Learning from Soft Power: Healthcare & the Military

The value of ‘soft power’ versus ‘hard power’ is very much flavour of the month and is hotly debated. Below is a BMJ article that utilises the concept of soft power for the healthcare environment.

The limitations of direct military intervention – or ‘hard power’ as politicians call it – for achieving foreign policy are increasingly highlighted by international events.

Policy makers, military leaders, and intelligence experts now recognise the crucial role of preventive policy approaches – or ‘soft power’ – to tackle the multifaceted, upstream causes of conflict and instability.

Soft power encompasses diplomacy, development, trade agreements, sanctions, foreign aid, and the promotion of education, women’s rights and democracy.

It prioritises prevention, the shaping of international affairs to pre-empt or minimise crises before they arise, and is supported by bipartisan commissions, independent agencies, and the military.4 Hard power is reserved as a last resort.

Used early and efficiently, soft power not only provides effective and diverse policy options, but it costs far less and risks fewer lives.

Read the rest of the article here: Learning from Soft Power (Mozaffarian et al., 2015)


Mozaffarian, D., Blashek, J,A. & Stavridis, J. (2015) Learning from Soft Power. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h4645?sso=. [Accessed: 10 September, 2015].


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