Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

Soft power is making a hard return

By J. Alex Tarquinio

06 Aug 2023 · 7 min read

informed Summary

  1. Soft power, which leverages a country's culture to influence world events, has been a long-standing strategy for many world leaders. But the rise of the internet and social media has added a new dimension to this concept.

Days before the recent NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, the host country’s foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, who has been outspoken against Russia’s war in Ukraine, welcomed an unusual side event. He tweeted that he was “[p]roud to open the NAFO summit.” That wasn’t a typo.

The North Atlantic Fella Organization is an internet meme and a social media movement that bases its name on NATO. They call themselves “fellas,” in their view a gender-neutral term, and identify their accounts with cartoon avatars of Shiba Inu dogs.

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