Nye believes that the US will start emphasizing soft power more in the international realm.
On the international side, I think Obama will be important for restoring America's soft power, in a sense that his election makes the United States more attractive. But whether he can continue this will depend upon his policies, and his policies I think will be more multilateral than [President George W.] Bush's policies. And I think he will pay more attention to working closely with allies and international institutions.
I find interesting his comment that the US needs to see itself as a provider of global public goods to the entire world. Nye doesn't dismiss hard power, rather seeing the use of hard power as a necessity in certain situations.
[Q] What are the present national interests for the United States and how do you think the Obama administration should design its grand strategy?
[A] I think the U.S. should see itself as a provider of global public goods--things that are good for the U.S. but good for other countries as well.
So if you think about the analogy of Britain in the 19th century when it preserved freedom of the seas, that was good for Britain, but it was [also] good for other countries. And the United States has to play a similar role whether it's keeping open international markets or even taking the lead on issues such as climate change. I think these global public goods are going to be the central issue, or should be the central issue of American foreign policy and how we define our national interests.
It seems to me that to be able to fully provide global public goods, like freedom of the seas, the use of hard power is needed. The global response to the Somalian piracy situation by ramping up military and semi-military patrols in the area would be an example.
What are your thoughts?