Hard power is the ability of one state (e.g. USA) or actor (e.g the EU) to influence others through the use of rewards or threats. The threats used are generally of a military nature, whereas the rewards are normally economic. However soft power, the term invented by Joseph Nye, is the idea that individual states can use persuasion to make them attracted to your view point, so it encourages other actors to agree to aims or ideas that follow a states desired ideology.
The example of the current Syria crisis can be used to show the different ways that hard power and soft power are used on the world stage. This is because America, Britain (David Cameron, but not parliament) and France all supported the USAs idea of threatening military action. This shows soft power as the USA persuaded these countries that an intervention/ bombing campaign would be the best option for them, and there was no use of military threats/ economic rewards depending on whether they complied or not. However the USA was also using hard power, as it was threatening Syria with military action if they failed to comply. This combination of hard and soft power can also be known as SMART power. Russia was also using soft power to get Syria to cooperate, as Vladmir Putin persuaded Assad to hand over his chemical weapons.
The example of Syria also shows that soft power is favoured more on the world stage (especially since the 2003 Iraq war, as countries, and especially leaders, do not want to be seen as war criminals and are generally reluctant to intervene without UN approval). This can be proved as there has been much more use of soft power in the Syria crisis. Soft power was also favoured in the Syria crisis as Assad said in a television interview that it was Russia’s cooperation, rather than the use of hard power by the USA, that persuaded Assad to hand over his chemical weapons.
Another difference between hard and soft power is that soft power is better for international relations, as the use...