Today we live in a world where increasingly we talk of hard power – the kind that comes with weapons, bombs and military force.
Russia, North Korea, China, Syria, even America… are all posturing about how ‘might’ wins the fight.
But that it not to say that soft power has no place.
International bragging rights aren’t forged just on the size of missiles in an arsenal, but also the implicit messages in communication.
Never is this more pronounced than when a state visit is held, and next week President Donald Trump has the pleasure of hosting President Emmanuel Macron.
As ever, the details of the gifts have been released ahead of time… a precursor, as it were, to the the tone that the two leaders want to bring to the occasion.
And, also, as ever, personalised gifts feature highly on the packing lists.
For M. Macron, the Donald has prepared two gifts.
The first is a framed section of upholstery from a chair in the White House. The chair features a golden eagle – a symbol of America – sitting proudly and eminently upon the backrest of the furniture.
And, to complement this, a silver Tiffany bowl is being presented with the Presidential seal engraved on the side and the Donald’s and Melania’s signatures.
Any guesses for the sentiment behind the Trumps’ gifts?
Perhaps that America is strong again, and that Donald Trump is the boss. He’s the one who hires and fires.
President Macron, though, might be just as expressive with his choice of gift.
As Mr Trump pulls the USA out of the momentous Paris Climate Agreement (something which Emmanuel Macron has oft criticised), the French President has chosen to gift a sapling tree.
The tree is a European sessile oak which comes from a World War I battlefield in France where many US soldiers lost their lives.
Any guesses for the sentiment behind this gift?
Perhaps… that if the world fails to protect the environment, then lives will be lost.
This, anyhow, is our interpretation of the meaning behind the personalised gifts. Ultimately, the beauty of an engraved gift it how it is understood between the giver and the recipient.
So should you be needing to exert any of your own ‘soft power’, look at our personalised cufflinks, our engraved hip flasks and our special pocket watches to communicate your own special sentiment,