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Trump’s War on Soft Power

There is no doubt that in modern times that the United States’ has a strong influence on other countries in the world due to its status as a global superpower. For decades, the United States was able to strengthen that influence through soft power. Soft power is defined as persuasive power through cultural influence and hard power, its opposite, as coercion through military force or economic power. In class, we have discussed soft power regarding U.S. relations with China, but the current President’s foreign policy strategy has affected our relationship with other countries as well.

Even before he was in the oval office, President Trump emphasized hard power over soft power. His campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” was just the beginning of what was to come during his term as President. Open to interpretation the slogan suggested that he would revert America to its original “greatness” mainly focusing on the economy. For the most part, planning to do so through hard power solutions. His “America First” foreign policy approach is another part of his strategy to strengthen U.S. power. This led to the alienation of allies by emphasizing U.S. interests at the expense of theirs. A current example would be the President’s halting of funds to the World Health Organization, to which it is the largest contributor, during a global pandemic. Most of the President’s hard power is emphasized through economic means but he also employs military force. There was a time after he visited France that he wanted a parade of military forces to march through Washington D.C. Some of the consequences of the hard power approach have already made themselves known, but it won’t be until a new President is in the office to see the long-lasting effects.

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