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Why soft power is pivotal

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WHY write about soft power at a time of the Covid-19 crisis?

Because the global health emergency helps to illustrate its significance and impact. It also makes sense to evaluate the importance of soft power for Pakistan’s diplomacy in the post-pandemic world.

If soft power is understood as a country’s attributes or behaviour that appeals to others and creates positive perceptions, then consider the case of China in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. China’s remarkably successful fight to contain the virus and then extend help to over 80 countries set an example admired the world over, notwithstanding the stigmatising rhetoric from its detractors.

What does that mean?

It means that by its example and subsequent actions for the collective good, China created a soft power effect. In other words, by earning respect from its conduct, China managed to elevate its global position. This underlines how soft power can be instrumental in enhancing a country’s influence and international standing.

Turning now to consideration of the utility of soft power, the evidence is overwhelming. When soft power is deployed as a pivotal part of a country’s diplomatic strategy it pays rich dividends, enabling that country to build trust and influence and thus more effectively promote its foreign policy goals.

Pakistan needs to step up its diplomatic game and act strategically.

We have long known that perceptions are consequential to a country’s standing in global affairs. Soft power can be an indispensable, cost-effective tool to shape perceptions that can encourage cooperation from the........

© Dawn

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