McCain on Smart Power

The headlines after John McCain’s major foreign policy address yesterday have focused on the emphasis on multilateralism and his distancing himself from Bush’s “go-it-alone” foreign policy.

But it should be noted that he also emphasized what one might call a multilateralism of means — the use of all instruments of national power in creating an integrated strategy:

Prevailing in this struggle [against radical Islamic terrorism] will require far more than military force. It will require the use of all elements of our national power: public diplomacy; development assistance; law enforcement training; expansion of economic opportunity; and robust intelligence capabilities. I have called for major changes in how our government faces the challenge of radical Islamic extremism by much greater resources for and integration of civilian efforts to prevent conflict and to address post-conflict challenges. Our goal must be to win the “hearts and minds” of the vast majority of moderate Muslims who do not want their future controlled by a minority of violent extremists. In this struggle, scholarships will be far more important than smart bombs.

Granted, it’s only one paragraph, but this speech was pretty concise — more about vision than details. For the nitty gritty, read his piece in Foreign Affairs. We also outlined McCain’s and Obama’s positions on the post-conflict piece of the “smart power” puzzle here. Both McCain and Obama have pretty frequently paid lip service to the idea that the United States must better use all instruments of power. Clinton, it seems, less so, though let us know in the discussion section if you find evidence to the contrary.