The Soft Power 30

Welcome to
The Soft Power 30
A Ranking of Global Soft Power

What is Soft Power?

Power in international relations has traditionally been defined and assessed in easily quantifiable ‘hard’ terms, often understood in the context of military and economic might. Hard power is deployed in the form of coercion: using force, the threat of force, economic sanctions, or inducements of payment.

In contrast to the coercive nature of hard power, soft power describes the use of positive attraction and persuasion to achieve foreign policy objectives.

Soft power shuns the traditional foreign policy tools of carrot and stick, seeking instead to achieve influence by building networks, communicating compelling narratives, establishing international rules, and drawing on the resources that make a country naturally attractive to the world.

In short, “hard power is push; soft power is pull”

Joseph Nye, the originator of the concept, initially set out three primary sources of soft power as he developed the concept. Nye’s three pillars of soft power are: political values, culture, and foreign policy. But within these three categories, the individual sources of soft power are manifold and varied.

Our index builds on those three pillars, using over 75 metrics across six sub-indices of objective data and seven categories of new international polling data.


The strength of a country’s diplomatic network and its contribution to global engagement and development


The global reach and appeal of a nation’s cultural outputs, both pop-culture and high-culture


Commitment to freedom, human rights, and democracy, and the quality of political institutions


The level of human capital in a country, contribution to scholarship, and attractiveness to international students


A country’s digital infrastructure and its capabilities in digital diplomacy


The attractiveness of a country’s economic model, business friendliness, and capacity for innovation


We polled over 7,000 PEOPLE in twenty countries covering each region of the globe.

The Top 10 - 2016

3. GERMANY 72.60
4. CANADA 72.53
5. FRANCE 72.14
6. AUSTRALIA 69.29
7. JAPAN 67.78
9. SWEDEN 66.97


This index was created by Portland, in association with Facebook

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To lift the haze, call on soft power

As a regular visitor to Singapore, I have seen for myself the many attractions this fascinating country holds. In fact, I have been so won over by its charms that I will be moving here with my young family at the start of next year.

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Building a Coalition

When the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS formed in September 2014, it outlined five core areas to concentrate efforts. The most prominent is the military action to degrade and destroy the terrorist organisation.
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