How soft is soft power?

Uri Friedman's article in the Atlantic details the extent to which the UN Secretary general is willing to call attention to the obvious fact that US influence is diminishing abroad (perhaps at home as well?). It's a pleasant read in some ways. I wonder about the degree to which those who have been most instrumental in the diminution of the American imperial project are interested in what this or that representative of such-and-such international organization have to say about it. Also, it's not clear to me that the powers and commercial interests that stand apart from America's sociopolitical tragicomedy have a real dog in the fight. What if it's the case that the economic and military forces, and the human representatives that power the respective networks by which they are realized, have something of a job security that transcends nation, polity, and culture? If that's true, then we can pretty much forget about a deus ex machina bailing us out of this one. It'll be up to us. But maybe that's not so bad...