January 21, 2021

Can we engage North Korea with soft power?

A partnership in knowledge-sharing reveals avenues for cooperation with Pyongyang

As articulated by Joseph Nye, soft power is the ability to achieve goals through attraction rather than by threat or coercion. Soft power exists when a dominant party possesses a sufficiently attractive resource such as culture, political values, or policies, and a subservient party is willing to pursue and internalize that attractive resource.

Although frequently associated with the state and its foreign policy, non-state actors can also develop and possess soft power independent of the state. In particular, educational institutions have long held significant amounts of university soft power that transcends national boundaries.