The Long Reach of Soft Power

Date & time : Thursday, 18 July 2019

Faisal Alshammeri


            The ability of nations to project power is multifold. The United States has the backing of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency, the largest economy in the world, and an embarrassment of military riches that allows it to do things that no other nation in the history of the world can. It can choose the when and where it wishes to dispose its interests and reserves the right to determine the measure of decisiveness that is unmatched. As formidable as Washington is on the account of this agglomeration of power where it has unparalleled reach is its soft power. Irrespective of whatever concerns, downward trajectory in some circles, and misgivings held by others it is impossible to go outside ones residence and not see The United States. Proctor & Gamble have consumer products that is estimated to be in upwards of 90% of households throughout The Middle East. It’s clothing trends are considered by many throughout he globe as those to emulate. American movies and cultural entertainment proliferate throughout the world. While The United States continues to embrace soccer, the rest of the world continues to rapidly pick up America’s game, basketball. The IPhone, Ipad, MacBook, Microsoft, Intel, Adobe, Ford, Boeing, GE, and many other American products are commonplace as everyday features of life. As much as an Aircraft Carrier Group, or Special Forces, or Air Force it’s the soft power of The United States that makes it unique. Irrespective of whatever shortcomings it may have it is this feature that is paramount. Until another country can do it on the magnitude globally that Washington does it will be hard to replace it as the sole superpower. So what examples are set and what can be used as a model for others? Perhaps even more audacious than this line of questioning is does The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia possess the same capabilities.

            Starting with the obvious The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the center of The Muslim World and Custodian of The Two Holy Cities. This fact coupled with the fact that The Prophet Mohammed, Peace Be Upon Him, had his very feet tread the soil of Arabia is something that we should never forget is the greatest asset we possess for being a springboard for humanity and all that is just. The world’s Muslims face in the direction of Mecca and Medina for prayer and at one point in their lives the world’s Muslims will visit The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj. What better example does one have to reach the global populace than this? It is our identity and our heritage. It is a fundamental vision of Vision 2030 which is not just a goal to be reached, but the everyday policy of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia itself. It is redundant to discuss the vast amounts of hydrocarbons that lie within the confines of the country. But what of its investment potential on a global scale? H.R.H. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud had an interview in which he displayed one thing that we should never forget. The world, was watching his very words, selection of language, and carefully listening to his every sentence regarding the global investment environment. One man, one citizen of our nation had the power to either put wind in the sails of investment topic x, or halt momentum on his recommendation alone. Kingdom Holdings is simply a glimmer into what the potential of the nation is. It is a volcano of soft power that is waiting to emerge and touch all corners of the globe.

            But there is an even greater story that is underway, and is emerging for as one of the brightest chapters in the nation’s history. H.R.H. Prince Alwaleed mentioned that humanitarian and philanthropic causes is simply an extension of Zakat, one of the five pillars that define the very identity of being a Muslim. The King Salman Foundation has very quietly been working from Africa, to Asia, throughout The Middle East and even The America’s. With the emergence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud as one of the youngest Heads of State in the world our students abroad are also matching his example and efforts. The students of Saudi Arabia have engaged in local community projects such as hurricane relief efforts, aid distribution, working at food shelters, local community outreach initiatives, among many endeavors. There is a story to tell here. One of a burgeoning regional power who legitimately has a place on the global stage in many arenas. It is only the reflection of a hard earned prosperity, one our forefathers could’ve scarcely imagined. A story of using these blessings to develop a strong, modern nation, with global recognition. And one that has scarcely used all that is available to it to reach its rightful place. The strength of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is its people and its multi-talented populace. It’s strength is the positive impact that the citizens chose to make abroad every day.


  Writer and Political analyst *



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