hape what others want”, while hard power is “the ability to change what others do.” Hard power draws upon factors like military might and economic strength and is therefore coercive in nature while soft power banks upon cultural appeal and influencing others through means like institutions and ideological values and norms.
The rise in the Anti-American sentiment in the world after the episode of the terror attacks of 9/11 and the attacks on Afghanistan and then Iraq by USA in response to the terrorist attacks, gave rise to the idea that soft power may help the American foreign policy makers in coping up with the problem. But even before determining how far soft power can take USA in improving its image in the world we need to first analyse how bad America’s existent image is in the world and which parts of the world are these where anti-Americanism needs to be combated if at all.
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union which brought an end to Cold War, the United States of America stood as the sole powerful state which yielded power in almost all spheres including military, economic, technological, cultural, etc., so much so that the world had no other prospective competitor which could challenge the might of the USA. This change of events in the 1990s meant that the world was now uni-polar and USA was its only pole of power. With the onset of the 21st century however, it is believed that USA will not long be able to maintain this position as the sole super power of the world and as we speak this moment the power dynamics of the world are undergoing a great change and reorientation. “Some observers believe that the American era is coming to an end, as the Western-oriented world order is replaced by one increasingly dominated by the East” (Ikenberry, 2002) The growing power of China in Economic and diplomatic spheres for some is an indication of likely power struggle between USA and China which will soon ensue as a result of the challenge which