The Foundation series proposes the notion that military power is not the only way to become a dominant player in the galaxy but also through the combination of effective leadership, technological innovation and the establishment of a religious hierarchy that serves the Foundations purpose. The Foundations survival against all odds is a result of the Foundations ability to dominate the galaxy without military means through the effective use of its soft power.
Arguments: Hard power is not the only means for the Foundation to be a dominant actor that dominates the galaxy
Body: First, by analyzing the first book it is evident that power politics through the foundations use of effective diplomacy comes into focus. This is a direct result of the foundations use of cunning and effective leadership to deter possible aggressors with no excessive use of force at all.
Example and explanations: The mayor of Terminus Salvor Hardin knowing that Anacreon is poising to annex Terminus into one of its territories made a remark to the Anacreonian envoy that the foundation is in possession of atomic power which the Anacreonians fear it as also being atomic weapons evoking fear to the Anacreonians of future retaliations. Another example of the Foundations ability to subdue potential hostilities to its territory and its influence is by establishing a trade system of worlds governed by dependence of other planets on the foundations technological capabilities therefore ensuring that everyone in the galaxy depended on the Foundations survival as part of their long term interest since the world has already plunged into barbarism. The last and most effective way is the establishment of an effective religious hierarchy similar to the Vatican centered upon Terminus solely focused on the soft technological capabilities who's priests happen to be all engineers that tapped into the spiritual aspect of the planet within its periphery making Terminus a holy city.
Conclusion: Through the use of effective diplomacy and competent leadership the Foudation maneuvered the first crisis at ease without any casualties, through the establishment of trade dependence of other planets to Terminus it has ensured that the Foundations survival is of utmost importance to other planets within its periphery and lastly through the establishment of a Foundation centered religion planets dare not to attack the foundation fearing to be labeled as blasphemers. It is evident that the effective use of soft power is not the only means to dominate the system because the Foundation's case has proven that one doesn't not rely solely on military might alone in order to thrive in a hostile environment.