In 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell was asked a somewhat long and involved question by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, which ended with the following interrogative:
“And would you not agree, as a very significant political figure in the United States, Colin, that America, at the present time, is in danger of relying too much upon the hard power and not enough upon building the trust from which the soft values, which of course all of our family life that actually at the bottom, when the bottom line is reached, is what makes human life valuable?”
In response to the former Archbishop’s question, Secretary Powell said this:
“There is nothing in American experience or in American political life or in our culture that suggests we want to use hard power. But what we have found over the decades is that unless you do have hard power — and here I think you’re referring to military power — then sometimes you are faced with situations that you can’t deal with.
It was not soft power that freed Europe. It was hard power. And what followed immediately after hard power? Did the United States ask for dominion over a single nation in Europe? No.
Soft power came in the Marshall Plan. Soft power came with American GIs who put their weapons down once the war was over and helped all those nations rebuild. We did the same thing in Japan.
So our record of living our values and letting our values be an inspiration to others I think is clear. And I don’t think I have anything to be ashamed of or apologize for with respect to what America has done for the world.
We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years ….and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in.”