The Cable

The origins of "Smart Power"

Granted, it's not as urgent perhaps as debates over how to engage Iran, counter rising instability in Afghanistan, or tackle other global crises. But within the ivory towers and hallways of foreign-policy land, an etymological debate as heated if not as strategically pressing hisses. At stake is nothing less than who should be credited with the origins of the concept of "smart power," which got heavy, prime-time use at Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing yesterday.

Politico says it wasn't HRC who coined "smart power," but D.C. think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies about two years ago.

Soft-power heavyweight Joe Nye, the former undersecretary of defense, national intelligence council chair, and Harvard Kennedy School dean, has also staked claim to the concept.

But as The Cable noted yesterday, the framing of "smart power" was, so far as we can determine, actually introduced into the public sphere by former deputy to the U.S. mission at the U.N. Suzanne Nossel, now COO of Human Rights Watch, in this 2004 Foreign Affairs article, aply titled "Smart Power."

Reached by e-mail, Nossel wouldn't comment on the debate. Case closed?

The Cable

New SFRC Dem line up, with two TBA'd

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced the Democrats' anticipated committee lineups for the 111th Congress.

The new Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic membership has one new name, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, of New Hampshire, with two more to come, while Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) has dropped off to take a seat on Finance. A committee staff source suggests that of the "To Be Announced," likely picks are Al Franken (D-MN), who would succeed his Minnesota Republican rival Sen. Norm Coleman when the race is finalized, and Ted Kaufman (D-DE). "Franken wants SFRC and I expect him to be seated there," the committee source said. "If I had to put money on it, I would bet on Kaufman as the other new member, since he is assuming the seat held by the former committee chairman." The GOP is expected to lose another current member on the committee, so that the ratio of Democrats to Republicans will be 11 to 8.

SFRC line up announced by Reid so far:

  • John F. Kerry, of Massachusetts, chairman
  • Christopher J. Dodd, of Connecticut
  • Russell D. Feingold, of Wisconsin
  • Barbara Boxer, of California
  • Robert Menendez, of New Jersey
  • Benjamin L. Cardin, of Maryland
  • Robert P. Casey, Jr., of Pennsylvania
  • Jim Webb, of Virginia
  • Jeanne Shaheen, of New Hampshire
  • (tba)
  • (tba)