America Goes Soft on Its Soft Power

Aidan Araoz, Reporter

The United States is undoubtedly the foremost military power in the world. When asked what the most powerful country in the world is, any American would surely name their homeland. Except while a staunch military is important, there is a more peaceful and diplomatic way in which power is kept. This diplomatic superiority is known as soft power.
Soft power is a persuasive approach to international relations, typically involving the use of economic or cultural influence.

Following World War II this was a focus of the United States State Department. The US had integral roles in the founding of organizations such as The United Nations, and NATO. Both these organizations have played vital roles in the relative peace that humanity is enjoying at this current time. The founding of these organizations led to a tremendous increase in the soft power of the United States. Due to this considerable soft power, the US has enjoyed relative international respect which served us well in many diplomatic deals for numerous years. But now our soft power is draining at such a rate that soon our word and trust as a nation will be worth nothing.

This great loss of soft power is due to none other than our Commander-in-chief, Donald J. Trump. This loss can be attributed to Trump’s nationalist ideas. It can be clearly seen in our new federal budget. In the budget, funds for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development were cut by 30%. The budget director, Mick Mulvaney, was even quoted calling the budget a “ hard power budget.” While these budget cuts are substantial, it is only one cut in our fastly bleeding soft power.

Additional sources of this bleed can be found in Trump’s decisions regarding our diplomats. Trump’s lack of ambassador appointments to embassies in key countries is shocking. He has failed to appoint ambassadors to South Korea and Saudi Arabia. This is especially astounding because these two countries are vital allies to the US in some of the worlds most volatile areas. Without ambassadors in these countries, our abilities to make deals to ensure peace are greatly inhibited.

American soft power was already on the decline in 2003 as the Bush Administration initiated a war in Iraq. Although that decline is nothing compared to what we are suffering now. Most likely we will recover our soft power. Since America’s inception it has been immensely popular internationally being the symbol of democracy and freedom across the world. Democracy has now been spread to most countries throughout the world. Since our country is the homeland to democracy it has gained us international respect, bolstering our soft power.

In terms of a solution, all we can do is wait. Trump has driven this country to be viewed internationally with dismay, and our opinion can only worsen with him in office. All we can do as a nation to regain our soft power is wait for this man to be out of office. It is only a matter of time until Trump is met with impeachment and our soft power is restored.