At Monday night’s foreign policy debate, the first round of questions for the presidential candidates will involve “America’s role in the world.”
The answers from President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney likely will focus on military readiness and anti-terrorism efforts. That’s what most Americans would expect to hear, given that their country has been involved continuously in overseas combat since the terrorist attacks of 2001.
But the U.S. role in the world is shaped by much more than just its ability to project military might. Leadership also is defined by economic power, as well as “soft” power — for example, the country’s ability to attract and persuade people to adopt American values, according to Joseph Nye, a Harvard professor.
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