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Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on April 3
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on April 3
Ahmad Shayegan and Patrick Randall

After prolonged talks, the P5+1 group (U.S., Russia, China, U.K., France and Germany) and Iran agreed Thursday on a "historical" framework agreement for Iran's nuclear program.

"Important implementation details are still subject to negotiation, and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed," the White House warns. But the main points of the preliminary deal are clear: preventing Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifted international economic sanctions, if Iran "abides by its commitments." In a speech from the White House Thursday, President Barack Obama insisted Iran's nuclear program would be subject to the strictest controls.

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Geopolitics

Is Soft Power Dead?

With an activist Supreme Court creating a gap between democratic rhetoric and reality in the U.S., and Russia and China eager to flex military muscle, the full-force return to hard power looks bound for dominance.

U.S. flag and Chinese flag

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — Russia's war in Ukraine rages on, tensions are erupting in the South China Sea and now abortion rights are being stripped away in the U.S.: Looking around the world, we have to ask: what is left of the notion of soft power?

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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How can we talk about the power to convince when the power to coerce is increasingly the norm? And when there is such a gap between rhetoric and reality in the U.S. and in Russia and China, hard power almost seems to have become part of soft power?

“We will lead the world not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Joe Biden said the day after his election. But what kind of example was he talking about? That of the Supreme Court’s judges, whose decision promises a terrible future to women and to all those who still wanted to believe in an enlightened and liberal America?

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