces) that
can supplementrather than substitute fortraditional
The changing nature of diplomacy
35. At the same time that Western confidence
in the role of military force is falling, greater international
interconnectedness is changing another vital aspect of how nations
relate to each other: the role of diplomats and the meaning of
36. Thanks to hyper-connectivity, citizens and
pressure groups can instantly and to an unprecedented degree communicate
across national, cultural and (thanks to instant translation programmes)
linguistic borders, sharing opinions and information about each
others' societies. Contact between nations had historically been
largely elite-to-elite, through Ambassadors and royal courts (as
well as the occasional merchant, pilgrim and scholar), but international
contact opened to the masses through cinema and broadcasting in
the 20th century, and has now entered a phase dominated by people-to-people
contact through the internet and mass air travel.
Governments have almost instant access to the pronouncements of
other governments, and to what other countries' media and citizens
are saying. The importance of diplomats specifically as the primary
conduits for this kind of information is therefore decreasing
as non-governmental connections proliferate, marginalising diplomats'
traditional roles, particularly within the EU (although we explore
below how other roles are becoming more important).
European government figures meet regularly while EU leaders
who wish to communicate now pick up the phone. Diplomats now spend
less time on information-gathering and more time on advocacy,
agenda-setting and lobbying.
37. Sir Antony Acland, a former head of
the UK Diplomatic Service and Ambassador to Washington, told the
Committee that where once diplomacy was conducted by diplomats
entirely on an intergovernmental level, the business of diplomacy
has broadened enormously, and involves many more people, including
Ministers, civil servants, doctors, scientists, religious leaders
and journalists, creating a thick "cable" of connections
across the Atlantic.
All Government Departments now engage in transnational cooperation
and negotiation, in effect spreading the UK's interface with the
world away from being handled primarily by the FCO to becoming
a dimension of the work of all of Whitehalland of regional
and local governments as well.
At the same time witnesses pointed to the significant increase
in the responsibilities of Ambassadors. Embassies have to handle
far more than government-to-government messages: they act as "mini-Whitehalls",
involved in the international dimensions of many Departments'
work as well as with travellers, migrants and traders.
Lord Jay of Ewelme, another former head of the UK Diplomatic Service
and Ambassador to Paris, told the Committee that in some parts
of the world, the amount of pure Foreign Office work that an Ambassador
does can take as little as 10 per cent of their time, with the
other 90 per cent spent on other matters such as extending UK
At the same time, the issues with which they are dealing are increasingly
transnational and multilateral, within a rules-based international
38. Diplomats are increasingly concerned with
public diplomacy: diplomacy from the government of one state directed
at the people, rather than the government, of another.
Some diplomats have been particularly adept at using hyper-connectivity
to engage with overseas publics. The UK Ambassador to Lebanon,
Tom Fletcher, has employed satire to defuse criticism of UK foreign
policy and demonstrate that he is open for debate with people
who communicate with him online, and has used Twitter to highlight
local issues in Lebanon.
Then Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy in London, Dr Rudolf
Adam, told the Committee that the task for diplomats was not to
report facts or figures, and that while his job was to "try
to explain to my government what is happening in the society and
in Parliament in this country rather than only within this Government",
it was also "trying to explain the reality of Germany in
its multi-faceted way to this country". Diplomats like him
"regard ourselves as spokesmen not for the government any
more but for the people". Where historically diplomats operated
on a narrow bandwidth, international interactions now involve
communication by millions more voices across a much wider spectrum.
39. While the balances of power are shifting
away from the West and away from governments, military forcethough
undoubtedly vitalis proving insufficient for defending
the international interests of modern states. However, international
relations are becoming ever more important as many nations become
increasingly interconnected and interdependent, with a broadening
interface between official, non-state and private interests and
organisations. In this context, we consider that a country wishing
to maintain or improve its place on the international stage must
find new, complementary ways of establishing and exerting power
and maintaining influence to reinforce and build on the crucial
contribution made by the Armed Forces.
A different form of power: attraction
40. Instead of getting what one wants by using
coercion or inducement to force other countries to do what one
wants'hard power', which includes the threat or use of
military coercion or of economic coercion through sanctions or
boycotts'soft power' involves getting what one wants by
influencing other countries (via their governments and publics)
to want the same thing, through the forces of attraction, persuasion
and co-option. According
to Professor Nye, soft power is "the ability to get
what you want by the co-optive means of framing the agenda, persuading,
and eliciting positive attraction".
Gently framing the international agenda can make other countries'
preferences seem irrelevant, illegitimate or unfeasible. Even
more subtle is shaping others' basic or initial preferences.
Persuading nations, leaders and populations to trust a country's
people and government, to feel sympathy with a country's position
and experience, to share its norms and values, to understand that
country's interests and aspirations, and to value its contribution
to the international community, should lead other countries to
be more likely to support and pursue that country's agenda, to
support it in international disputes (or be lenient in punishing
transgressions), to agree to the establishing or modification
of international rules that accommodate that country's interests,
and to buy and consume its goods and services (both in that country
and overseas). Professor Simon Anholt, policy advisor and
author of the Anholt-GfK Roper Nations Brands Index, argued that
"One of the great advantages of soft power
it achieves this marvellous effect that people feel that they
know you. As a consequence, while they can occasionally hate the
things that you do, they cannot quite hate you".
As Professor Nye put it, "when co-opting is possible,
policymakers can save on carrots and sticks".
Soft power involves working to affect the preferences of others
by using networks, developing and communicating compelling narratives,
establishing international norms, building coalitions, and drawing
on the key resources that endear one country to another.
The BBC wrote of the UK's soft power that "When effective,
it is characterised by foreign countries or businesses choosing
to associate themselves with the UK".
41. The British Council told us that "Influence
and attraction, how a country wins the support and good will of
other nations, are becoming increasingly important as the power
structures of the 20th century give way to an increasingly volatile
present where that influence and attraction is increasingly dependent
on people rather than governments".
In the context of shared global threats and high economic and
political interdependence between states, and because military
coercion alone is proving insufficient for defending nations'
interests, being able to build positive international relationships
and coalitionsas well as being able to export goods and
servicesis vital for modern nations' security and prosperity.
The degree to which populations now form networks across borders
gives this soft power a newly increased impact because it relies
to a significant degree on popular perceptions.
42. According to Professor Nye, "A
country can try to attract others through actions such as public
diplomacy, but it may also attract others through the structural
effects of its example or what can be called the 'shining city
on the hill' effect".
Central to attraction is being understood by others to be benign
and competent, and to possess beauty or charisma.
Appearing to be benign tends to generate sympathy, trust, credibility
and acquiescence. Brilliance or competence produces admiration,
respect and emulation; and beauty or charisma produce inspiration
and adherence. To have soft power the UK's attractive traits and
assets, such as the creativity revealed by its culture, need to
be understood to have these qualities, so that they result in
behavioural change in others. People might engage with the UK's
traits and assets through consuming the products and outputs of
British individuals, groups, institutions and firms; seeing the
UK as a leader in a field or as doing or representing something
valuable to them; or even better, building relationships with
British people, including through coming to the UK (we discuss
how the UK achieves these types of engagement in Chapter four
of this Report). The resulting positive influence can develop
through elite relations and networks. But more often publics and
third parties are influenced, and they in turn influence the leaders
of other countries.
Why soft power is difficult: the
problem of orchestration
43. We received a range of definitions of soft
power, suggesting some disagreement about exactly what the term
covers. For example, the National Museum Directors' Council defined
soft power as "the influence achieved through activities
which are not formally organized by Government".
However, soft power is not divorced from governments, as we explore
below. Nor (as
we also explore below) is it defined by the resources which produce
it, even though, as Dr James Pamment of the University of
Texas at Austin pointed out, 'soft power' is variously used to
refer to a set of assets or resources that make a country attractive,
to communicative practices, and/or to the process of attraction.
He also highlighted that 'hard power' is used "equally imprecisely"
to refer to economic and military assets and resources, the practice
of coercion, and/or the process of submission to a superior force.
The relationship between economic value and attraction is particularly
awkward: many of the soft power assets that make a country attractive
require substantial investment. Soft power is not therefore a
cheap alternative to hard power, but is "in many respects
the indirect outcome of being wealthy and powerful, and therefore
of developing an infrastructure and culture which exudes the benefits
44. Governments can make countries more attractive
to others through their policies, their diplomacy, and the deployment
of resources including development assistance. Even military forces
can add to soft powerfor example, by sending ships to respond
to natural disasters. Attractiveness is also generated by non-state
actors, including cultural bodies, broadcasters, education providers,
NGOs, businesses, sporting bodies and athletes, popular culture,
products and brands, clubs and associations, religious organisations,
parliaments and institutions of state, and any other actor which
improves the reputation or international standing of a country
in the eyes of foreign individuals, groups, companies and governments.
Such attractiveness is often generated as a by-product of the
everyday work of individuals or bodies whose core purpose is not
to increase the country's international influence.
45. We heard that the characteristics that make
the UK seem attractive to others might best be generated by institutions
that maintain some distance from Government.
VisitBritain wrote that "There is broad consensus that soft
power is most potent when exercised independently of government"
because "direct government control often invites suspicion
and hostility and soft power activity is quickly undermined if
it comes across as lacking in authenticity or as government propaganda".
Professor Gary Rawnsley, Professor of Public Diplomacy
at Aberystwyth University, wrote that "If there is any suspicion
about the motivations or method of exercising soft power, any
potential benefits are lost". In his view, falling trust
in politicians means that governments or institutions associated
with the state were not the best agencies of "soft power
activity": "In fact, the more distance the better between
the government and a nation's soft power capacity".
Professor Nye stated plainly that "If you are not credible
you are not going to be able to generate soft power".
46. For example, national broadcasters are often
seen as a 'soft power asset' because they increase international
awareness of a country, and promote understanding in their audiences
about that country's story, values, people and aspirations, as
well as furthering other aspects of the country's international
agenda (such as encouraging development). In discussing the BBC's
relationship to the Government, Professor Nye told us: "The
fact that the BBC can bite the hand that feeds it occasionally
means the BBC is seen as credible rather than as propaganda. You
do not see that with the Chinese media broadcasters".
International Alert agreed that the fact that the BBC is "from
a British perspective" but "frequently critical of the
UK" has earned it a reputation for credibility.
The BBC stressed to us the importance of credibility, emphasising
that "Unlike some other international broadcasters, the objective
of the World Service is not to advance the foreign policy of the
UK Government", and arguing that the move from FCO to licence
fee funding from 2014 will distance the Service from perceptions
and accusations that it has been an arm of government.
Similarly, Sir Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British
Council, told us that he has a "conversation" with the
FCO about its major foreign policy objectives and what the Council
can do to support them, but not "how": this day-to-day
independence he sees as critically important for the Council's
The Council told us that research by Demos "suggests
direct government involvement invites suspicion and hostility;
it is people-to-people contact and reciprocity that build trust".
47. A country's cultural reputation can make
it attractive. But as an example of what can happen when culture
is seen as a tool of government, the Centre for World Cinemas,
University of Leeds and B-Film: Birmingham Centre for Film Studies
drew our attention to "the disaster that was Confucius
(2010), a large-budget Chinese historical fantasy film which
was the product of a policy intended to showcase to the world
the potential of the Chinese film industry. The film famously
flopped, even at home, being unable to compete with James Cameron's
Avatar (2010), despite the Hollywood film receiving only
very limited distribution within China".
Professor Urs Matthias Zachmann, of the University of Edinburgh
told us that when Japanese elite bureaucrats appropriate Japanese
pop culture outputs and gear them to official national interests,
the pop culture "loses its claims to the subcultural and,
thus, its allure and power". He argued that "The same
can be said, more abstractly, of any use of culture towards political
ends, as it limits the former's interpretive range and thereby
As Levant Education Consulting wrote, "As soon as artists,
writers, businesses or education institutions are seen to be part
of government 'soft power' propaganda, their appeal/reputation
is inevitably tarnished".
48. Another problem with 'using' soft power is
that it is not easy to show that any international goodwill towards
the UK generated by an act or asset has directly resulted in sales
or security gains. Soft power is very difficult to measure
and largely intangible: trying only to achieve the outcomes of
soft power approaches that are measurable could mean that a country
does not benefit to the full.
The number of albums by British artists sold overseas can be counted,
while the UK's reputation for upholding the rule of law cannot,
but this does not make One Direction more important for the UK's
standing than its legal history; and it is hard to prove that
either has directly resulted in behavioural change.
49. Governments can therefore neither direct
soft power generation
(except through their own resources) nor treat soft power as a
lever that they can pull when desired: soft power is difficult
to treat as a tool (or to 'instrumentalise').
Sir Martin Davidson told the Committee that building and
exercising soft power "is a long-term, slow-burn activity.
is generational: 'How do you build a generation of engagement
between this country and other countries?' not, 'How do you make
it highly instrumental within a very short period of time?'"
Demos argued that governments should "embrace long-term
relationship building instead of short-term transactional and
instrumental thinking", because the former is more effective.
50. However, many of our witnesses proposed that
it was possible for soft power to be capitalised uponby
the Government and by others such as UK businessesto change
the behaviour of others towards the UK, in ways that fulfil objectives
set or supported by Government.
The Government might be able to construct strategies regarding
its international goals that align with the priorities of independent
actors and in this way 'harness' their effortswitness the
Government's work alongside NGOs and businesses to campaign for
the adoption of the international Arms Trade Treaty in 2013.
51. The Prime Minister expressed this logic in
his speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos on 24 January
2013. He outlined a number of British "soft power assets"
(see Chapter four) and added that "While the Government cannot,
and does not seek to, control all of these directly, it can support
and harness their strengths, for instance through our international
scholarships, aid programmes or collaboration with public diplomacy
partners including the British Council".
The Government can support activities that show a track
record of generating soft power for the UK: Professor Rawnsley
told us that as soft power is "a natural by-product of one's
values, principles, and behavior" it "cannot be strategised",
but that "instruments of exercising soft power"
can be developed. These include public diplomacy (diplomacy aimed
at people rather than governments) and cultural diplomacy (using
the exchange of ideas, values, traditions and other aspects of
culture and identity to strengthen relationships, enhance cooperation
and promote national interests).
While Sir Martin Davidson did not want "government fingerprints"
on soft power activities, the British Council regarded "Government
as having a critical role in creating the environment and conditions
within which soft power can be operated".
In Chapters four and five we explore what the Government
can do to help this process.
Why soft power is difficult:
the problem of communication
52. The possession of soft power can bring greater
international influence for the UK if overseas governments, companies
and individuals receive a favourable impression that makes them
more willing to associate themselves with the UK and its interests.
Soft power is therefore intimately bound up with communication.
But Gillespie and Webb warned that the idea "that power lies
in the hands of the media and the communicator to shape meanings
ignores 80 years of audience research which shows that
the messages intended and messages received are not equivalent".
The power of communication depends less on projection than
on how audiences understand and interpret the act of communication
in its entirety (what is said, how, why, in what context) and
over time (because interpreting communication depends on prior
experiences, assumptions, and expectations).
Attraction is in the eye of the beholder, meaning the UK cannot
decide what is attractive about itself.
Professor Cox told us that soft power is fundamentally not
what you say but "what you have" and "what your
society and system are".
Others' perceptions of the attractiveness of the UK also depend
on how they view British actions.
53. Professor Giles Scott-Smith of Leiden
University warned us of the dangers of "getting the message
right but the reality wrong". For example, the US State Department
played a film at passport control points that expressed the welcoming
nature of the American people, but whose message did not match
the long queues for those waiting to go through immigration control,
or the hard-edged attitude of the US immigration staff.
The US had run into what Emile Simpson has called the 'say-do'
gap, the distinction between what a state says it does and what
it actually does.
Hyper-connectivity makes the gap visible to an unprecedented degree.
54. If the UK wants others to have their ears
open to its communication, it can only avoid accusations of hypocrisy
and cultural imperialism if its ears are open too.
Just the act of projecting a narrative or trying to engage can
be viewed as an act of coercion or manipulation.
Sir Martin Davidson told the Committee that "We cannot
expect others to be interested in us if we are not interested
they want us to be involved and looking at them
and seeing them as of interest to us, just as much as presenting
He argued that "mutuality" was crucial to the British
Council's success as "the UK's leading soft power agency":
its contribution comes from "not just showcasing the UK's
assets" but "sharing" those assets and supporting
a reciprocal exchange of ideas and culture.
The Council sees sharing rather than broadcasting, and discussing
rather than lecturing, as key to the way it builds "trust
between the people of the UK and the peoples of other nations".
Keith Nichol, Head of Cultural Diplomacy, Department for
Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), concurred that with soft power,
"Reciprocity is absolutely vital
This should not be
just about us doing things to the rest of the world".
Richard Dowden warned about a tone of "'we know best for
you'" alienating a new generation of self-confident Africans.
Peter Horrocks, Director of Global News at the BBC with
responsibility for the BBC World Service, also stressed its focus
on mutuality and told us that the BBC was "no longer people
in London saying, 'This is how the world is', to people around
the world. It is a dialogue; it is a debate".
55. Consistent with this message, we heard about
UK institutions that are supporting the development of similar
bodies overseas on a basis of equality rather than paternalism.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
supports international capacity building projects to develop local
professional bodies and institutions.
Gilly Lord, Partner and Head of Regulatory Affairs at the London-based
multinational professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers,
told us that in the ICAEW's work with emerging economies, "Rather
than saying, 'Please come and join our accountancy profession
because it is so great', it is helping them to work out how you
do it in your own country", establishing affectionate relationships
with the UK instead of more unequal connections.
In Abu Dhabi, while France and the US have planted outposts of
the Louvre and the Guggenheim, the British Museum is supporting
the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government to create the UAE's
own national museum (designed by a British architectural firm).
David Collier ,Chief Executive of the England and Wales
Cricket Board, reported that the Board would see more competition
from the growth of professional sports in other countries as "an
opportunity and a bonus" because the Board would be in a
position to export expertise and help other countries' institutions
56. Another difficulty regarding successfully
communicating the characteristics and outputs that make the UK
attractive is making one's voice heard above the crowd.
In the hyper-connected world, the visibility of international
affairs is increasingthere is an explosion of information
and comment surrounding what governments are doing and saying
and what countries' institutions and populations are creating
and thinking. Dr Ali Fisher told us that in an era of proliferating
choice of information sources it is difficult for any single actor
to control a debate: "the influence of shifting networks
and relationships makes genuine dominance extremely difficult"hence,
yet again, the importance of soft power being generated by a plethora
In a hyper-connected and multi-polar world, attention is
the scarce resource and currency of international relations.
The Government and other UK bodies need to understand how to generate
the capacity to attract it, and when and how to take advantage
of that capacity.
57. Because it is linked to a country's reputation,
soft power is slowly gained but quickly lost.
Images that fly around the world of rioting in London, or mass
protests in São Paulo or Istanbul, can damage international
impressions of a developed nation, and can contradict the notion
that emerging powers are advancing rapidly and smoothly.
It is for this reason that many experts recommended that the UK
Government see soft power as a very long-term commitment, and
emphasised the importance of patiently building up relationships
and networks over years, decades and generations.
Gillespie and Webb therefore argued for the careful nurturing
of assets such as the BBC World Service, saying: "We lose
this soft power at our peril and once lost it will not be regained
in a media saturated world where voices struggle to be heard".
58. One more difficulty with the concept of soft
power is apparent from the evidence that we received about what
counts as success in the world of soft power. Instinctively, it
may seem that the greater the international reach and attractiveness
of a country's 'soft power assets', the bigger that country's
soft power capability, and the greater its ability to influence
others through soft power. The 'reach' of the BBC and the British
Council is immense, and this certainly adds to their ability to
enhance the UK's soft power.
However, if others emulate a country's values or cultural practices,
to what extent do those values and practices continue to be associated
with the 'original' country and add to its international standing?
Professor Zachmann told us that "popular culture originating
in Japan is all the more successful and pervasive abroad, the
less distinctly 'Japanese' it is"for example, "the
pervasiveness of Japanese characters
on children's television
programming is rarely associated with a distinct consciousness
that these are particularly Japanese, let alone particular sympathy
with its country of origin". This means that "soft power
which is successful because it is 'universal' is self-defeating
in its purpose to promote specific national interest".
59. Attempting to present both a universal and
a British perspective therefore generates a paradox that can be
difficult to resolve. If they are to bring the UK power by drawing
others to trust in and sympathise with the UK, the characteristics
that attract that trust and sympathy must have broad appeal, but
they must also continue to be associated with the UK. Publicly
funded bodies in particular should consider how their actions
contribute to British attractiveness before presenting themselves
as 'universal' assets. We were told that a number of the UK's
soft power assets try actively to use global appeal to enhance
British attractiveness. Peter Horrocks emphasised to us that the
BBC's main channels in English do not "use Britishness"
to describe themselves. The World Service is described as "the
world's radio station", meaning "a sense of ownership
by the world of something that is obviously a British-funded asset".
The BBC Trust has said explicitly that the World Service's perspective
should not be based on a British national or commercial interest,
because, as Peter Horrocks told us, "other countries have
services that are explicitly about reflecting the national political
and their services are regarded as being propaganda".
According to Horrocks, by having an "even-handed global
perspective", the BBC "can attract people to Britain
precisely because we are not pursuing a British agenda".
Professor Mary Kaldor, Professor of Global Governance
at the London School of Economics and Political Science, wrote
that the British Council, the BBC World Service and British universities
are significant because "they are global institutions rather
than British institutions", so they "contribute to global
debates about the construction of rules and norms rather than
conveying an insular national message".
The Financial Times and The Economist were also
singled out as internationally "deemed to be not British
but global"; while we were told that the British Museum describes
itself as "a museum of the world, for the world".
The international character of English football's Barclay's
Premier League was also highlighted: its Chief Executive, Richard
Scudamore, argued that the number of foreign players in the League
enhanced its international appeal, with spikes of interests in
certain countries when particular players are playing. He added
that the presence of foreign club owners contributed to the UK
being viewed as "open for business".
60. The evidence that we have received about
the role of soft power in modern international relations has convinced
us that because the methods that countries use to sustain or gain
international power are changing, successfully communicating the
attributes, values and outputs that gain for the UK both attractiveness
and respect in the eyes of people abroad will be vital in maintaining
the UK in positions of influence. Soft power may be difficult
to measure and control, but it is nonetheless essential for protecting
the UK's interests. The mindset of those who shape the UK's foreign
policy must reflect this.
How to use power smartly
61. What matters is not how much soft or hard
power a country has, but how it uses its power to shape the behaviour
of others in a way that furthers its interests. Soft power alone
will never be sufficient to protect all of the UK's security and
prosperity interests. In the mid-2000s, Professor Nye acknowledged
the interplay of hard and soft power by formulating a new concept,
'smart power', which he described as "The ability to combine
hard and soft power into an effective strategy".
International leadership involves drawing strategic benefit from
bothknowing when to use hard or soft power depending on
context and opportunity.
62. Much of the evidence that we received indicated
that the UK is in a strong position regarding smart power. The
British Council told us that "The UK is one of a handful
of international players to have the capacity to project power
in all its forms anywhere. It has unique strengths in the soft
and hard power stakes".
It has scored consistently highly in two of the most respected
global rankings of soft powerthe IfG-Monocle Soft Power
Index and the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index. In the former
index, the UK ranked first in 2012 and second in 2013; the Prime
Minister has described the UK as "the soft power superpower".
(The UK's soft power strengths are examined in Chapter four of
this Report.) Dr Peter van Ham of the Netherlands Institute
of International Relations considered that "the UK has a
unique blend of soft and hard power, combined with an equally
unique fusion of a European identity and cosmopolitan worldview.
There is no other European country with these qualities and capabilities".
Accordingly, "the UK should shape a policy based on clearly
defined values and interests. And it should ram home that it is
willing to defend these values and interests, if need be by using
hard power. By making this clear, the UK would not only educate
its own populace that its freedom and prosperity requires vigilance
and grit, but also send the message to outsiders that it considers
these values (and interests) worth defending. The optimal
mix of hard and soft power
will add to the UK's global
(We explore how the Government can achieve this in Chapters four
63. Soft power and hard power are intrinsically
linked, and finding the "optimal mix" of the two is
crucial to protecting and furthering a country's interests. As
we have said, soft power is not a cheap substitute for hard power:
rather, hard power can be invaluable in underpinning soft power.
The Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, former Foreign Secretary, told
the Committee that "there is no intrinsic dichotomy between
'soft power' and 'hard power'; rather, the reverse, with the one
supporting the other".
He counselled that it "would be naive in the extreme for
a belief to grow up that we could make up for any serious deficiencies
in our military strength by seeking to 'develop' our soft power.
Instead, we should strive for a proper balance between the two".
Dr van Ham warned that the EU, which was "built upon
the understanding that using (and even just having) hard power
is wrong and dangerous since this could quickly awaken the ghosts
of nationalism", and for which soft power is the "main,
if not only currency and unique selling point", has "intentionally
made itself vulnerable to the bullying and intimidation of hard-nosed
competitors who still value the uses of hard power (China, Russia,
64. Jack Straw MP contrasted the UK with
Germany: he argued that while Germany was the world's most successful
exporter, with high living standards, "their unwillingness
generally to use their armed forces in active offensive operations
means that they have surprisingly little wider 'soft power' influence
across the world and their diplomatic clout is also diminished
as a result".
Mr Straw concluded that, "as Theodore Roosevelt wrote
in 1900, a state should seek to, 'Speak softly and carry a big
This was echoed by John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief of The
Economist, who told the Committee that if power is the "ability
to get people to do things that they would otherwise not want
to do" then it is useful to create the impression that "it
is generally in their interest to be nice to us".
Sir John Major explained how smart power brought an end to
the conflict in Northern Ireland:
"Hard power bled into soft power. The fact
that hard power had been there for so long was one of the reasons
that soft power began to work. We had had hard powerthat
is the Army in Northern Irelandfor a long time and it led
to a stand-off. It protected people. It prevented chaos and that
was absolutely necessary, so we owe a great deal to the Army and
the RUC for doing that. But it was when you got to smart power,
that is the continuation of hard power allied to soft power, that
we moved to a settlement".
65. Another example of the way in which soft
power to some extent depends on hard poweron economic might
and being able to bring military power to bear if neededis
provided by the case of Syria in 2013.
The 2013 Syria crisis: the roles of hard,
soft and smart power
We heard a number of different interpretations of
the crisis regarding Syria's chemical weapons in August 2013.
Indra Adnan, in her written evidence, read the way in which the
Syrian government had succumbed to diplomatic pressure to destroy
its chemical weapons as "a demonstration of how the many
different elements of soft power combine to get an effect hard
power can no longer deliver".
However, the Henry Jackson Society's written evidence
argued that "the recent case of Syria has starkly demonstrated
the necessity of hard power, particularly military hard power,
in an instance where soft power has failed. The UK is one of the
five permanent members of the UN Security Council, acts as the
base for a host of Syrian exiles, is the second largest donor
of humanitarian aid to Syrians, and (in relation to hard power
actions) has led diplomatic efforts to create economic sanctions
on Syria and frozen regime assets within the UK. All of this ultimately
failed to buy the UK, or the Western powers in general, influence
in events on the ground in Syria. Only the threat of military
force by the US, France and (briefly, implied) the UK has forced
concessions from the Syrian government in the form of the surrender
of its chemical weapons".
Professor Nye saw an application of hard and
soft power combined in "a smart power strategy: the threat
of force led the Russians, as [President] Assad's protectors,
to press him to move on this, which then led to the UN resolution
and the work that is being done there now" (Q181). It is
hard to imagine that President Assad would have agreed to destroy
the government's chemical weapons without any application of sanctions
or threat of the use of force.
66. As well as adding a "hard edge to diplomatic
soft power", hard power assets and the judicious use of hard
power can generate soft power.
As Research Councils UK told us, "conventional military forces
nowadays are to a considerable extent used for 'soft' purposes
such as reinforcing diplomacy and protecting communities".
Economic sanctions can force parties to seek diplomatic solutions,
as recently occurred in international discussions over Iran's
Economic strength can also be hugely beneficial to a nation's
soft power, because a country with a strong economy has more resources
to invest in culture and education and distribute as aid and scholarships.
67. In counter-insurgency conflicts, military
gains can in some circumstances depend on soft power approaches.
While in the last decade 'hearts and minds' dimensions of military
campaigns and the ideas of 'securing the civilian' and 'human
security' have garnered public attention, the UK Armed Forces
have long placed an emphasis on such an approach.
Human security is about the security of individuals and the communities
in which they live and involves both physical security (protection
from violence) and material security (protection from poverty,
homelessness or environmental risks).
It underpins the merging of development and security operations,
as exemplified by recent operations in Afghanistan. Professor Kaldor
told us that "the current UK-led EU anti-piracy mission in
Somalia, the intervention in Sierra Leone in 2001, the Northern
Ireland experience, and the British role in Basra after the Charge
of the Knights in 2008 are all good examples of missions that
had strong human security elements". She argued that the
UK has a comparative advantage in the type of instruments needed
for promoting human security, as it showed in those contexts,
but that "this advantage is in danger of being frittered
away in part by the UK involvement in militant counter-terror
efforts (the invasion of Iraq or the current drone campaign) and
in part by defence cuts which are designed to preserve classic
The balance of a country's security instruments, and the balance
between emphases on national security and human security, can
therefore enhance or inhibit that country's attractiveness to
others. Stuart MacDonald, Executive Director of the Centre for
Cultural Relations, University of Edinburgh, also noted that "Cultural
relations and dialogue are increasingly recognised as important
in security and conflict resolution".
68. Hard power can undermine soft power, for
example through failings and abuses in the field. The Durham Global
Security Institute told us that "Between 2009 and 2012, when
US drone attacks increased, Pakistani public support for US financial
and humanitarian aid to militant areas dropped from 72 per cent
to 50 per cent, while those regarding the US as an enemy rose
from 64 per cent to 74 per cent". Development aid is usually
seen as a core contributor to soft power, but the Institute added
that "where development aid is too closely linked to the
projection of hard power, it can come to be seen as an extension
of hard power, losing much of its persuasive powerparticularly
when aid flows drop after the withdrawal of military personnel,
as was the case with Afghanistan in the 1990s (and may happen
69. Soft power can also act as a cover for hard
power. Professor Zachmann told us that Japan's "renewed
thrust" of soft power initiatives, including those of 'Cool
Japan', may also serve "security purposes". Due to constitutional
provisions, "Japan's military options are, at least in theory,
severely restricted and, in any case, require additional argumentative
support or justification. Thus, it has been argued that 'soft
power' is the liberal compensation for Japan's lack in 'hard power'
to pursue its national interests abroad. However, considering
Japan's post-1990 naval build-up [Japan's navy now has four times
as many major warships as the Royal Navy]
and increased radius of activity in 'areas surrounding Japan',
it could be argued that, on the contrary, Japan's renewed emphasis
on soft power is also a trust-building measure to sheath the edges
of its newly acquired hard power, especially with its East Asian
neighbours". Professor Zachmann, who was sceptical about
soft power as a 'power instrument' to pursue specific policy goals
or a narrowly defined agenda of national interests, told us that
"it could be argued that under strained relationships, soft
power can at best soften an otherwise uncompromising antagonism
and render attitudes more ambivalent", which could be viewed
as a successful outcome to such an approach.
70. Hard power and soft are therefore interdependent.
To maximise their overall power, governments must strike an
intelligent balance between supporting and benefiting from softer
methods of power and persuasion now available and resorting to
the use of force (hard power). Governments must also understand
how hard and soft power are mutually reinforcing. Using
the analogy of Professor Nye's three-dimensional chess game
(with military power still unipolar on the top board, economic
power now multipolar on the middle board, and the realm of cross-border
transactions outside governmental control on the bottom board
where power is now widely dispersed), governments need to be able
to negotiate their positions in all three dimensions. In the hyper-connected
world, we consider that the game will be played more often on
the third board, where transnational attractions and connections
produce soft power.
While it will be rarer for states to call on military force or
economic sanctions, failure to consider the whole playing board
could lead to the UK being outmanoeuvered.
Communicating smart power
71. Professor Nye told us that the crux
of international relations today is "not just whose army
wins, it is also whose story wins in an information age".
Regarding the US, he has written that "The ability
to get the outcomes we want will rest upon a new narrative
of smart power" (italics added).
That is, it is not enough just to exercise power in a smart way:
countries, or their leaders, also have to persuade the world that
they are exercising power in a smart way. Transnational challenges
mean that countries cannot achieve all their international goals
by acting alone. Jonathan McClory told us that "Power with
other actors is becoming as important as power over themand
it is certainly more plausible to exercise power in such a way.
The ability to build and mobilise networks of state and non-state
actors towards the advancement of an objective is what will separate
successful and unsuccessful states in the future of foreign policy".
Not only do policy-makers, firms, cultural institutions and citizens
need to use power more smartlyand with other countries
instead of over thembut they need to enter into a new way
of talking about power, providing a more sophisticated narrative
than the classical stories of the rise and fall of great powers.
72. Many policy-makers and academics have argued
that possessing an attractive strategic narrative has become vital
for states seeking to exercise influence and maintain credibility
in international relations.
A narrative about a country's identity and how it expects to use
power helps clarify interests and direction internally,
helps to 'harness' soft power generated by non-governmental actors,
and creates expectations abroad.
By communicating a consistent conception of how a country exercises
power, domestic and overseas audiences can arrive at a shared
expectation of how that country is likely to behave, opening the
possibility for enhanced credibility and legitimacy for that country's
foreign policy. Professor Roselle told us that "a compelling
narrative can be a soft power resource, as people may be drawn
to certain actors, events, and explanations that describe the
history of a country, or the specifics of a policy" (see
Maintaining a lead in smart power
73. Other countries are aware of their own soft
or smart power strengths and weaknesses and are seeking to enhance
their soft power to compete in new and fast-changing world conditions.
China, Turkey, Brazil, Russia, South Korea and other leading economies
are all developing soft power strategies and investing in cultural
institutes, scholarship programmes and broadcasting, the British
Council told us.
In 2011 the budget of Russia's international television broadcaster
Russia Today was 20 billion roubles or US$705 million.
Sir Martin Davidson focused on China, which he told us has
established around 350 Confucius Centres (public institutions
aligned with the government of China that promote Chinese language
and culture, support Chinese teaching, and facilitate cultural
exchanges) in the last 10 years. He added: "It is very difficult
to know exactly how much money the Chinese are spending on this.
The best published
number that we have been able to find
is US$200 million, but my guess is that a multiple of that is
As early as 2010 Richard Sambrook, formerly of the Global News
Division at the BBC, noted: "In 2009 the Chinese Government
announced that it will spend almost [US]$7 billion on the international
expansion of key media outlets, of which $2.2 billion will be
spent each on CCTV [China Central Television] and the Xinhua news
74. Meanwhile traditional power rivals are continuing
to strengthen their cultural diplomacy institutions, such as Germany's
Goethe Institutes and France's Instituts Français. The
Ambassador of Brazil, HE Mr Roberto Jaguaribe, argued that
because Brazil lacked hard power it was seeking to maximise its
soft power, and was increasing its visibility in international
affairs as a result.
Brazil sought to work through international organisations such
as the WTO and engage other countries in non-coercive ways, for
instance by offering technical assistance to developing countries.
The Ambassador of Japan, HE Mr Keiichi Hayashi, told a similar
story: while the Japanese Navy has expanded in recent years, in
2003 Japan lacked sufficient army personnel in the field to protect
Japanese engineers whom it had sent to Iraq. Instead of a hard
power strategy, he claimed, Japan had tended to follow the UK's
example of 'Cool Britannia' with a 'Cool Japan' soft power strategy.
The then Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy, DR Rudolf
Adam, told the Committee that Germany approached soft power by
seeking to set fashions in thinking. Germany tried to generate
the perception that it could make a positive contribution to addressing
the world's problems.
75. Professor Nye told the Committee that
the United States had no soft power strategy, but that Secretary
Clinton had used smart power as the "guiding principle"
for her diplomacy. Professor Nye argued that the US lacked
sufficient coordination of its smart power budgeting. The US government
might decide to cut a language service of Voice of America (the
US government's external broadcasting institution) that costs
US$1 million per year whilst maintaining an aid project costing
US$100 million per year that was failing.
Former Under-Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
for the US Department of State Tara Sonenshine told the
Committee about the US "strategy of engagement and exchange
and education: three 'Es' that we [the US] feel are very much
strategic pillars of this soft power/smart power public diplomacy".
She spoke of engagement through social media alongside traditional
educational exchanges, suggesting how digital and face-to-face
connectivity can complement each other to build strong personal
relationships with individuals from overseas.
Professor Nye has explained how US spending on public diplomacy
stayed around US$1.5 billion per year between 1994 and 2008 with
a slowdown before 11 September 2001.
Approximately half of this was spent on international broadcasting.
In addition, however, US spending on strategic communication by
the Department of Defense alone in 2009 was US$626 million.
76. Evidence we received suggested that Norway
is a leading soft power actor and possibly an instructive example
for others. Norway has a population of only about five million,
but consistently comes in the top five of the IfG-Monocle Soft
Power Index and the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index. Indra
Adnan considered that "Norway has built its international
reputation as the home of peace: the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded
there each year, tourists visit the Peace Institute and the government
actively brokers peace partnerships the world over".
The Norwegian Ambassador, HE Mr Kim Traavik told us that
Norway has no single soft power strategy. Rather, its soft power
is the end result of policies and forms of engagement that Norway
would have pursued "in any case". Soft power was "a
Yet he cautioned that the success Norway may enjoy was built upon
its international orientation and the character of its society,
which could not be "copied" by other countries.
He felt instead that Norway's example could "inspire".
77. The UK simply cannot compete with the huge
resources that China is investing in culture and commerce.
But the UK is perhaps not competing with medium-power rivals as
effectively as it could, either. Demos told us that "There
is a growing seriousness about, and expenditure on, cultural relations
in BRIC countries
and more widely across Asia and the Middle
East. Western powers face competition from emerging, high-growth
economies that are becoming increasingly outward looking. By contrast,
in the case of many Western nations, cultural relations have been
subject to retrenchment and short-termism, as countries look inwards
in a time of intense economic pressures. This is creating an inherent
risk to these countries' long-term global influence".
We heard that the UK will need to use its resources in a targeted,
skilful way. For example, the British Council argued that we,
the UK, "will need to think strategically about how we invest,
supporting organisations like our universities and museums to
be more entrepreneurial and to be ambitious internationally".
 Demos told
us that "The level of resources invested by countries matters,
but enabling a genuine and open exchange of culture and ideas
will be far more important in staying ahead in the race for soft
power. The most successful nations will in future be those that
are flexible and open to other cultures, responding quickly to
changing dynamics and global trends".
78. For the UK to thrive in the new global
milieuas it should be well equipped to doGovernment,
Parliament, leading voices and shapers of opinion, non-governmental
actors and the public will all need a better understanding of
the importance of soft power alongside traditional hard power,
and of how they interact. It is vital that the Government should
have confidence in communicating with the British public about
how some of their actions and spending in support of soft power
can only deliver tangible and measurable results over time, and
with patience and dedication.
79. A greater public appreciation for how
the UK's soft power assets (such as its cultural strengths) and
most attractive characteristics (such as its diversity) contribute
to the UK's international standing, its security, and its prosperity,
could improve both domestic and international understanding of
the UK's strategic narrative. It could also support internal community
cohesion, and help voters recognise the benefits of the international
networks of which the UK is a member, and the assets and policies
that taxpayers fund. We urge strongly-led public debate about
the Government's approach to smart power. Particularly within
Government and Parliament, there is a need for urgent reflection
on the mechanisms through which the Government seek to exercise
power to achieve the UK's goals.
80. We also urge on all concerned a much deeper
understanding of how others see the UK, and how the very most
can be made of our undoubtedly unique assets. Thus, while the
US is the UK's close ally, and while the UK is a European power
by history, geography and interests, we feel that there can be
real soft power gains for the UK if it is seen to have a role
and direction which is distinctat least in some respectsfrom
the broad American-led sphere of influence, and distinct from
collective European Union endeavours.
We explore this aspect of the UK's international relations
in Chapter four.
67 See FCO (2013) UK Fully Committed to Implementing
the Responsibility to Protect, 11 September, https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/uk-fully-committed-to-implementing-the-responsibility-to-protect.
See, for example, the US Army Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field
Manual 2006; Simpson, E. (2012) War from the Ground Up. Back
Sir Jeremy Greenstock. Back
Sir Jeremy Greenstock. Back
See Richard Norton-Taylor. Back
Sir John Major, Q349; Jack Straw MP; Tara Sonenshine, QQ358-9;
Indra Adnan; Richard Norton-Taylor; British Council supplementary
written evidence; Lord Soley. Back
General Sir Nicholas Houghton (2013) 'Annual Chief of the Defence
Staff Lecture 2013', Royal United Services Institute, London,
House of Commons Defence Committee, Towards the Next Defence
and Security Review: Part One, (7th Report, Session 2013-14,
HC Paper 197), http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmdfence/197/197.pdf;
Dr Peter van Ham. Back
House of Commons Defence Committee, Towards the Next Defence
and Security Review: Part One,(7th Report, Session 2013-14,
HC Paper 197), http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmdfence/197/197.pdf. Back
Simpson, E. (2012) War from the Ground Up, p27. Back
Emile Simpson. Back
Durodie, B. (2006) 'We are the enemies within', Times Higher
Education Supplement, 22 September, http://www.durodie.net/articles/THES/20060922enemies.htm.
See Reuters (2014) 'IMF, UN officials among 21 killed in Kabul
suicide attack', 18 January, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/18/us-afghanistan-explosion-idUSBREA0G12P20140118.
VICTUS; Richard Norton-Taylor. Back
Richard Norton-Taylor. Back
Richard Norton-Taylor. Back
Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, p19. Back
Tara Sonenshine, QQ358-9; Indra Adnan. Back
Dr Cristina Archetti. Back
Dr Cristina Archetti. Back
See BP; Welsh Government. Back
Lord Jay of Ewelme, Q292. Back
Lord Hannay of Chiswick, Q293. Back
Professor Seib. Back
For instance, see his unexpected YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKvslV9SFn4;
See British Council supplementary written evidence. Back
The Royal Commonwealth Society told us that "Creating a situation
where states 'want' the same thing through building shared understanding
is absolutely central to the modern Commonwealth, and to the RCS's
vision of how the Commonwealth can continue to develop over the
coming years" (Royal Commonwealth Society). See also Royal
Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, p13. Back
Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, pp12-13. Back
Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, p16. Back
Jonathan McClory. Back
British Council supplementary written evidence. Back
Baroness Prashar, Q152; Lord Hannay of Chiswick; Dr Peter van
Ham; Jonathan McClory; Sir Peter Marshall; Dr Robin Niblett; Royal
Commonwealth Society; VisitBritain; Dr Matt Beech (Director of
the Centre for British Politics) and Dr Peter Munce (Leverhulme
Early Career Fellow), Centre for British Politics, School of Politics,
Philosophy and International Studies, University of Hull. Back
Dr Daniel Arthur of International Policy Dynamics wrote that "A
digitally connected world makes soft power more important due
to speed and extent of reach of communications" (Dr Daniel
Arthur). See also Indra Adnan. Back
Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, p17. Back
Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, p92. Back
Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, pp92-96; Government
written evidence; Maria Miller MP, Q332; Sir John Major, Q350. Back
National Museum Directors' Council. UUK and IU called it "the
influence enjoyed by a nation or state from sources other than
its economic, military, or formal diplomatic strengths" (UUK
and IU). Back
Professor Seib. Back
Dr James Pamment. Back
Gillespie and Webb; Professor Rawnsley; BBC; Maria Miller MP,
Q329. See also Professor Anholt. Back
Professor Nye, Q186; Demos. Back
Gillespie and Webb; Professor Rawnsley. Back
Q186. The BBC's written evidence quoted Professor Nye as saying:
"If you are a citizen in Brasilia or Beijing and you want
to know what is true about a certain event which you read on internet,
the BBC is the gold standard that you turn to"(BBC). Back
International Alert further supplementary written evidence; Maria
Miller MP, Q333. The BBC told us that it is consistently rated
the most trusted and best-known international news provider (BBC). Back
BBC; Peter Horrocks, Q83. From April 2014, jurisdiction over the
World Service passes entirely to the BBC Trust, who will be funding
the Service from the BBC licence fee rather than through the grant-in-aid
that the Service has been receiving from the FCO since 1938 (Peter
Horrocks, Q64). While the Foreign Secretary will continue to have
a role in agreeing the World Service's languages, objectives,
priorities and targets, the BBC will have "full editorial
and managerial independence and integrity in the provision of
the World Service" (BBC; BBC trust (2013) BBC World Service:
A licence fee funded service, June; An Agreement Between
Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media
and Sport and the British Broadcasting Corporation, Cm 8170,
September 2011). Back
Q83; British Council; British Council supplementary written evidence. Back
British Council. Back
HE Mr Roberto Jaguaribe, Q188; Centre for World Cinemas, University
of Leeds and B-Film: The Birmingham Centre for Film Studies; Dr
Christina Rowley. Back
Professor Zachmann. Back
Levant Education Consulting; Dr Jamie Gaskarth; Gillespie and
BBC, Conrad Bird Q310, Q320, Q324; Gillespie and Webb; Dr James
Pamment, Dr Robin Brown, Professor Roselle, Professor Rawnsley;
Demos; Dr Jamie Gaskarth. Back
Dr Daniel Arthur of International Policy Dynamics wrote that "soft
variables have no fixed form" and consequently become extremely
difficult to analyse and model (Dr Daniel Arthur). Back
The BBC undertakes relatively rigorous evaluation of the impact
of its activities and works with academics to refine its concepts,
models and methods to evaluate its engagement and influence. In
the light of new digital methods to research influence, the Arts
and Humanities Research Council has funded Professor Marie Gillespie
to explore and develop these evaluation models. The project, 'Understanding
the Changing Cultural Value of the BBC World Service and British
Council', began in October 2013. See: http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funded-Research/Funded-themes-and-programmes/Cultural-Value-Project/Documents/CVP-project-summaries.pdf#MGillespie.
Martin Davidson, Q63; Peter Horrocks, Q68; David Blackie; British
Council supplementary written evidence; Professor Cox, Q26, Q30;
Richard Dowden; Ingenious Media; Jonathan McClory; Professor Nye,
Q186; VisitBritain. Back
Sir Martin Davidson, Q69; Dr Jamie Gaskarth; Dr Christina Rowley.
The BBC stressed that it was "not a soft power 'asset' to
be deployed at will by the Government" (BBC). Back
Q63; Gillespie and Webb. Back
Dr Jonathan Williams (Deputy Director of the British Museum),
Q64; Demos; John Krige; British Council supplementary written
evidence; Dr Peter van Ham; Laura Roselle; Indra Adnan; see also
Durham Global Security Institute. Emile Simpson emphasised that
in international military missions the underlying story, and the
process by which that story was shaped and established, had become
central to effectiveness and success (Emile Simpson). Back
Government written evidence; Sir Peter Marshall; British Academy;
Government written evidence. Back
Professor Rawnsley; VisitBritain. Back
Sir Martin Davidson, Q63; Demos; Jonathan McClory. Back
Gillespie and Webb. This argument was supported by Dr Cristina
Archetti's written evidence, the British Council's supplementary
written evidence and Dr Ali Fisher's written evidence. Back
This point was made by a majority of the academic experts researching
international political communication who sent us evidence, including
in the written evidence of Gillespie and Webb, Professor Rawnsley,
Dr Jamie Gaskarth, Dr James Pamment, Dr Robin Brown, and Professor
Roselle. It is also supported by the broader study of power in
political science. The leading theorist of power in politics,
Professor Steven Lukes, has written that "merely possessing
or controlling the means of power is not the same as being powerful".
Power is a relationship and thus depends on the other party. Hence,
soft power and the power of communication depend on the recipient.
See Lukes, S. (2007) 'Power and the battle for hearts and minds',
in Berenskoetter, F. and Williams, M.J. (Eds.) Power in World
Politics, p83. Back
Indra Adnan; Professor Scott-Smith. Back
According to Professor Seib, American public diplomacy efforts
in the Middle East are struggling to alter perceptions of the
US in the region because "deep-rooted skepticism about US
intentions in the Arab world
limit even the most cleverly
designed public diplomacy tactics" (Professor Seib). Back
Professor Scott-Smith. Back
Simpson, E. (2012) War from the Ground Up, p181. See also
Khatib, L., Dutton, W. and Thelwall, M. (2011) 'Public Diplomacy
2.0: An Exploratory Case Study of the US Digital Outreach Team',
The Middle East Journal, vol.2, http://ssrn.com/abstract=1734850. Back
Jonathan McClory; Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies,
Coventry University. On the dangers of hypocrisy; see Professor
Nye Q180; Professor Rawnsley; Ian Birrell Q129; Institute of Export;
Dr Cristina Archetti. Back
Professor Rawnsley. Back
Professor Rawnsley; Bially-Mattern, (2005) Ordering International
Politics; Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Power to Lead, p43. Back
Sir Martin Davidson, Q63. Back
Q74; British Council supplementary written evidence; British Council. Back
British Council supplementary written evidence; British Council. Back
Q119. See also Professor Rooney; Dr Ali Fisher; Peter Horrocks,
Q64 and Q90; Sir Martin Davidson Q63 and Q74; British Council;
Centre for World Cinemas, University of Leeds and B-Film: The
Birmingham Centre for Film Studies; Demos. Back
Richard Dowden. Back
Q64, Q90, Q79; BBC. Professor Rawnsley, however, felt the BBC
was not as responsive as it should be, as complaints on the BBC's
Facebook pages about its coverage were "rarely addressed"
(Professor Rawnsley). Back
British Museum. Back
Professor Roselle. Back
Dr Ali Fisher. Back
Professor Scott-Smith. Anholt, S. (2012) Soft Power as Moral
Authority: a New Model of National Influence, p1, available
Professor Cox, Q25. Back
Lord Williams of Baglan, Q25. Back
Demos; Professor Anholt; Sir Martin Davidson, Q63; Dr Jonathan
Williams, Q87; Peter Horrocks, Q81 and Q88; Jonathan Glennie,
Q133; British Academy; Uday Dholakia, Q93; City of London Corporation.
See also Jonathan McClory's 2011 report for the Institute for
Government in which he wrote, "affecting world opinion and
projecting a compelling international narrative are long-term
pursuits. Building soft power requires a sustained effort spanning
years, if not decades". McClory, J. (2011) The New Persuaders
II: A 2011 Global Ranking of Soft Power, p23. Back
Gillespie and Webb. Back
The BBC's international services include: the BBC World Service
("the world's leading international multimedia broadcaster
providing impartial news and analysis in English and 27 other
languages"), which reaches 192 million people around the
world; BBC World News, a commercially funded TV channel; bbc.com,
which alongside BBCNews.com delivers news, business, features
and analysis, and which saw more than 1 billion page views in
a single month in 2013; and BBC Worldwide, the BBC's main commercial
arm which develops brands and licenses merchandise, and operates
TV and digital services including 44 channels available in over
406 million households across the world. The first three of these
(the BBC World Service, BBC World News and bbc.com) together reach
170 countries, with a weekly audience of over a quarter of a billion
people-one in every 28 people (BBC; http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2013/global-audience-estimate.html).
In 2012 the British Council "reached"
over 553 million people worldwide; worked with 10.8 million people
face-to-face; attracted 12.7 million people to its exhibitions,
fairs and festivals; worked on English with 1.7 million policy-makers,
ministers, teachers and learners, 2.37 million exam candidates,
55.9 million website users and 143.8 million viewers, listeners
and readers; connected around the arts with 532,000 artists, art
lovers, cultural leaders and ministers, 9.5 million exhibition
and event attendees and 142.3 million viewers, listeners and readers;
and in the area of education and society worked with 2.9 million
education and citizenship exhibition attendees, 5.9 million teachers,
academics, education and youth sector leaders and young people,
and 14.7 million website users (British Council supplementary
written evidence). Back
Professor Zachmann. Back
Q64, Q68. Back
Q68, Q64; BBC. Indra Adnan argued that as the UK "has such
an extensive network of news organisations, the active development
of a global story
is in its gift" (Indra Adnan). However,
this would hardly be consistent with the BBC's impartiality, so
the UK eschews this opportunity in exchange for what it gains
through the BBC's credibility. Back
Professor Kaldor; Peter Horrocks, Q92; Research Councils UK. Back
Professor Cox, Q39; British Museum; Dr Jonathan Williams, Q65. Back
Q279; Henry Jackson Society. Back
Nye J. S. Jr. (2008) The Power to Lead, p43; Nye J. S.
Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, pxiii. Back
Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, p10. Back
British Council supplementary written evidence. Back
Anholt, S. (2013) Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index; Jonathan
McClory, J. (2013) The New Persuaders III, A 2012 Global Ranking
of Soft Power, http://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/The new persuaders III_0.pdf;
McClory, J. And Bloomfield, S. (2013) 'The Soft Parade', Monocle,
issue 69; Rt Hon David Cameron MP (2014) 'The Importance of Scotland
to the UK', 7 February 2014, https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-importance-of-scotland-to-the-uk-david-camerons-speech.
See also British Council; British Council supplementary written
evidence; Conrad Bird, Q324. Back
Dr Peter van Ham. Back
Jack Straw MP. Back
Jack Straw MP. Back
Dr Peter van Ham. Back
Jack Straw MP. Back
Jack Straw MP. Back
Q39; Sir Jeremy Greenstock. Back
Henry Jackson Society; Professor Nye, Q181. Back
John Micklethwait, Q39. Back
Research Councils UK. Back
Humanitarian Intervention Centre; British Council supplementary
written evidence. Back
Ingenious Media; see also Dr Robin Niblett. Back
See the US Army Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, 2006;
Professor Kaldor. Back
Professor Kaldor. Back
Professor Kaldor. Back
Centre for Cultural Relations, University of Edinburgh. Back
Durham Global Security Institute. Back
Robert D. Kaplan (2012) 'The Return of Toxic Nationalism', The
Wall Street Journal, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323297104578174932950587010?mod=googlenews_wsj&mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424127887323297104578174932950587010.html%3Fmod%3Dgooglenews_wsj.
Professor Zachmann. Back
See Henry Jackson Society. Back
Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, pxvii. Back
Jonathan McClory. Back
Gillespie and Webb; Professor Roselle; Indra Adnan; Professor
Michael Cox, Q37; Dr Jamie Gaskarth; Jonathan McClory; Dr James
Pamment; Professor Anholt; Miskimmon et al. (2013) op. cit.
See Anne-Marie Slaughter, introduction to Porter W. and Mykleby
M. (2011) A National Strategic Narrative, , p4, http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/A%20National%20Strategic%20Narrative.pdf.
Professor Roselle; Dr Jonathan Williams, Q64. Back
British Council supplementary written evidence. Back
von Twickel, N. (2011) 'Sobyanin Embraces Luzkhov's TV Station',
Moscow Times, 25 May, http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/sobyanin-embraces-luzkhovs-tv-station/437408.html. Back
Sambrook, R. (2010) 'The Dragon Stirs', Edelman, 13 September,
HE Mr Roberto Jaguaribe, Q193. Back
Q192; Professor Zachmann. Back
Armitage, R. and Nye, J. (2007) 'A 'Smart' Funding Strategy?',
Appendix to Armitage-Nye Joint Testimony before US Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, 24 April. http://csis.org/files/media/csis/congress/ts0804024Armitage-Nye_Appendix.pdf.
Glassman, J.K. (2013) 'Beyond Tinkering', Committee on Foreign
Affairs of the United States House of Representatives hearing
on, "The Broadcasting Board of Governors: An Agency 'Defunct'",
26 June, http://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA00/20130626/101050/HHRG-113-FA00-Wstate-GlassmanJ-20130626.pdf. Back
Pincus, W. (2009) 'Pentagon reviewing strategic information operations',
Washington Post, 27 December, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/26/AR2009122601462.html?hpid=moreheadlines. Back
Indra Adnan; Durham Global Security Institute; Jonathan McClory;
Stephen Pattison, Q229. Back
British Council supplementary written evidence. Back
See Richard Norton-Taylor; Tara Sonenshine, Q365; Sir John Major,
Q351; Sir Jeremy Greenstock. Back