Soft power is about to come to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) – America’s military command in the Middle East – in a big way.
Gary Schaub Jr.
The Washington Times
Above: Central Command’s Gen. David Petraeus speaks during an interview last week at a U.S. military base. Photo by the Associated Press
By winning friends and influencing people, the idea goes, the United States can defuse potential conflicts before they start and achieve America’s goals without firing a shot.
Soft power has currency in a cash-strapped U.S. military. The commander of SOUTHCOM, America’s military command for Central and South America, has undertaken many such missions. Adm. James Stavridis has sent Navy hospital ships to countries in that area to provide free medical care, train local doctors and build schools.
The new command in Africa – AFRICOM – has announced that such soft-power missions will be its top priority.
But these are relative backwaters. CENTCOM, where the United States is engaged in two wars and is prepared for others, is where soft power will have its largest impact.
Army Gen. David Petraeus, who is best known as the general behind the successful “surge” strategy in Iraq, has just taken over CENTCOM, and he is bringing soft power to bear.