Inaugural Annual Lecture with Guest Speaker Professor Joseph Nye

Lecture - Is the American Liberal Order Over?


6 June 2017

One of the world’s leading political scientists has delivered the first annual lecture for the King’s Centre for Strategic Communications (KCSC). Professor Joseph Nye, who first coined the concept of ‘soft power’, asked whether the American liberal order will survive?

The event was held at the House of Lords on 6 June, just five days after President Trump announced he was withdrawing from the Paris climate deal.

‘I’m much more worried about the rise of Trump than the rise of China,’ said Professor Nye, who outlined some of the challenges facing the United States over the coming decades.

Nye suggested the US will remain the preeminent world power for the foreseeable future. However, he said that it is being increasingly challenged by non-state actors, and facing environmental, cyber and terrorism threats. He argued that the US needs to continue to pool power and be willing to provide ‘public goods’ for the world, through deals and alliances.

But Nye warned that was not understood at the top of the administration: ‘When you focus only on military power, you realise the military cannot solve problems related to climate change. It can’t solve problems related to financial stability.’

If Trump proves to be a one-term President then this political period could prove to be an interruption. Otherwise it could be a more significant shift in politics, he told the audience which was made up of policy makers, communications practitioners, armed forces staff, academics and students.

“I’m much more worried about the rise of Trump than the rise of China”

Professor Joseph Nye, 6th June 2017



Listen to the full lecture on the KCL War Studies Soundcloud.

Joseph Nye already has an association with King’s. In 2007 he was presented with an honorary doctorate by Sir Lawrence Freedman, now Emeritus Professor of War Studies at the university.

Strategic communications is a rapidly developing field, extending to information warfare, cyber, propaganda, media operations and diplomacy.‘

‘I’m delighted to hear that King’s is getting into the field of strategic communication and is doing it in cooperation with NATO,’ said Nye. ‘It’s an area of increasing importance and King’s has a reputation of being at the front in terms of defence and war studies. This additional capacity in information warfare is thoroughly good news.’

KCSC Director, Dr Neville Bolt, called Professor Nye: ‘The most celebrated scholar in international relations today. His contribution to the world of policy is unparalleled.’

KCSC is one of the world’s leading academic centres, based in the Department of War Studies and School of Security Studies.

‘It is a reflection of King’s developing reputation in strategic communications that we can attract global names like Joseph Nye,’ he added.

An MA course has been launched this academic year with plans to extend it into a full Masters programme next year.

The inaugural lecture was held in association with NATO’s Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence.

Listen to the full lecture on the KCL War Studies Soundcloud.