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Softly softly, France shows the US and Australia how to wield real power

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It might have been the Bastille Day military parade that lured US President Trump back to Europe a mere six days after his ego-deflating experience at the G20 in Hamburg, but it was something else that made the visit a diplomatic triumph for his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron.

The media called it a charm offensive, but seasoned diplomats saw it for what it was: an exemplary use of soft power.

Soft power, according to Harvard professor Joseph Nye, who coined the term in 1990, is the ability to influence others to achieve the outcomes you want without resorting to the traditional tools of economic or military power. Soft power is exercised through seduction, not coercion. So the tools you need are very different: communications, an attractive culture (including cuisine), and inclusive values.

Tender is the might, is how Monocle framed it a few years ago.

Monocle, the magazine that is the arbiter of cool, in recent years teamed up with the British Institute for Government to determine the top 30 countries whose culture, values, and other desirable assets it judges to exemplify the positive use of soft power.

Their poster boy is Justin Trudeau, who as the new Prime........

© The Sydney Morning Herald