That’s why I use the phrase “smart power.” I did it deliberately because I thought we had to have another way of talking about American engagement, other than unilateralism and the so-called boots on the ground.The problem is, she never indicated what she means by smart power. It strikes me that President Obama has actually defined three options: soft, medium and hard power.
- The President has expanded the traditional definition of soft power beyond the idea that its mostly about foreign aid. In situations where international norms/ideals have been breeched, he has worked to develop partnerships to impose sanctions on the offending country (see Iran and Russia).
- He has also used medium power in calling for targeted military strikes (no boots on the ground) to prevent mass killing/genocide (see Libya and Iraq) or the use of chemical weapons (Syria).
- Finally, he has reserved the power of full military response (hard power) to situations where the American people are directly threatened or our allies are in danger (warnings to Russia about incursions into NATO countries).