Joseph Nye was at the Graduate institute to address the question Are we Seeing the End of the American Liberal Order? He did not want to give a yes or no answer but rather to introduce ideas with which to frame and understand the context of the question looking back in history but also looking at contemporary issues. In so doing he spoke about why the aftermaths of the First World War led to war and why the Aftermath and attitudes after the Second World War led to 75 years of peace. He spoke about Hard Power and Soft Power. He spoke about how with Soft power we find attitudes that everyone wants to adopt and participate in.
What I like about lectures by such individuals is that they really know their topic in depth and they understand it. They are well read and they have taken an active role in the topics they discuss. As a result when they come up to the podium their hands are empty. He did eventually pull out a single sheet of paper and occasionally looked at it. He talked with authority, and occasionally humour.
Here are a number of videos
Verhofstadt, Merkel, Macron and others believe in Soft Power, they believe that through mutually advantageous projects we can all benefit. Just yesterday roaming fees were terminated for European countries. This means that we can now travel and communicate in any other European country. Soft power is the opening of borders for trade, education and more. It is about trust and similar goals. It is about collaboration.
As a result of yesterday’s talk I want to read his books. I want to learn more about the topics he discusses and delve deeper into the context. We must neutralise the populist discourse by understanding what led to so many years of peace. It is important not to regress.