The presidency of Donald Trump has been controversial, if nothing else. Not only tariffs and the trade war, but other issues as well such as his rift with our traditional allies or the situation with immigrants on the Mexican border.
Given this, although the US remains an international power, it is worth asking whether the US is losing its soft power – its attractiveness and its attractiveness as a country.
What is Soft Power?
Soft Power is defined as the power one has to influence the behavior of others and obtain the desired results, without mediating violence or threats of any kind. Soft power makes it possible to achieve objectives through cooperation, vs hard power that requires money or coercion.
When a country is commercially blocked, tariffs are imposed, bombed or invaded militarily, hard power is being used. Soft power does not always achieve its objectives and we must recognize that sometimes we end up having to resort to hard power. On the other hand, soft power is much cheaper, both economically and politically. If a president travels and gets a distant country to do something in our interest, it increases his approval rating. However, if a president launches an attack and decides to invade another country, there will be protests and families that will lose their children.
Soft Power is cool, and it sells
Soft Power is a form of influence, not only in international politics, but also in economic and marketing terms. One can get to sell more just because it comes from an attractive site, or at least in relation to the product in question.
Many brands know this, for example most of the French, Italian or English fashion firms add cities to their brand, be it Paris, Milan or London. Many German industrial companies add a small German flag to their products because of the quality that we associate with Made in Germany.
The US is also a country where these types of practices have been launched. Harley-Davidson does not only sell motorcycles, but Sons of Anarchy, Easy Rider, and the American rebel spirit.
The largest Soft Power manufacturing machinery is located in Southern California. The combination of movies and television that are exported around the world make American life an ideal that people around the world aspire to
The question is, is the US still desirable? Not so much anymore. For example, as a country to immigrate to. Anyone with a family is not considering emigrating to the US, or at least thinking twice. Before, the USA represented the American dream of having a better life and the search for happiness recognized in the constitution. Raising children here was a promise of a chance at a better life, not only in the economic sense, but also in education and freedom.
The separation of children from their parents is causing anyone to question whether they can lose their children to any administrative infraction. Even this can arouse fears in family tourism, for which the US is superbly equipped (theme parks).
Not being attractive for immigrants can be beneficial for those who think like Trump, but it is also true that the US has been benefiting from the importation of foreign talent since the 19th century, even taking advantage of the technology of German rockets led us to put a man on the Moon.
I agree with Bloomberg that the Trump presidency will not be able to end US Soft Power. This has been built for many years, but what is undeniable is that Trump is the worst seller of the idea of â€‹â€‹the US to the rest of the world, and that our image will take years to rebuild. Calling other countries “shitholes” doesn’t help.
In fact, this is an ideal time for other countries such as the EU, the United Kingdom, China and Japan to take advantage and show themselves to be peaceful and stable.
In fact, this is already happening, thanks to the wall, and the US intention to renegotiate NAFTA, the trade agreement with the EU has become a strong priority for the government of Mexico, which knows that the export potential of its economy depends strongly on the commercial treaties that it has been signing with the rest of the world.
Will other countries take advantage of the soft power gap that the US is leaving? Who will benefit most?