Talk these days of the creative economy as soft power and a harbinger of world peace, ignores the huge struggles taking place between Google, Facebook no one hand and Baidu, We Chat, Tencent on the other, pitching the U.S. and China directly against each other in a cold digital war of online platforms, search engines and aggregation algorithms. It is very nice to assert the diversity of cultures in a globalized world. But this diversity is in reality dependent on some very hard issues of finance, intellectual property rights and communications infrastructures.
Despite monumental world events, foreign policy will not play much if any role in the presidential race in 2012. The American voting public is not very concerned with what is happening in most areas of the world. They are rightly concerned about the state of the American economy and the state of US society as they experience it in their daily lives. For this reason alone, President Obama needs a tougher and clearer economic message. It's not just the economy, stupid; it's how you talk about it that matters in politics. Sadly, I don't expect the Obama White House or his current re-election team to get religion on that front anytime soon.