In Pursuit of Development

Do morals matter? — Joseph S. Nye

Episode Summary

Dan Banik and Joseph S. Nye discuss the concepts of soft power and smart power, what constitutes a moral foreign policy, the ethical records of US presidents over the past 7 decades and the type of leader Americans typically desire.

Episode Notes

Joseph S. Nye is the University Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus and former Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

He is the author of numerous highly influential books, including: 

Joe Nye has also served in various capacities in the US government, as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Chair of the National Intelligence Council, and Deputy Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology. 

Host:

Professor Dan Banik, University of Oslo, Twitter: @danbanik  @GlobalDevPod

https://in-pursuit-of-development.simplecast.com/

Episode Transcription

 

Banik               I am huge fan of your work Joe, and I am thrilled to have you on the show. Welcome. 

 

Nye                  Thank you, it’s good to be with you. 

 

Banik               Let’s begin with the concept of power. You’ve consistently argued that power should be understood as the ability to affect others, to get the outcomes that one wants. In the really influential piece that you published in Foreign Policy (1990) you spoke about the term soft power and since then, and in the last three decades or so, this concept has become an extremely well-known idea throughout the world. I suppose the challenge with a concept that is as powerful and as popular as soft power is that when it comes into usage in everyday life it gets stretched, perhaps some would say it’s even misused or abused. So, I would like to start with asking you to please tell my listeners what exactly is soft power and how useful is it today? 

 

 

 

Nye                  Well, if power is the ability to affect others to get what you want there are basically three ways of doing this, you can do it through coercion (sticks), you can do it through payments (carrots), and you can do it through attraction or getting others to want what you want. That ability to affect others through attraction rather than through coercion or payment is what I call soft power. In that sense, soft power is attractive power, and it comes from the ability to attract others, that means it depends on the minds of others, whereas hard power, payment, or coercion often doesn’t depend that much on the minds of others, it can be much more one way. Soft power is not new, it has always been part of human behaviour, but I think you can make an argument that in the modern world where information is playing a larger and larger role, soft power is probably going to play a larger role. Some people say, is soft power going to replace hard power? Of course not, but will soft power be an important part of international behaviour? I think yes, it already is. But in that sense, we have to remember it is not totally new, the question is whether at the margin it is increasing somewhat. 

 

 

 

Banik               So we are talking about seduction being better than coercion. 

 

 

 

Nye                  Exactly. 

 

 

 

Banik               But then Joe, you could also make the case that attraction can lead to repulsion sometimes, right?

 

 

 

Nye                  It does and you know, it is important to realise that because soft power depends on the mind of the target or recipient, the same resource which might attract one person, might repel another. For example, if you take a Hollywood movie in which women are walking around in bikinis and talking about divorcing their husbands, that might be very attractive to some people in Brazil who feel that they want to escape patriarchal dominance. It might be very repulsive though to the Mullahs in Iran who say this is indeed the Great Satan. The same artifact let’s say this mythical Hollywood movie I just described can produce attraction in one place and repulsion in another. And it doesn’t just vary by country, for example, within Iran the Mullahs will be repelled by this Hollywood movie, but there may be many young people who love to stream this or find a cassette of this so that they can watch it. So, soft power depends on perceptions and in that sense the same resource, in this case the Hollywood movie, can produce both attraction or repulsion, depending on the audience. 

 

 

 

Banik               And also perhaps, one can’t be arrogant when one is pursuing that strategy right? You have to be perceived to be honest and credible at least. 

 

 

 

Nye                  That’s right, arrogance is rarely attractive, and hypocrisy is something which is very hard to combine with soft power. If people think you are acting hypocritically then it is not likely they are attracted. 

 

 

 

Banik               As I understand it, we are talking about three resources on which the soft power of a country rests, we are talking about culture, political values, and legitimate moral foreign policies. You argue that, in addition to the carrot and sticks approach of hard power, if nations can add this soft power element to their tool kits, then they can economise on their carrot and sticks approach and here, in addition to soft power you also have been talking about smart power. What is smart power then Joe?

 

 

 

Nye                  Well smart power is the ability to combine hard and soft power in ways where they reinforce rather than contradict each other. If you use your hard power in a way which does not seem legitimate or attractive to others it basically cancels your soft power. On the other hand, if you use your hard power in a way which is seen as legitimate then it may increase your soft power. Take the US actions against Iraq in the Persian Gulf, when the first President Bush got a UN resolution and developed the broad coalition that included the Arab League to repeal Saddam Hussein from Kuwait that was a successful use of hard power, but it also increased American soft power. When the second President Bush went into Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein, he did so without a UN resolution and with a widespread feeling that it was not legitimate, in that case, the American hard power succeeded in removing Saddam Hussein but at a great cost to American soft power, a poll showed that our attractiveness went down, not just in the Arab world but in much of Europe.

 

 

 

Banik               Then smart power is about hard and soft power that can be reinforcing but sometimes also substituting for each other and hard and soft power can also limit each other. But I am thinking that combining this hard and soft power aspects or resources in a smart power strategy surely is not always easy and you've written about this of course, there may be very long-term gains of this strategy that politicians may not find attractive, things that are not achievable quickly. It could also be difficult to pursue this strategy if the policy landscape is fragmented, you have a domestic policy environment that doesn’t agree that pursing such a strategy is in the national interest. So, how easy, or how difficult is it to pursue that smart power package? 

 

 

 

Nye                  Well, often it is the temptation to use your hard power because it is readily available, and you can see it's affects quite quickly. Soft power is often slower, it is harder for governments to mobilise and so it is tempting for governments to turn to hard power rather than soft power. But let me give you an example that goes back to the Cold War, people often look back and say well, both the Americans and the Soviets had empires in Europe, Western Europe was the American Empire and Eastern Europe was the Soviet Empire, there is really equivalence, the two are similar. But it was a Norwegian political scientist Geir Lundestad who pointed out the difference was that in Western Europe, yes, the Americans may have had an empire, but it was an empire by invitation, whereas the Soviet Empire in the east was an empire resting largely on coercion. And how was it that the American Empire was by invitation? Part of it had to do with The Marshall Plan, with the position of economic assistance, with the fact that there were ways for Europeans to deviate from American policy, France was able to withdraw from the NATO headquarters and so forth. So, the ability to be flexible and to combine instruments successfully makes for attraction, the coercive nature of the Soviet regime in Eastern Europe where troops put down rebellion in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, makes it a case where the Soviet’s soft power which was actually quite high in the period immediately following 1945, because the Soviets had stood up against Naziism, but they eroded that by their use of hard power over the course of the next decade. It makes a difference whether you can restrain yourself and how you use your hard power or use your hard power in combination with legitimising aspects which make it attractive to others and that is what I call smart power, developing a strategy where there are two types of power reinforcing each other rather than cancelling each other out. 

 

 

 

Banik               It seems to me that there have been periods in your own country’s history in recent years where that kind of smart power strategy was attractive, I am thinking about the period when President Obama was in power, his Defence Secretary Robert Gates was making the case that one could, in the US, combine that capacity of soft and hard power into a smart power package. I think Secretary Clinton was talking about this too. But you were also critical, or you have been before where you have said that American had become all brawn but no brains and that it really has to rethink its relationship. Do you think that that has changed? Of course, there was this blip with the Trump years, but how do you see things now, is there a willingness in the current administration to pursue smart power? 

 

 

 

Nye                  Well I think you’ve seen ups and downs in American smart power, as I mentioned earlier, I think the George W Bush Administration with the invasion of Iraq was bad for American soft power and you can see that by looking at the International public opinion polls that show a reduction of American attractiveness because of the Iraq war. Obama, you see a restoration of American attractiveness as measured by these international polls and under Trump you see a reduction of American attractiveness because of his emphasis on America first and his withdrawal from multilateral frameworks, things like the Paris Climate Accord and so forth. One of the first things that Biden did when he became president was to re-join the Paris Climate Accord, was to re-join or participate more fully in the World Health Organisation, to reinforce commitment to allies and so forth. So, I think the polls are now showing a return of American soft power but the idea that it is always up or always down depends on how we behave, and we have to be smart in the way we behave, sometimes we are, sometimes we aren’t. 

 

 

 

Banik               So, you have not just the US of course, many other countries are investing or using millions or perhaps billions of dollars on all kinds of charm offensives to increase their soft power some are very envious of others, I am thinking about, there was a time when my kids were heavily into this South Korean pop singer called Psy and I’m thinking about K-pop as a brand, I think South Korea is so lucky to have that, it just does wonders for their influence around the world, but not everyone is as successful I suppose as the US or South Korea is. So, apart from these examples, Joe, which other countries do you think, or that strikes you today as having done really well in promoting soft power? 

 

 

 

Nye                  Well, let me take the case of Norway, small, 5 million people, it’s never going to be a superpower, but Norway has run a civilised society, it has been good on the role of women, in its domestic and foreign policy it has committed 1% of its gross national product to aid other countries, at times Norway has played a leading role in sponsoring peace processes such as the Oslo Peace Process. All this has essentially made Norway more attractive than just being a country of 5 million people who would make you expect, it doesn’t make Norway a superpower, but it does mean that Norway is able to punch above its weight to use the British phase. 

 

 

 

Banik               President Obama was in Sweden at some point, and he made the argument that the Nordic countries were indeed punching above their weight, and they were humanitarian superpowers. One of the core arguments that you make in many of your books and articles is that it isn’t the government that is necessarily behind all of this soft power strategy, in fact it is the role of civil society that is crucial in producing soft power. And I think this is where you have also argued that countries like Russia, by the way Russia is very much in the news as we speak, but also China, that they got it wrong, it isn’t a government sponsored thing, it is coming from pop culture, Hollywood, civil society etc. Is that your take even today? Is that where countries get it wrong when they think it’s going to be propaganda. 

 

 

 

Nye                  I think there is a danger that people attribute too much to governments, but attractiveness rests on more than just governments, so civil society does play a major role, sometimes if you use the example of American government policy in the 1960s in Vietnam, the American government policy was widely unpopular, you had people marching in the streets around the world protesting American government policy. But the interesting thing was that they didn’t sing the Communist Internationale they sung Martin Luther King’s ‘We Shall Overcome’, which is an anthem from American civil society. So, even while American government policy was widely unpopular and undercutting American soft power, there was a residual soft power that came from American civil society. So, I think that’s a historical example, another interesting example is, you mentioned China, in 2007 President Hu Jintao told the 17th Communist Party Congress that China needed to increase its soft power. That was a very smart strategy for China, after all of your hard power is increasing through the growth of your economy and military, you’re likely to scare your neighbours and they are likely to form coalitions against you to try and protect their independence. But if you can combine soft power to make yourself attractive with your growth of hard power, then you are less threatening, and those coalitions will be less affected. So, when Hu Jintao said China needed to increase its soft power, that was a smart strategy. The trouble is, it has been hard for China to implement that, partly because it has territorial conflict with its neighbours on many cases, and also, because it’s not willing to give full reign or open reign to its civil society, so if you take a brilliant artist like Ai Weiwei instead of having him represent China and make China attractive, he is jailed or exiled, in that sense China has been less successful than you would expect in this major campaign to increase soft power because of this insistence on tight party control. In addition to that, there is the problem of nationalism and these territorial conflicts which has led to wolf warrior diplomacy. So, for example, if you look at China and India, they have had border disputes since the 1960s and it recently heated up, now, if the Chinese really tried to woo India into making the BRICS a more effective positive coalition for them, the last thing they would have wanted was to allow Chinese soldiers to kill Indian soldiers on the boarder, but that is what has happened and the net result is a significant cooling of China India relations. India this year participated in the meetings of the quad which was India, Japan, Australia, and the US, whereas in earlier years India had often resisted those formal meetings. In that sense, wolf warrior diplomacy named after a Chinese film which celebrates nationalism, wolf warrior diplomacy is hard to combine with soft power, or another way of putting it, the hard power is celebrated in the wolf warrior film, is very attractive to the Chinese who are feeling nationalistic, so it plays well to a domestic audience, it is not attractive to say India, who are essentially repulsed rather than attracted by it. So, it is an interesting example of a country that is trying to increase its soft power but has been less successful as measured by public opinion polls, reputable public opinion polls recognised internationally. 

 

 

 

Banik               When I’ve spoken about the year of wolf warrior diplomacy with my Chinese colleagues but also with several people on this show, I get the feeling that not everyone is actually in favour of that, in fact some people say that China should be pursuing that kind of modest approach that it had done before the wolf warrior diplomates came out. So, I think there is some disagreement within China on that approach and it’s not serving them very well. 

 

 

 

Nye                  I think that’s true, I have Chinese friends that have told me the same thing, who wouldn’t disagree with what I’ve just said, they just can’t say that easily in China. 

 

 

 

Banik               But I also think China is interesting, when I read your 1990 piece recently, and there China was for you, and rightly so at that point, was not doing well economically, was poor but three decades later it is a very different country, an economic superpower. I mentioned to you of course the study that I have done before, we are looking at both China and India, in terms of China say on the African continent, China is building all of these Confucius institutes, agricultural technology demonstration centres, there is a lot of emphasis on full bright study exchanges and thereby promoting relational power. There is a lot of emphasis on very visible infrastructure projects that give people in many of these countries on the continent this feeling that we have five-star hotels, good roads and bridges and sports stadiums, then you have the Olympics, the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and also the one that is just coming up, the winter Olympics. So, it seems to me that China has been making all of these efforts and in some ways, to use your words, looks a little less frightening to some, but what do you think about Indian strategies? Since you mentioned India and I was actually in Delhi talking about these issues with senior foreign policy officials in November and December and there was this recognition that India doesn’t have the resources to match China in terms of infrastructure etc. But India has been using yoga and Bollywood and literature, you have films, all of these have been extremely important. So, how do you view India in relation to Chinese soft power strategies? 

 

 

 

Nye                  Well India’s soft power rests quite heavily on civil society and China’s doesn’t. China tries to use government policies or propaganda to make itself attractive. But as we mentioned earlier, the trouble with propaganda is that it looks like what it is, an effort hypocritical or insincere. So, propaganda often doesn’t produce much soft power, it tries to, but it often fails because people see through it. And that is why having the vibrant civil society that attracts others is so important. India’s soft power rests much more on its civil society than on its government policies or efforts to create propaganda but if you take the case of Bollywood, Bollywood produces more films that are seen over more of the world than Hollywood. 

 

 

 

Banik               That’s true. 

 

 

 

Nye                  If you look at the Indian Serum Institute and their policies on vaccines, this also is attractive. So, there are many things about Indian civil society which are attractive to other countries, but they rest less on the government. China rests more on the government, but I would argue that some of the programs have a positive effect but some of them don’t. 

 

 

 

Banik               I remember reading once that you said, the best propaganda is not propaganda. That I think is a good phrase. One of the things that you have been highlighting in the soft power discourse is the role of democracy, both in the United States and of course you’ve been critical of how some of the recent events have panned out and in relation to India. I was thinking that there is this attraction to use your word, to use your formulation that many other countries find democracy to be attractive, and therefore Indian democracy. But the counter argument I have heard from my Chinese colleagues is that, when we look at the chaos of Indian democracy or for that matter, American democracy, it often has the opposite effect.

 

 

 

Nye                  I think that is a problem, but in the long term, the chaos of democracy while it’s disorderly it produces more opportunities and freedoms for people and you can also have economic development and prosperity in democracies. But people who will look at India’s economic record and compare it with China’s economic record argue that it shows that authoritarianism is better than democracy. It might prove that China is better at organising people into the conditions for economic development, it doesn’t prove authoritarianism is better. If you look at Zimbabwe which has been authoritarian, that hasn’t helped their economic development. So, it’s not democracy or authoritarianism that produces development, there may be other cultural characteristics. I think a lot of people do and should pay tribute to China for the way it has raised hundreds of millions of people out of poverty this is an impressive achievement and that contributes to Chinese soft power.

 

 

 

Banik               Which is something you actually discuss in this book, The Future of Power

 

 

 

Nye                  Right, but we shouldn’t then generalise from that to say authoritarianism in general is better than democracy. We say that China and Chinese culture plus their governmental system at that stage of development produced a very successful economic program, but that doesn’t mean that say Zimbabwe can successfully copy it, because they miss many of the other aspects that China had. 

 

 

 

Banik               So let’s move to your latest book. You are so prolific, you are writing all of these books, you are turning out articles. So, Do Morals Matter Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump. So, the question here is, do we have duties beyond our borders? There is this discourse in the social sciences and philosophy that we do indeed, at least that is what consequentialists would argue, I will be speaking with Peter Singer soon, we should do as much as possible to help other countries, some other would say, no we can’t really think about all these others, our duties are towards our loved ones, our family, maybe our community, not strangers. And of course, you have all of these populist politicians saying it’s not the global, but it’s the national, the local, we should be promoting our interests and President Trump is a good illustration of that. What constitutes a moral foreign policy in your view?

 

 

 

Nye                  Traditionally in the study of International Relations it’s all national interest and morals don’t matter, but there is no reason that moral considerations can’t be part of the national interest. There may be situations where survival is at stake, or you say we are reduced to lifeboat ethics.

 

 

 

Banik               Yes, Garrett Hardin

 

 

 

Nye                  Yes. But most of foreign policy questions are not issues of survival, they are issues of how much of our budget do we want to spend on aid to other countries or how many refugees do we want to take in or there are issues which have degrees rather than either or. That is where this question comes into duties beyond boarders and how strong they are. If you take a pure cosmopolitan point of view or a pure utilitarian point of view, you are likely to overwhelm the political capacity to help others. We saw this with European politics after the Syrian civil war and the mass of refugees that came to Europe from Syria. Angela Merkel took a very bold and moral stand, saying we can handle this, but it also greatly increased the strength of the Alternative fur Deutschland the very far right party. So, we have to realise that human senses of community are not binary, they are not either or, they are like concentric circles and probably in the tightest concentric circles is family and maybe your region, then your country, and beyond that something like Europe or Africa and then beyond that there is a sense that we are all human and those coexist at the same time. The question is, if you try to take that outermost concentric circle that we are all human and treat it as though we are all a very close family, you are going to break the capacity politically to do things. If you say, no we are going to find ways to take a certain number of refugees or to provide a certain amount of our budget per aid, you are more likely to actually continually help people over the longer term. So, a successful foreign policy in my mind should include a moral element, but if you over do it, if you try to make it purely moral, you are likely to break it and not be able to do anything at all. So, it’s a hard job for political leaders to find that balance and it varies from time to time, from case to case, but to simplify that as some of the realists do and say morals have no role in foreign policy is basically to duck hard moral choices and hard political choices. 

 

Banik               So it seems to me that one of the big difficulties that most world leaders face is that they are constantly responding to new crisis all the time and so in their foreign policy as you have written before, the urgent drives out the important as was the case also with Barack Obama because in many ways he came as the messiah, at least in Europe he was extremely popular and there was this feeling that perhaps he wasn’t going to be able to deliver as much because of these constant crisis that kept occurring at regular intervals. So, should we view a moral foreign policy to be synonymous with an effective foreign policy? 

 

 

Nye                  No, I think there is a degree of difference but unless you are effective you can’t be moral, there was a joke that was told about philosopher Immanuel Kant that said the problem with Kant was that he didn’t have any hands, in other words, he had beautiful principles but how did you apply or implement them? So, the really hard problem for the political leader is how do I get enough space, enough capability to actually make things better. And that is why effectiveness is crucial, I have a list of criteria for judging leaders as they go about trying to conduct moral foreign policy and pragmatism and prudence which lead to effectiveness are a necessary condition, they are just not sufficient.

 

 

 

Banik               You have this ethical score card and this checklist and the three means that the criteria in the book where you judge the ethical conduct of your presidents one related to intentions and goals and motives then you have the means, the use of force or respect for institutions, the respect for the rights of others, then of course the consequences in terms of the long term promotion of national interests, in interests of others, to the extent to which they were truthful, credible, respected. So, from my reading of the book it seems to me that you have Trump, Nixon, perhaps Johnson and Bush 43 as not as doing very well on your score card, whereas the others do not do too badly, perhaps Truman and a few others really excel. So, what patterns did you find when reviewing these ethical records of all these presidents over the past seven decades. 

 

 

 

Nye                  Well I think the ones who did best on my score card, Roosevelt,Truman, Eisenhowerand the first President Bush were half democrats, half republican, so I don’t think partisanship, but they all took a broad perspective in terms of a broad sense of international order and not just a narrow American first approach and they all basically tried to do what they could in terms of including moral issues but they had a practical political sense, Roosevelt for example knew that Hitler was a threat and he tried to waken the American people to the threat that Hitler presented, but he couldn’t do it, so instead of losing the elections and alienating the American people who were staunchly isolationist at the time, he took more modest steps in getting America ready in case events produced a war, so he instituted a peacetime draft, he instituted an aid program to keep Britain alive after German attacks in London. So, he took a series of steps to prepare even though he couldn’t get the Americans into the war until after the Japanese attacked at Pearl Harbour. But that is an example of a political leader who has a vision, but if he cannot persuade all the people in the democracy to accept that vision, to sort of inch towards a situation where if events change you can have people prepare for that. So, the successful political leaders were ones who had a larger vision, but who also were successful enough politicians to know how to implement it. The one that probably stands out in that list is Bush 41, the first President Bush, there were things he did that were not good, not right, but when it came to the end of the Cold War, he was very prudent and very cautious and instead of celebrating he said I am not going to dance on the Berlin Wall after it came down, instead he tried to find ways to make sure that the end of the Cold War was negotiated and peaceful and that it was a success. So, it was his practical sense of how to go about these changes, and instead of the end of the Cold War and the end of the Soviet Union leading to a nuclear holocaust, we instead saw a carefully negotiated, peaceful transition.

 

 

 

Banik               Another person in the book that I find fascinating to read is Harry Truman because you make the point that he was responsible for what we consider multilateralism today, setting up all these institutions, Bretton Woods, The Marshall Plan, NATO, and those institutions, those rules, those networks, those expectations that create social roles and more obligations, they are crucial. What are your thoughts there in relation to the distinction you sometimes make between thought leaders with this long term vision like Wilson, perhaps also Truman versus just mere foreign policy leaders? 

 

 

 

Nye                  Well I think Truman was interesting because he was a man without a university education with a simple background, he had been a farmer for a number of years, he fought in World War I, so he had some international experience. But he also was able to keep his ego under control and organise people. He had a brilliant set of advisers and people sometimes say, well it wasn’t Truman it was all his advisers, on the contrary, he was able to get this group of wisemen, that they have sometimes been called, to work together, that’s not easy. When it came time to provide aid to Europe because of the terrible conditions after World War II, Truman made sure it was called The Marshall Plan, not The Truman Plan, and his reasoning is that it had a better chance to get supported in the congress and fully financed in the congress if he kept it out of the partisan politics of his re-election in 48 and had it named after George Marshall. It’s a little bit like Bush 41’s self-restraint about dancing on the Berlin Wall, Bush could have claimed great success in the collapse of the wall and hope to use that toward eventual re-election, he didn’t, and Truman didn’t boast in terms of calling it The Truman Plan. That is more important than vision, remember Bush said famously, I don’t do the vision thing, Truman was never remembered for articulating fancy visions. But in both cases, they had they capacity to implement and it had to do with managing their egos and what I would call emotional intelligence which is sometimes more important than intellectual intelligence. 

 

 

 

Banik               In the book of course you observe that there is a distinction between a leader’s personal behaviour and his or her public behaviour and I think George Bush 41 is particularly interesting here because obviously a leader’s background is important, your family, up bringing, education, world views, religion, but you could also have a president, any leader really, extolling the virtues of war in public which a lot of American presidents do, while perhaps being against it in private. There is this idea or pressure that wars make strong presidents and sometimes you would also have leaders that mislead the public, they think it is for the greater good, but they are perhaps engaging in deception, so there is this trust, deception, and ability to take risks versus being truthful. So, what kind of a leader do American citizens really want? I’m thinking about your colleague Steve Walt who views a more realistic foreign policy elite in the US that cares more about these liberal values than perhaps the general public. So, is that how we should be looking at things? How moral do Americans want their leaders to be?

 

 

 

Nye                  Well I think going back to what we said about effectiveness, I think the public really first of all wants their leaders to be effective, but then there is a taste for moralism in the American public and it doesn’t mean that we are always more moral, on the contrary we have done a lot of things that are highly immoral, but the American people like to feel that their leaders are trying to do things about morality. That’s why human rights policies are popular in the US, but they are difficult, how do you trade-off human rights with other interests, and people say you should never trade off human rights, but obviously if you never trade-off human rights you don’t have a foreign policy, you have a human rights policy. Foreign policy means trading off a variety of interests, security, economic, and values just to take three. So that ability of a leader to articulate values but also to be effective in terms of how they integrate values into politics, that is ultimately what the American public wants. 

 

 

 

Banik               The rhetoric and the reality have to somehow match. 

 

 

 

Nye                  Well that’s right, and there are times when things get very badly out of whack, I mentioned Roosevelt in the late 1930s trying to persuade the American people to get involved in Europe because Hitler was such a threat and his inability to do so, one time Roosevelt turned to one of his advisers and said, what do you do in a democracy when you’re the leader and  you look over your shoulder and nobody is following? Those situations occur, and they are hard. 

 

 

 

Banik               We are all living in the pandemic and in June 2021 you wrote a piece and you said something like, no government can cope alone, but must think in terms of power with others as well as power over others, I had not expected that so many countries would be so inept in their response and so slow to learn. So, final question Joe, what are the main sets of challenges you see for a future moral foreign policy?

 

 

 

Nye                  Well I think these issues relating to what I call ecological interdependence are going to be extremely important. The pandemic you mentioned, was a case where we failed the test, the pandemic starts, covid starts and in Wuhan the first efforts by the Chinese government are to deny it and then to deflect blame, then the Chinese finally get it under control and do better than the Americans do. But what the Americans do in the Trump Administration is again start with denial and then try to blame it on China and not say how could we cooperate with China and with others. So, I think if you want, all humanity has failed the pandemic test, and that is not going to be the last pandemic, so one of the great challenges is how do you get people to take a broader point of view which includes getting vaccinations to developing countries and so I think the pandemic is an example of this ecological interdependence, but climate change is an even more difficult example. People even there you have a difference in time horizons, pandemics are usually immediate, people feel it, climate change you don’t feel it right away and you have to get political leaders to persuade the public to make trade-offs across time horizons, everybody wants to decarbonise but when there is a shortage of natural gas in Europe, or when gasoline prices double in the United States, all of sudden you say, please pump more carbon out of the earth. And to just say, don’t do that is unrealistic because people don’t want to freeze, and a leader has to say here is a way in which we could move towards a transition more successfully. Economists will tell you the right way to do that, to make the transition smooth is a carbon tax, I think that is correct, but it is very hard to sell it to the public. So, I think the hard questions for moral foreign policy, we obviously have the major questions of how do you maintain security and economic development, but I am saying that it is now even more complex by adding these ecological dimensions. 

 

Banik               It’s always a pleasure listening to you, I have had such a wonderful time, thank you so much for coming on my show today. 

 

Nye                  Very interesting conversation, very good questions, I wish we could solve them all.