Soft Power: The Role of Think Tanks

In a globalised world characterised by increasingly complex relations and interactions, a world that generates an environment of risks and opportunities, the model of the nation state has changed and political governance has opened the door to other socio-political players, like think tanks. Unlike parliaments, universities and state bureaucracies, think tanks are a relatively recent phenomenon in the policy landscape. But in the past few decades, their growth has been nothing short of explosive. Think tanks are emerging, at an exponential rate, into the debate on and design of public policies in all areas: health, education, culture, law, economics, security, defence, environment, natural resources, energy and international relations, to name a few. They influence decision making at both national and international levels and are an additional resource for the political management of states.

Modern nation states are confronted with a more complicated international environment. To meet the resultant challenges, policy-makers are in need of think tanks more than ever before. These think tanks exist as a team and could provide high quality advice on policy initiatives, so that the policy makers have an additional source of advice and input in addition to their individual advisers, aides and staff. This is what explains the growth in the number of think tanks and their influence in most countries. Think tanks now are becoming an increasingly significant actor in the modern national governance. They are becoming an important factor in international competition, have an irreplaceable role in international relations and are important carriers of national soft power.

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