Applied Public Diplomacy
The "New Persuaders" takes on the challenge that has been present since week 2 of this class to me, and likely long before this to the rest of the Public Diplomacy world: How does one measure who has 'soft power' and how much do they have? McClory boldly attempts to subtract the subjective from measurement and achieve an objective quantification of what is otherwise rather opaque and elusive. This is done by refocusing on the contributors to soft power and building an index to track these inputs in various countries, compiling them and then building a formula with which to rank them.
This seems like trying to insert math into magic. To strip away the personal ideologies and experiences of the individual discard the majority of what makes up 'soft power'. Were soft power to be defined as the potential positive influence one government has within a foreign public, it is inherent that the public's opinion and subjective thoughts are at its core. This leaves the measurement detailed within the study fairly hollow. The reduction of varied subjective responses in such categories as International Purpose, Cultural Output, Global Leadership, Soft Power Icons, Cuisine, National Airline, and Commercial Brands to simple digits seems to strip the usefulness of what is attempting to be measured away.
While the effort is courageous and inspired I think it is lacking a flexibility that is necessary in such a measurement. Much how quarterbacks are measured by completion percentage, TD-INT ratio, as well as the comprehensive QBR, I feel that this measure could at best be a piece of the puzzle. I do enjoy how their are multiple measurement within different categories, but I would prefer measurements on the same data via different methods. The more directions that the information is viewed from the better chance there is to have a comprehensive understanding of the true soft power landscape.