The concept of soft power and the nuclear issue

Commentary: In the 21st century, information technology is becoming the most important source of power. Whoever can lead the information revolution and possess its advantages will be able to overcome the others and occupy a dominant position in the future world structure

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New world order means promoting Western - or rather US – values and ideologies, as well as political and economic models, since Western Europe is considered by Robert Kagan as the daughter of the lusty and fleshy Venus, as the kept woman of the United States, the scions of the belligerent and strong Mars (Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2003).

All this tries to establish international rules and mechanisms based solely on US interests and profits to promote global capitalism.

It is a practice that takes no account of China, Russia and Islam, as if not only do they not exist, but also as elements that annoy as 'backward', 'uncivilized', 'anti-democratic', etc., forgetting - just to give an example - that the greatest ally of the feudal and obscurantist petromonarchies of the Middle East is precisely the White House.

Therefore international cooperation and the construction of a new world order is sought, based on allied relations with the courtesan Western Europe, the trained Japan, the conformed Australia and other countries and regions. This means expanding the political functions of the 'G8', as well as jointly assuming responsibilities and exercising rights and maintaining control and dominance over international, regional and scenario affairs.

This process means preventing and curbing the rise of "competitors" that challenge the US global leadership and stopping the emergence of "challengers", even of regional political orders; defining the "rogue States" as such and then repressing them; regulating the "countries in transition"; preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction on one side only; developing and deploying new military technology to launch pre-emptive strikes against other countries that do not align.

Hence we have the hegemonic influence of knowledge for the establishment of a new world order. In the aftermath of the Cold War, the United States used it in planning and action to destabilize in order to intervene with specific and targeted initiatives.

The hegemony of knowledge is at the heart of US economic power. Strong economic power is not only a firm foundation for building an international economic order, but also the foundation of US hegemony in this early 21st century.

In the information revolution, the United States has vigorously developed knowledge-intensive industries and gained supremacy in contemporary world. The new economy enables the United States to sweep away the worries and defeats of the past – those that for some observers indicate a 'relative economic decline'. Today, the United States is able to preach and promote its economic models and values around the world and implement the strategy of preparing and advancing the new international economic order as well.

The development of high technocracy, in turn, monopolizes the basic high technologies of third countries that depend on the United States. It also widens the digital divide with other countries in the world, achieving high value-added knowledge, which achieves the best benefits for US economy and enables the United States to continuously gain huge advantages in global markets, inserting itself as a wedge in the world economy.

China's advancement has strengthened the belief in maximizing US economic power in order to dominate the planet. It has increased its hegemonic consciousness and created the necessary technical and IT prerequisites to maintain and develop supremacy in the international economic order that the White House has achieved since the end of World War II.

The hegemony of knowledge is the cornerstone of US soft power, which is an important means and way of establishing a kind of hypnopaedia teaching system, as in Brave New World, a dystopian novel written by Aldous Huxley in 1932.

It was in the 1990s - with the Internet and the development of the IT revolution - that the need for the United States to establish a new world order began to appear and attract increasing attention in the theory and practice of international relations. 

In 1996, Joseph S. Nye, Jr. and William A. Owens published in "Foreign Affairs" (Vol. 75, issue No. 2, March-April, pp. 20-36) the article America's Information Edge that starts with the following words: "Knowledge, more than ever before, is power. The one country that can best lead the information revolution will be more powerful than any other. For the foreseeable future, that country is the United States". They said as much a quarter of a century ago, and nobody remembers it.

With the development of information technology, US power has gradually penetrated the political, economic, cultural and social spheres. In the 21st century, information technology is becoming the most important source of power. Currently information is at the heart of international relations. As the core of soft power, information power will increasingly influence the transformation of foreign affairs. In the age of knowledge economy, whoever can lead the information revolution and possess its advantages will be able to overcome the others and occupy a dominant position in the future world structure.

Soft power is the most important change in the functioning of US hegemony in the era of knowledge economy and becomes an indispensable process for the transformation of information management itself into a new world order under unipolar US domination.

The US soft power has quickly expanded across the globe with the help of the Internet, and of other forms and means of information production such as mass & social media, mobile platforms and international commercial, scientific, technological and cultural exchanges obtained without 'traditional contacts'.

Information about ideologies, ways of thinking and acting, induced needs, science, culture, literature, cinema, economic models and political systems imitating the USA’s (including some local parties that clumsily caricature and mimic the US models between primaries and 'conventions') flood the virtual city - i.e. the global village - in the form of text, audiovisuals, radio, podcasts, etc.

The attraction and influence generated by the flow of asymmetric information intensifies US power and influence and promotes the implementation of its world order strategy, as an irreplaceable role in the project of building a single world governance in the future.

But this is not enough. The United States is also committed to establishing a national missile defence system policy in order to maintain primacy over and above cosmetic intentions.

In the essay Sderzhivanie vo vtorom yadernom veke [Deterrence in the Second Nuclear Age], Institute of International Security, Moscow, 2001, Russian experts Andrej Kokošin, Vasilij Veselov, and Aleksej Liss stated: "In essence, the motivation for establishing a national missile defence system is not only military. This system is not just about finding a way out of the nuclear standoff, nor is it just about defending against hypothetical North Korean missile attacks. What is most wanted is the extraordinary position of the United States in the strategic landscape of the 21st century." These technological advances in nuclear power would ensure a super-dominant position in order to avoid the emergence of a multipolar world. Similarly, the United States strives to curb the UN role in world affairs and claims to have the right to use force unilaterally to prevent a process for creating a multipolar international order. Two years after the Russian monograph, a Hollywood film starring Bruce Willis, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, was released, in which the Russian fears proved to be well founded.

Indeed, a multipolar world is ideal for the international community. On the contrary, in a unipolar world, conflict and violence are inevitable. During the Cold War, due to their mutual fears and restraint, the two superpowers moderated significantly and greatly mitigated many of the negative effects of their policies, avoiding them: there was a strategic balance.

In a unipolar world, inequalities between countries can only lead to confrontation and war. Some countries will try to get rid of the US yoke, as well as establish another pole in the world, and seek another center of power.

Many analysts of international problems say that - regardless of whether other countries want this or not - the current trend could develop towards a US-centric situation. In the future, however, many countries will surely emerge to compete for the planet's last resources located in the central part of Eurasia. In the future, our world risks conflict and a return to barbaric eras.

As far as the militarization of space is concerned, if the United States wants to use its unparalleled economic and technological resources to establish its own advantages, other countries will not be able to compete with it in any way. Therefore the United States will have a monopoly position not only in missile defense, but also in strategic offensive space weapons against certain regions of the earth, as well as in anti-satellite space systems. This will fundamentally disrupt the current global political and military balance and only provide further encouragement to those eager to take unilateral action at home.

The second possibility is that other industrial and technologically advanced countries shall develop and deploy their own space weapons to break the US space monopoly. Therefore the arms race will enter the space field, with irreversible consequences.

How can we thus strengthen international security in the 21st century, or will the United States itself simply guarantee it? And against whom: aliens?


Professor Valori is President of the International World Group

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