Rethinking Cambodian soft power

Increasingly, the arena of international affairs is being shaped by soft power. Where traditional economic and military might once reigned supreme, a nation’s strength may now be derived from the appeal of culture, political values and policies. For smaller states like Cambodia, this “second face of power” provides an opportunity to gain international prominence for the purpose of supporting international peace and security.

Soft power, as conceptualized by Joseph Nye, is the ability to influence the perception of others through the power of ideas and attraction. This co-optive force can be derived from multiple national features, but is traditionally guided by the pursuit of a state’s objectives.

One such objective that lends itself credibly to the development of Cambodia’s reputation is the kingdom’s contribution to international peace and stability missions.

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