Kristol: Where's the Soft Power?
11:42 AM, Jun 14, 2009 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Steve Hayes asks:
"Smart power" is a modification of "soft power," which the Obama-ites are also huge fans of. Well, isn't this the time to try some soft power?
For example: Statements of support for fair elections and peaceful protest; personal outreach to endangered opposition leaders (if not by us, then by Europeans--though how dramatic would it be if Sec. Clinton placed a phone call to Mousavi to make sure he's not under arrest and is free to talk?); an immediate infusion of funds to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Radio Farda service, which provides invaluable information from and within Iran; technical assistance against the regime's attempts to block websites, shut down cell phone networks, etc.; suspension (by the Europeans) of various cultural and commercial contacts; pressure through international organizations on behalf of the Iranian people
If the administration remains passive (or even if it doesn't), there's certainly a case for a congressional resolution ASAP supporting the people of Iran in their struggle for democracy, calling on the Iranian regime to allow international monitors to review the election results, calling on the Iranian government to allow peaceful demonstrations, to stop jamming radios and blocking the internet, etc.; and for congressional action (an amendment to the next bill to be brought up in the Senate) and/or hearings on increased funding for Radio Farda and the like.
Soft power ain't hard power, but it can make a difference. Shouldn't the Obama administration at least try to exercise some? Or don't they believe in soft power? Are they just soft?