Although winning a game of Diplomatic Risk is an unequivocal occurrence due to definitively outlined state objectives, “winning” in the genuine world political system is not a clearly defined or common phenomenon because the goals of a state can be ambiguous. Additionally, it is impossible for a state to “win” at the game of international relations because political dealings between states never cease, meaning there is no prospect for victory, but rather a simple goal of success. This success (winning) on the world stage can be most simply boiled down to having the ability to exert hard and soft power to promote a foreign policy agenda that helps to maintain state sovereignty. However, there are many directions a state can take its foreign policy agenda, all of which help maintain sovereignty. Therefore, the ability of a state to use both hard and soft power when it deems necessary is the constant in “winning” at the game of world politics.
States need the ability to both shape the long-term preferences and attitudes of other states, as well as coerce them when necessary to be a successful player, and therefore winning, in the international system. Projecting soft power is a necessity for any influential world player because soft power allows a state to work towards long-term goals without using an exorbitant amount of resources to achieve them. Additionally, soft power is a far less aggressive political tool that can be used to further a policy agenda. For example, although United States and the majority of the Western World have the ability to dominate others, they also excel in projecting soft power through enterprises, churches, universities, and other institutions integrated into civil society. These organizations of civil society project elements of democratic philosophy and when integrated into other cultures through globalization, promote these components of liberal democracy, a goal clearly outlined in the current United States policy agenda. Additionally, the United States' cunning use of soft power is also what helped swing the Cold War in its favor. However, soft power is limited by its tendency to have diffuse effects and cannot be easily wielded to achieve specific outcomes, which is why hard power is the second required asset for a successful state. Although maintaining hard power capabilities is costly, it is significantly more durable than soft power. Military strength will always be a useful commodity in the world system, from maintaining and even expanding state borders to protecting and obtaining valuable resources. For example, the lofty military spending of the United States has given it control over various elements of world politics from the free flow of oil by protecting the Straight of Hormuz, one the most important energy bottlenecks, to the use of NATO resources, as NATO still depends on the leadership and muscle of the United States. Therefore, to be successful and winning in the international system, a state must be able to wield both soft and hard power in a significant amount in order to promote a foreign policy agenda efficiently.