Scholar and international affairs expert Joseph S. Nye Jr. ’58 spoke to packed audiences in Robertson Hall Feb. 21 and 22, discussing American presidential leadership in foreign policy as part of the 2012 Richard Ullman Lecture Series.
Nye, a former dean of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, worked with collaborator (and current Princeton professor) Robert Keohane to develop the theory of neoliberalism in their 1977 book Power and Interdependence. He also has held posts that included chairman of the National Intelligence Council in 1993-94 and assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs in the Clinton administration.
Nye's first lecture focused on the efficacy of seven presidents who presided over what Nye called the “American era.” He separated the definition of leadership into two categories — style and objectives — with two subtypes each. Leaders, he said, can have inspirational or transactional styles and transformational or incremental objectives.
According to Nye, the differences between broadly transformational and transactional leadership can also be described in terms of “soft power” and “hard power,” with the ideal mix of the two being “smart power,” which uses “contextual IQ” to combine resources and understand the situation.