Joseph S. Nye Jr. was born on January 19, 1937, and as of 2011, was a University Distinguished Service Professor and emeritus dean of the Kennedy School at Harvard University. He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University, received his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University and was awarded a postgraduate degree from Oxford University, which he attended on a Rhodes Scholarship.
Nye held many government positions, including Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. He chaired the National Intelligence Council and was the Deputy to the Under-Secretary of State for Security, Assistance, Science and Technology.
In 1993 to 1994, Nye chaired the National Intelligence Council, the body that coordinates all the intelligence estimates for the president of the United States. During the 2004 presidential campaign, he was mentioned as the front-runner for National Security Advisor in a future John Kerry administration.
Nye has published many books and articles. Among these are Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics in 2004, Understanding International Conflict, The Power Game: A Washington Novel and The Powers to Lead, which was released in 2008.
Joseph Nye, together with his colleague Robert Keohane, cofounded the theory of neoliberalism in international relations, which was advanced in their book Power and Interdependence, published in 1977. The theory presented the idea of asymmetrical and complex interdependence, which maintains that every nation and its fortunes are closely related and tightly linked to each other. The fortunes of a nation cannot be divorced from its essence and therefore, must be dealt with accordingly. The theory and the book has been taught in most universities and has shaped many U.S. foreign policy decisions.
Nye has also studied and lectured extensively about transnational relations as they relates to world politics. Nye is the author of a theory called soft power and smart power, which describes multilateral and liberal approaches to foreign policy in general, and U.S. foreign policy in particular. As with his many other theories, the theory of soft power became the cornerstone for the policies of some presidents in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Nye has held teaching positions in Ottawa, London and Geneva. He has traveled extensively, visiting more than 90 countries and residing in Europe, Central America and East Africa. In a 2008 survey of 1,700 international relations scholars, conducted by the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations Teaching, Research and International Policy (TRIP) Project, Nye was ranked as the sixth most influential foreign policy expert in the previous 20 years.
Nye is a highly influential foreign policy advisor who has many books and articles to his credit. Below is a short description of some of his noteworthy articles.
Project Syndicate: Obama's Tightrope
In this article, Nye writes about the very delicate balancing act that must be performed when negotiating with the ever-changing governments in the Middle East. He elaborates on the dangerous and precarious road that must be traveled.
The Misleading Metaphor of Decline
In this article, Nye presents a counterargument to those who predict the decline of the United States as a world superpower. He supports his argument with historical examples and political assessments.
Moscow Times: The Reality of Virtual Power
In this article, written for the Moscow Times, Nye examines the question of what it means to command and exhibit world power in the new age of free information in the 21st century.
Navigating America's Foreign Policy in an Uncertain World
In this article, Nye compiled the opinions of various foreign policy experts with regard to the constantly evolving international landscape. Different scenarios are presented, accompanied by advice and solutions.