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"In an Information Age, Soft Power Wins"

A Syrian man logs on to his Facebook account at an internet cafe in Damascus, Syria, Feb. 8, 2011. Syria appears to be lifting a 3-year-old ban on YouTube & Facebook, but internet users had been accessing the sites by tunneling through proxy servers.
AP Photo

"In an Information Age, Soft Power Wins"


February 14, 2011

Author: Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Explorations in Cyber International Relations; Cyber Security Project; International Security; Science, Technology, and Public Policy


"Egypt's revolution is momentous. In 18 days, a broad-based, nonviolent social movement overcame an entrenched, autocratic government. However, we are still in the first act of a long play.

As President Barack Obama noted in welcoming the revolution, nonviolent moral force "bent the arc of history," but genuine democracy will require revising the constitution in Egypt and laying out a clear path to elections that are fair and free.

For now, the military is in charge. It is unlikely that the Egyptian military will act like the Chinese at Tiananmen Square or the Iranian government in suppressing its opposition, but will the Egyptian army act like the South Korean military in the 1980s and usher in a genuine democratic process? And even if they do, could the process be hijacked by well-organized minorities as other revolutions have been in history?..."

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For Academic Citation:

Nye, Joseph S. "In an Information Age, Soft Power Wins.", February 14, 2011.

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