Persuasion and Power in the Modern World - Select Committee on Soft Power and the UK's Influence Contents

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.[67] 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.[68] 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 … the declining 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".[69] 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 warfare".[70]

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.[71] 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.[72] 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.[73] Some reports suggest that there is even confusion among taxpayers about the continued purpose of the military in the modern world.[74] 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".[75]

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 war—that the outcomes of many conflicts are messy, negotiated, indefinite and based on compromise between combatants.[76] 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".[77]

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 to zero".[78] 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.[79] 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.[80] 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 intervention".[81] 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.[82] 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 important.[83]

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 outcomes".[84] The 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 supplement—rather than substitute for—traditional warfare.[85]

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 diplomacy.

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.[86] 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).[87] 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.[88]

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.[89] 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 Whitehall—and of regional and local governments as well.[90] 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.[91] 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 commercial interests.[92] At the same time, the issues with which they are dealing are increasingly transnational and multilateral, within a rules-based international framework.[93]

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.[94] 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.[95] 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.[96]

39.  While the balances of power are shifting away from the West and away from governments, military force—though undoubtedly vital—is 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 and influence

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.[97] 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".[98] 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.[99] 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 … is that 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".[100] As Professor Nye put it, "when co-opting is possible, policymakers can save on carrots and sticks".[101] 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.[102] 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".[103]

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".[104] 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 coalitions—as well as being able to export goods and services—is vital for modern nations' security and prosperity.[105] 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.[106]

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".[107] Central to attraction is being understood by others to be benign and competent, and to possess beauty or charisma.[108] 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.[109]

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".[110] However, soft power is not divorced from governments, as we explore below.[111] 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 of affluence".[112]

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 power—for 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.[113]

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.[114] 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".[115] 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".[116] Professor Nye stated plainly that "If you are not credible you are not going to be able to generate soft power".[117]

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".[118] 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.[119] 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.[120] 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 international "credibility".[121] 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".[122]

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".[123] 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 trivializes it".[124] 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".[125]

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[126] 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.[127] 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.[128]

49.  Governments can therefore neither direct soft power generation[129] (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').[130] Sir Martin Davidson told the Committee that building and exercising soft power "is a long-term, slow-burn activity. It … 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?'"[131] Demos argued that governments should "embrace long-term relationship building instead of short-term transactional and instrumental thinking", because the former is more effective.[132]

50.  However, many of our witnesses proposed that it was possible for soft power to be capitalised upon—by the Government and by others such as UK businesses—to change the behaviour of others towards the UK, in ways that fulfil objectives set or supported by Government.[133] 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 efforts—witness the Government's work alongside NGOs and businesses to campaign for the adoption of the international Arms Trade Treaty in 2013.[134]

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".[135] 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).[136] 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".[137] 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".[138] 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).[139] Attraction is in the eye of the beholder, meaning the UK cannot decide what is attractive about itself.[140] Professor Cox told us that soft power is fundamentally not what you say but "what you have" and "what your society and system are".[141] Others' perceptions of the attractiveness of the UK also depend on how they view British actions.[142]

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.[143] 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.[144] Hyper-connectivity makes the gap visible to an unprecedented degree.[145]

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.[146] Just the act of projecting a narrative or trying to engage can be viewed as an act of coercion or manipulation.[147] Sir Martin Davidson told the Committee that "We cannot expect others to be interested in us if we are not interested in them … they want us to be involved and looking at them and seeing them as of interest to us, just as much as presenting ourselves".[148] 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.[149] 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".[150] 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".[151] Richard Dowden warned about a tone of "'we know best for you'" alienating a new generation of self-confident Africans.[152] 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".[153]

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.[154] 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.[155] 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).[156] 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 develop.[157]

56.  Another difficulty regarding successfully communicating the characteristics and outputs that make the UK attractive is making one's voice heard above the crowd.[158] In the hyper-connected world, the visibility of international affairs is increasing—there 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 of actors.[159] In a hyper-connected and multi-polar world, attention is the scarce resource and currency of international relations.[160] 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.[161] 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.[162] 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.[163] 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".[164]

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.[165] 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".[166]

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".[167] 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 agenda … and their services are regarded as being propaganda".[168] 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".[169] 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".[170] 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".[171] 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".[172]

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".[173] International leadership involves drawing strategic benefit from both—knowing when to use hard or soft power depending on context and opportunity.[174]

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".[175] It has scored consistently highly in two of the most respected global rankings of soft power—the 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".[176] (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 influence".[177] (We explore how the Government can achieve this in Chapters four and five.)

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".[178] 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".[179] 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, etc.)".[180]

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".[181] Mr Straw concluded that, "as Theodore Roosevelt wrote in 1900, a state should seek to, 'Speak softly and carry a big stick.'"[182] 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".[183] 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 power—that is the Army in Northern Ireland—for 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".[184]

65.  Another example of the way in which soft power to some extent depends on hard power—on economic might and being able to bring military power to bear if needed—is provided by the case of Syria in 2013.[185]


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.[186] 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".[187] Economic sanctions can force parties to seek diplomatic solutions, as recently occurred in international discussions over Iran's nuclear programme.[188] 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.[189]

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.[190] 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).[191] 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 war-fighting capabilities".[192] 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".[193]

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 power—particularly when aid flows drop after the withdrawal of military personnel, as was the case with Afghanistan in the 1990s (and may happen again post-2014)".[194]

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[195]] 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.[196]

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.[197] 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".[198] 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).[199] 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 them—and 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".[200] Not only do policy-makers, firms, cultural institutions and citizens need to use power more smartly—and with other countries instead of over them—but 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.[201] 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.[202] 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 Chapter five).[203]

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.[204] In 2011 the budget of Russia's international television broadcaster Russia Today was 20 billion roubles or US$705 million.[205] 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 being spent".[206] 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 agency".[207]

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.[208] 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.[209] 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.[210] 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.[211]

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.[212] 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.[213] 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.[214] Approximately half of this was spent on international broadcasting.[215] In addition, however, US spending on strategic communication by the Department of Defense alone in 2009 was US$626 million.[216]

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".[217] 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 coincidental result".[218] 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.[219] He felt instead that Norway's example could "inspire".[220]

77.  The UK simply cannot compete with the huge resources that China is investing in culture and commerce.[221] 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".[222] 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". [223] 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".[224]

78.  For the UK to thrive in the new global milieu—as it should be well equipped to do—Government, 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 distinct—at least in some respects—from the broad American-led sphere of influence, and distinct from collective European Union endeavours.[225] 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,  Back

68   See, for example, the US Army Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual 2006; Simpson, E. (2012) War from the Ground UpBack

69   Sir Jeremy Greenstock. Back

70   Sir Jeremy Greenstock. Back

71   See Richard Norton-Taylor. Back

72   Sir John Major, Q349; Jack Straw MP; Tara Sonenshine, QQ358-9; Indra Adnan; Richard Norton-Taylor; British Council supplementary written evidence; Lord Soley.  Back

73   General Sir Nicholas Houghton (2013) 'Annual Chief of the Defence Staff Lecture 2013', Royal United Services Institute, London, 18 December,  

74   House of Commons Defence Committee, Towards the Next Defence and Security Review: Part One, (7th Report, Session 2013-14, HC Paper 197),; Dr Peter van Ham. Back

75   House of Commons Defence Committee, Towards the Next Defence and Security Review: Part One,(7th Report, Session 2013-14, HC Paper 197), Back

76   Simpson, E. (2012) War from the Ground Up, p27. Back

77   Emile Simpson. Back

78   Durodie, B. (2006) 'We are the enemies within', Times Higher Education Supplement, 22 September,  Back

79   See Reuters (2014) 'IMF, UN officials among 21 killed in Kabul suicide attack', 18 January,  Back

80   VICTUS; Richard Norton-Taylor. Back

81   Richard Norton-Taylor.  Back

82   Richard Norton-Taylor. Back

83   VICTUS. Back

84   Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, p19. Back

85   Tara Sonenshine, QQ358-9; Indra Adnan. Back

86   VisitBritain. Back

87   Dr Cristina Archetti. Back

88   Dr Cristina Archetti. Back

89   Q292. Back

90   See BP; Welsh Government. Back

91   Lord Jay of Ewelme, Q292. Back

92   Q292. Back

93   Lord Hannay of Chiswick, Q293. Back

94   Professor Seib. Back

95   For instance, see his unexpected YouTube video:; Back

96   See British Council supplementary written evidence. Back

97   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 Society. Back

98   Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, p13. Back

99   Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, pp12-13. Back

100   Q206. Back

101   Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, p16. Back

102   Jonathan McClory. Back

103   BBC. Back

104   British Council supplementary written evidence. Back

105   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

106   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

107   Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, p17. Back

108   Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, p92. Back

109   Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, pp92-96; Government written evidence; Maria Miller MP, Q332; Sir John Major, Q350. Back

110   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

111   Professor Seib.  Back

112   Dr James Pamment. Back

113   Gillespie and Webb; Professor Rawnsley; BBC; Maria Miller MP, Q329. See also Professor Anholt. Back

114   Professor Nye, Q186; Demos. Back

115   VisitBritain. Back

116   Gillespie and Webb; Professor Rawnsley. Back

117   Q186. Back

118   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

119   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

120   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

121   Q83; British Council; British Council supplementary written evidence. Back

122   British Council. Back

123   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

124   Professor Zachmann. Back

125   Levant Education Consulting; Dr Jamie Gaskarth; Gillespie and Webb.  Back

126   BBC, Conrad Bird Q310, Q320, Q324; Gillespie and Webb; Dr James Pamment, Dr Robin Brown, Professor Roselle, Professor Rawnsley; Demos; Dr Jamie Gaskarth.  Back

127   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

128   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:  Back

129   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

130   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

131   Q63; Gillespie and Webb. Back

132   Demos. Back

133   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

134   Government written evidence; Sir Peter Marshall; British Academy; VisitBritain. Back

135   Government written evidence. Back

136   Professor Rawnsley; VisitBritain. Back

137   Sir Martin Davidson, Q63; Demos; Jonathan McClory. Back

138   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

139   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

140   Indra Adnan; Professor Scott-Smith. Back

141   Q155. Back

142   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

143   Professor Scott-Smith. Back

144   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, Back

145   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

146   Professor Rawnsley. Back

147   Professor Rawnsley; Bially-Mattern, (2005) Ordering International Politics; Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Power to Lead, p43. Back

148   Sir Martin Davidson, Q63.  Back

149   Q74; British Council supplementary written evidence; British Council. Back

150   British Council supplementary written evidence; British Council. Back

151   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

152   Richard Dowden. Back

153   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

154   ICAEW. Back

155   Q233. Back

156   British Museum.  Back

157   Q287. Back

158   Professor Roselle. Back

159   Dr Ali Fisher.  Back

160   Professor Scott-Smith. Anholt, S. (2012) Soft Power as Moral Authority: a New Model of National Influence, p1, available at:  Back

161   Professor Cox, Q25. Back

162   Lord Williams of Baglan, Q25. Back

163   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

164   Gillespie and Webb.  Back

165   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;, which alongside 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 together reach 170 countries, with a weekly audience of over a quarter of a billion people-one in every 28 people (BBC;

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

166   Professor Zachmann.  Back

167   Q64. Back

168   Q64, Q68. Back

169   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

170   Professor Kaldor; Peter Horrocks, Q92; Research Councils UK. Back

171   Professor Cox, Q39; British Museum; Dr Jonathan Williams, Q65. Back

172   Q279; Henry Jackson Society. Back

173   Nye J. S. Jr. (2008) The Power to Lead, p43; Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, pxiii.  Back

174   Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, p10.  Back

175   British Council supplementary written evidence. Back

176   Anholt, S. (2013) Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index; Jonathan McClory, J. (2013) The New Persuaders III, A 2012 Global Ranking of Soft Power, 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, See also British Council; British Council supplementary written evidence; Conrad Bird, Q324. Back

177   Dr Peter van Ham.  Back

178   Jack Straw MP.  Back

179   Jack Straw MP. Back

180   Dr Peter van Ham. Back

181   Jack Straw MP.  Back

182   Jack Straw MP.  Back

183   Q39; Sir Jeremy Greenstock. Back

184   Q348. Back

185   Henry Jackson Society; Professor Nye, Q181. Back

186   John Micklethwait, Q39. Back

187   Research Councils UK.  Back

188   Humanitarian Intervention Centre; British Council supplementary written evidence. Back

189   Ingenious Media; see also Dr Robin Niblett. Back

190   See the US Army Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, 2006; Professor Kaldor. Back

191   Professor Kaldor. Back

192   Professor Kaldor. Back

193   Centre for Cultural Relations, University of Edinburgh.  Back

194   Durham Global Security Institute.  Back

195   Robert D. Kaplan (2012) 'The Return of Toxic Nationalism', The Wall Street Journal,  Back

196   Professor Zachmann. Back

197   See Henry Jackson Society. Back

198   Q176. Back

199   Nye J. S. Jr. (2011) The Future of Power, pxvii. Back

200   Jonathan McClory. Back

201   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.  Back

202   See Anne-Marie Slaughter, introduction to Porter W. and Mykleby M. (2011) A National Strategic Narrative, , p4,  Back

203   Professor Roselle; Dr Jonathan Williams, Q64.  Back

204   British Council supplementary written evidence. Back

205   von Twickel, N. (2011) 'Sobyanin Embraces Luzkhov's TV Station', Moscow Times, 25 May, Back

206   Q74. Back

207   Sambrook, R. (2010) 'The Dragon Stirs', Edelman, 13 September,  Back

208   Q188. Back

209   HE Mr Roberto Jaguaribe, Q193. Back

210   Q192; Professor Zachmann. Back

211   Q188. Back

212   Q182. Back

213   Q359. Back

214   Armitage, R. and Nye, J. (2007) 'A 'Smart' Funding Strategy?', Appendix to Armitage-Nye Joint Testimony before US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 24 April.  Back

215   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, Back

216   Pincus, W. (2009) 'Pentagon reviewing strategic information operations', Washington Post, 27 December, Back

217   Indra Adnan; Durham Global Security Institute; Jonathan McClory; VisitBritain.  Back

218   Q189. Back

219   Q189. Back

220   Q189. Back

221   Stephen Pattison, Q229. Back

222   Demos. Back

223   British Council supplementary written evidence. Back

224   Demos.  Back

225   See Richard Norton-Taylor; Tara Sonenshine, Q365; Sir John Major, Q351; Sir Jeremy Greenstock. Back

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