Professor advocates for diplomatic soft power

first_imgNaren Chitty, the founder of the Soft Power Advocacy and Research Centre at Macquarie University in Australia, visited USC on Monday to speak about the role of power and the importance of soft power in contemporary diplomacy.Before founding the research center, Chitty, who has a doctoral degree in international relations from American University, spent time as a public diplomat in Washington, D.C. and currently teaches at Macquarie University. In addition to researching soft power and public diplomacy, Chitty also advocates the use of ethical soft power. In international relations, hard power is usually the use of military force. Soft power is distinct from hard power in that it is less concrete and stems from outside perceptions of a country’s behavior.Throughout the presentation, Chitty discussed the definition and usage of soft power and elaborated on the ethical use of soft power. Combining his own personal experiences with academic theories, Chitty addressed how the use of ethical soft power can solve social and political problems on an international level.According to Chitty, cooperation works as a positive feedback mechanism for soft power in that it strengthens soft power, which would in turn foster stronger international relationships. Soft power resulting from smart cooperation can be utilized to alleviate poverty, form strategic trade alliances and foster political freedom.Though political scientist Joseph Nye formally defines soft power as “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments,” Chitty set the mood of the presentation by reflecting upon the definition through a Confucian perspective.“Never seek outcomes for others that you would not seek for yourself,” Chitty said. “That is my interpretation of what Confucius would have said if he was to be asked about what soft power was … Symbols of good governance include perfect good will, gentleness and benevolence to all righteous creatures.”Though Confucianism is an ancient philosophy, Chitty gave modern interpretations of Confucian ideals that correspond with the concept of soft power. Based on Confucian philosophy, soft power requires that governments learn about the right form of governance within the broader value structure of their societies, espouse and promote such governance, become established with a recognized social position and share authority with other established figures.“Buddhist culture … spread ideas of soft power during the last hundreds of years,” Chitty said explaining the role of Buddhism in the concept of soft power.Included in Chitty’s presentation were also ideas regarding how soft power can be multiplied and applied to nurture international relationships. According to Chitty, reciprocation and cooperation are the tools involved in using soft power since the concept of ethical soft power focuses heavily on mutualism.“In the case of current relationships between [the three countries] Australia, China and India, and [the countries] China, India and Nepal, cooperation to nurture a third party can result in three-way growth,” Chitty said.Overall, audience response consisted of questions from students and faculty applying current and past diplomatic issues to Chitty’s ideas. Chitty’s talk promoted the use of soft power as an appealing, albeit complex, method of international diplomacy.Follow us on Twitter @dailytrojanlast_img

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