Joseph S. Nye, Jr.

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Joseph S. Nye Jr., "University Distinguished Service Professor, is also the Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations and former Dean of the Kennedy School. He received his bachelor's degree summa cum laude from Princeton University, did postgraduate work at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, and earned a PhD in political science from Harvard. He has served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Chair of the National Intelligence Council, and Deputy Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology. In 2004, he published Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics; Understanding International Conflict (5th edition); and The Power Game: A Washington Novel." [1]

Support of Qaddafi

Nye appears to have been part of a campaign to improve the public image of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. As Mother Jones reported:

On his acknowledgements page, Saif [Qaddafi, Muammar's son] noted that his thesis was made possible, in part, due to the assistance of a “number of experts...especially Professor Joseph Nye” of Harvard. One of the godfathers of the international relations theories of neoliberalism and soft power, Nye read portions of the paper and provided “advice and direction.” Probably not coincidentally, Nye was taken on a junket to Libya in 2007 that was organized by the Monitor Group, a Boston-based consulting firm then working for the Qaddafi government. After the trip, Nye wrote an essay for The New Republic, extolling Qaddafi's efforts to clean up his image. Acknowledging the Libyan leader’s abominable human rights record, Nye still saw hope for him:
Where once he had tried to bully and even overthrow governments to his south, now he is hosting peace talks on Darfur. Where once he sought weapons of mass destruction, now he has abandoned his nuclear program…Qaddafi, in other words, seems to have become interested in soft power—the art of projecting influence through attraction rather than coercion… And the fact that he took so much time to discuss ideas--including soft power—with a visiting professor suggests that he is actively seeking a new strategy.
The Monitor Group, which is connected to leading professors at the Harvard School of Business, sent several prominent foreign policy thinkers (in addition to Nye) to Libya to meet with the Libyan leader, including neocon Richard Perle, a paid adviser for Monitor. This was part of its paid-for-by-Tripoli effort to rehabilitate Qaddafi. And as Saif Qaddafi wrote in his acknowledgements, the group also helped him conduct research for his dissertation—raising the possibility that this thesis was another component of the Monitor Group’s makeover campaign for the Qaddafi regime. The consulting firm pocketed $3 million a year for its pro-Qaddafi endeavors (Mother Jones sent Nye a request for comment; his office says he is travelling).[2]

Later Mother Jones found he was paid to travel to Libya by the Monitor Group, leading Franklin Foer who was editor of TNR at the time to say "If we had known that he was consulting for a firm paid by the government, we wouldn't have run the piece."[3]


Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Harvard Kennedy School, accessed September 8, 2008.
  4. Steering Committee, Bipartisan Policy Center, accessed February 22, 2011.
  5. Advisory Board, Carolina for Kibera, accessed January 19, 2011.
  6. People, Belfer Center, accessed November 18, 2008.
  7. Members, East West Center, accessed December 11, 2010.