Crude diplomacy

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Tiffany Jenkins (Perspective 29 March) is right to say regarding foreign policy that cultural diplomacy or “soft power” won’t do.

Also, it wasn’t only cultural events taking place as sanctions or even military intervention were possible. Last week it was reported a Russian oligarch was investing over £4 billion in the North Sea. Moreover, there are warnings of oil and gas firms and an oil trading company becoming involved.

Can the UK and Scottish Governments be confident that “tough US sanctions” won’t affect North Sea production? Aren’t these examples of the “material base” of the global economy throwing up the contradictions of sanctions?

Much has been written about “hard, soft and smart power” and their role in foreign relations.

Significantly, as Tiffany says, “sometimes you need direct, purposeful power”.

Arguably in today’s global economy soft power depends on hard power which raises Joseph Nye’s question.

Does hard power – economic or military – come from the barrel of a gun or from a barrel of oil or perhaps both?

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk

Inverurie