Colin Cook raised some valid points in his letter about ‘soft power’ (Echo, June 12). The term is a relic from the Cold War era, when the pretext for war was commonly portrayed as an ideological battle between Communism and the West. Soft power then meant the cultural and economic influence of liberal democratic ideas, promulgated through mainstream media and the education system.
Today, the pretext for war has morphed into a ‘struggle against violent extremism’ and a ‘responsibility to protect’ human rights via regime change. In this context, soft power has come to mean the covert application of advanced technologies in pursuit of secret objectives.
The role of soft power used to be about attracting friends and allies by promoting shared values and noble ideas. These days it relies on deception and conceit administered through sophisticated psychological operations and slick PR campaigns.
John Scrivener, Main Arm