Joseph Nye

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Joseph Nye
Professor Joseph Nye and Dr Robin Niblett - Chatham House 2013 (cropped).jpg
Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
In office
September 15, 1994 – December 16, 1995
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byChas Freeman
Succeeded byFranklin Kramer
Chair of the National Intelligence Council
In office
February 20, 1993 – September 15, 1994
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byFritz Ermarth
Succeeded byChristine Williams
Personal details
Joseph Samuel Nye Jr.

(1937-01-19) January 19, 1937 (age 83)
South Orange, New Jersey, U.S.
EducationPrinceton University (B.A.)
Exeter College, Oxford (M.A.)
Harvard University (Ph.D.)

Joseph Samuel Nye Jr. (born January 19, 1937) is an American political scientist. He is the co-founder, along with Robert Keohane, of the international relations theory of neoliberalism, developed in their 1977 book Power and Interdependence. Together with Keohane, he developed the concepts of asymmetrical and complex interdependence. They also explored transnational relations and world politics in an edited volume in the 1970s. More recently, he explained the distinction between hard power and soft power, and pioneered the theory of soft power. His notion of "smart power" ("the ability to combine hard and soft power into a successful strategy") became popular with the use of this phrase by members of the Clinton Administration, and more recently the Obama Administration.[1] He is the former Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he currently holds the position of University Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus.[2] In October 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Nye to the Foreign Affairs Policy Board.[3] He is also a member of the Defense Policy Board.[4]

He has been a member of the Harvard faculty since 1964. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a foreign fellow of The British Academy. Nye is also a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy.[5] The 2011 TRIP survey of over 1700 international relations scholars ranks Joe Nye as the sixth most influential scholar in the field of international relations in the past twenty years.[6] He was also ranked as most influential in American foreign policy. In 2011, Foreign Policy magazine named him to its list of top global thinkers.[7] In September 2014, Foreign Policy reported that the international relations scholars and policymakers both ranked Nye as one of the most influential scholars.[8]

Life and career[edit]


Nye attended Morristown Prep (now the Morristown–Beard School) in Morristown, New Jersey and graduated in 1954. He then attended Princeton University, from where he graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in history in 1958. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and won the Myron T. Herrick Thesis Prize. His senior thesis was titled "Death of a Family Firm: An Entrepreneurial History of the American Preserve Company."[9] During his time at Princeton, Nye was vice president of the Colonial Club, a columnist for The Daily Princetonian, and a member of the American Whig–Cliosophic Society's Debate Panel.[10] After studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University's Exeter College, he obtained his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University in 1964.


Nye joined the Harvard faculty in 1964, and served as Director of the Center for Science and International Affairs at John F. Kennedy School of Government from 1985 to 1990 and as Associate Dean for International Affairs at Harvard University from 1989 to 1992. Nye also served as Director of the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University from 1989 to 1993 and Dean of John F. Kennedy School of Government from 1995 to 2004. Nye is currently (as of July 2018) University Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus.[11]

From 1977 to 1979, Nye was Deputy to the Undersecretary of State for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology and chaired the National Security Council Group on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In recognition of his service, he was awarded the State Department's Distinguished Honor Award in 1979. In 1993 and 1994, he was Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, which coordinates intelligence estimates for the President, and was awarded the Intelligence Community's Distinguished Service Medal. In the Clinton Administration from 1994 to 1995, Nye served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, and was awarded the Department's Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. Nye was considered by many to be the preferred choice for National Security Advisor in the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry.

He is the chairman of the North American branch of the Trilateral Commission[12] and the co-chair of the Aspen Strategy Group. He is also a member of the Atlantic Council's[13] Board of Directors. Nye has also served as a trustee of Radcliffe College and Wells College. He was on the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Guiding Coalition of the Project on National Security Reform, the Advisory Board of Carolina for Kibera, and the Board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He has been awarded the Woodrow Wilson Prize by Princeton University and the Charles E. Merriman Prize by the American Political Science Association. In 2005, he was awarded the Honorary Patronage of the University Philosophical Society of Trinity College Dublin and has been awarded honorary degrees by ten colleges and universities. In 2010, Nye won Foreign Policy Distinguished Scholar Award by the International Studies Association. In 2009, he was made a Theodore Roosevelt Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.[14]

In October 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Nye to the Foreign Affairs Policy Board. The group meets periodically to discuss strategic questions and to provide the Secretary and other senior Department officials with independent informed perspectives and ideas.[15] In November 2014, Nye was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star in recognition of his "contribution to the development of studies on Japan-U.S. security and to the promotion of the mutual understanding between Japan and the United States."[16]

Nye serves as a Commissioner for the Global Commission on Internet Governance.[17]

Nye coined the term soft power in the late 1980s and it first came into widespread usage following a piece he wrote in Foreign Policy in 1990. Nye has consistently written for Project Syndicate since 2002.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Nye and his wife, Molly Harding Nye, have three adult sons.[19]


  • Pan Africanism and East African integration (Harvard University Press, 1965)
  • Peace in Parts: Integration and Conflict in Regional Organization (Little Brown and Company, 1971)
  • Transnational Relations and World Politics, co-authored with Robert O. Keohane (Harvard University Press, 1972)
  • Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition, co-authored with Keohane (Little Brown and Company, 1977; Longman, 2000)
  • Living with Nuclear Weapons. A Report by the Harvard Nuclear Study Group (Harvard University Press, 1983)
  • Hawks, Doves and Owls: An Agenda for Avoiding Nuclear War, co-authored with Graham Allison and Albert Carnesale (Norton, 1985)
  • Nuclear Ethics (The Free Press, 1986)
  • Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, (Basic Books, 1990)
  • Understanding International Conflicts: An Introduction to Theory and History, 7th ed. (Longman, 2008)
  • The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go it Alone (Oxford University Press, 2002)
  • Power in the Global Information Age: From Realism to Globalization (Routledge, 2004)
  • Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (PublicAffairs, 2004)
  • "Soft Power and American Foreign Policy." Political Science Quarterly 119.2 (2004): 255-70.
  • The Power Game: A Washington Novel (PublicAffairs, 2004)
  • The Powers to Lead (Oxford University Press, 2008)
  • The Future of Power (PublicAffairs, 2011)
  • Presidential Leadership and the Creation of the American Era (Princeton University Press, 2013)
  • Is the American Century Over? (Polity, 2015)
  • Do Morals Matter? Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump (Oxford University Press, 2020);

Essays and reporting[edit]

  • Nye, Joseph S. Jr. (June 2013). "Do Presidents matter?". Dispatches. Leadership. The Atlantic. 311 (5): 13–15. Retrieved 2015-07-03.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Smart Power, The Huffington Post, November 29, 2007
  2. ^ "Joseph Nye Faculty Page". Faculty Directory. Harvard Kennedy School. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Meeting of Secretary Kerry's Foreign Affairs Policy Board Secretary of State John Kerry Will Host a Meeting of the Foreign Affairs Policy Board on October 16". U.S. Department of State. October 16, 2014.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-20. Retrieved 2013-10-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Membership List". The American Academy of Diplomacy. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  6. ^ "TRIP Around the World" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-01-31.
  7. ^ "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2020-02-23.
  8. ^ "Who are the top international-relations specialists? Surprise! Scholars have a very different view than policymakers do". Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  9. ^ Nye, Jr., Joseph Samuel. Princeton University. Department of History (ed.). "Death of a Family Firm: An Entrepreneurial History of the American Preserve Company". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ "Daily Princetonian 7 January 1958 — Princeton Periodicals". Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  11. ^ School, Harvard Kennedy. "Joseph Nye". Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  12. ^ "North American Region". Archived from the original on 2012-10-21. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
  13. ^ "Board of Directors". Atlantic Council. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  14. ^ [1] Archived 2014-12-05 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  16. ^ "Harvard's Joseph Nye Receives Honor in Japan | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs". Retrieved 2017-07-11.
  17. ^ "The Internet is the world's most important infrastructure". Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Joseph S. Nye - Project Syndicate". Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  19. ^ "Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government: Joseph Nye Full Bio". Retrieved 11 July 2017.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Fritz Ermarth
Chair of the National Intelligence Council
Succeeded by
Christine Williams
Political offices
Preceded by
Chas Freeman
Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
Succeeded by
Franklin Kramer