Ernest Wilson, the Dean of The Annenberg School For Communication at USC wrote a paper once distinguishing between hard, soft power and smart power. Over the weekend Secretary of State Rice and Libya’s Gaddafi met to discuss cooperation between our countries. It’s hard now to remember that this was Ronald Reagan’s description of Gaddafi. “This mad dog of the Middle East has a goal of a world revolution: Muslim fundamentalist revolution,” Reagan said. Sound familiar?
The thing about using smart power (sanctions and the offer of aid–carrot and sticks) is that it’s cheap.
Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a grant-making foundation that funds initiatives to prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons, says the U.S. approach to Libya — where negotiations happen to change a regime’s behavior — is the opposite of the Iraq model.
“The Iraq war has proved to be very difficult, costly and unnecessary,” Cirincione says. “The Libya model has been cheap, 100 percent effective, and nobody died.”
This model of smart power is of course completely lost on John McCain and his Neoconservative advisors. they would rather rattle sabers at pipsqueaks and accuse them of fomenting “world Muslim fundamentalist revolution.”