UAE's soft power could build a new world order

Country remains at the top of the soft power list in the region and 10th globally.

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Published: Tue 15 Mar 2022, 11:18 PM

Power is often seen as a negative and destructive force that causes instability. Through the course of history we have witnessed the limits and perils of absolute power. But power in the right hands can also be a force for good. In governance terms, hard and absolute power corrupts; it threatens, oppresses and destroys, while soft power can liberate and set people and countries free from the shackles of the past as they look with optimism to the future.

Military might is the bedrock of hard power. Nations and leaders rule by fear and are viewed as aggressors and occupiers. Violence and militancy are a way of life when leaders govern by force. This power is derived from the barrel of the gun. It is transient and cannot be sustained.

Soft power, on the other hand, stems from an innate sense of optimism that we mentioned earlier. It can be both liberating and inspiring to the region and the world. There’s freedom to think and hope in such a situation. More importantly, there is peace among people as they bear witness to a positive spirit and tolerance amongst the leadership who lead by example and are willing to change course if policies fail.

Here, the UAE has been a guiding light in a strife-torn region and has gone the extra mile to make more friends than foes or convert foes to friends. It understands that cooperation is the best way to prevent a regional conflagration. It seeks convergence of interests and is keen to make changes to the current world order that still fawns on hard power and strong leadership. It is, therefore, not surprising that it remains at the top of the soft power list in the region and 10th globally.

The UAE scored high marks and won praise for its handling of the pandemic that cemented its place on the top of the list. Its determination, focus and calm amid the crisis won plaudits from across the world.

The country called for global action to combat the pandemic while the West sunk into despair and needless bickering. The worst may be over, but the good work begun by the UAE must be taken forward by countries who want to build a new world in the new normal.

This can be achieved if they embrace soft power and hold meaningful discussions on how to reform global institutions to combat emerging crises. The ability to foresee the next major event that could shake up the world is vital to preserving our interests as peoples and nations.

The UAE has set a template for modern global governance. It would be wise to get on board and build more soft powers who shun war and embrace peace that is boundless and beyond borders.

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