iOS app Android app

Soft Power

The Battle for Soft Power: America's Digital Cold War with China

Justin O’Connor | Posted 06.23.2014 | World
Justin O’Connor

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.

How Putin Stole Our Smartpower

András Simonyi | Posted 06.18.2014 | World
András Simonyi

hile Putin uses the whole spectrum of power tools, he forces us to ask questions about our own poor, soulless, haphazard, and anemic conduct. Why is it that we are so poorly equipped to use the whole set of power tools at our disposal to counter him? The West can do better.

Will America's Failed Domestic Policy Spur a New Cold War?

Karen J. Alter | Posted 05.13.2014 | Politics
Karen J. Alter

While confronting Russia undermines popular support for American and European leaders, Putin, by contrast, is finding that fighting the West enhances his popularity.

Public Diplomacy and Press Freedom

Philip Seib | Posted 04.26.2014 | Media
Philip Seib

The White House and State Department need to rev up the engine of public diplomacy and make it more central to U.S. foreign policy. Forcefully defending press freedom would be a good way to start. The world will take note.

The Long-Term State of the Union - Counting the Cost of Empire?

David Coates | Posted 04.18.2014 | Politics
David Coates

There is something desperate about the current quality of politics in Washington DC. It is not that our elected representatives steadily avoid any discussion of key issues. It is rather that the way in which they choose to discuss those key issues trivializes them to the point of folly.

Bringing a Hard Edge to Soft Power

Philip Seib | Posted 04.08.2014 | World
Philip Seib

In some countries, including the United States, politics and the scarcity of common sense have led to soft power being pushed out of the policy mainstream, consigned to the backwaters of wishful thinking. Correcting this, in the United States at least, will require structural change.

Public Diplomacy's Branding Trap

Philip Seib | Posted 03.19.2014 | World
Philip Seib

If Apple, Disney, Coca Cola and other corporate giants benefit from their carefully nurtured brands, why shouldn't nations do the same? "Branding" is a fashionable tool on which some public diplomats rely heavily... perhaps too heavily.

China, Soft Power, and the Philippine Crisis

David W. Kearn | Posted 01.23.2014 | World
David W. Kearn

China has been noticeably muted in its response to the Philippines' plight even as it has positioned itself as the leading power in the Asia-Pacific region.

Japan's Influence in the Middle East

Daniel Wagner | Posted 01.23.2014 | World
Daniel Wagner

Although it is not widely recognized as such, Japan is one of the most influential economic actors in the Persian Gulf -- something that is unlikely to change in the near or medium term.

Why Is President Aquino So Popular? Effective Leadership and Enigmatic Charisma

Richard Javad Heydarian | Posted 11.26.2013 | World
Richard Javad Heydarian

What's fascinating with Aquino's popularity, not exactly his policies, is his ability to maintain public support despite repeated crises questioning his leadership.

Putin's Great Game

Howard Schweber | Posted 11.16.2013 | World
Howard Schweber

Putin's game is larger than Syria, and his audience is not the American voters, although he is happy to take advantage of the dysfunctional state of American politics. Putin's audience is somewhere else entirely: the capitals of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and China.

As Much Power as a Word: Fulbright and Soft Power

Tom Healy | Posted 10.29.2013 | World
Tom Healy

What is soft? What is hard? What is power? Can power be created or is there a finite amount, a zero sum game that means if I have the power, you do not?

The Limits to Obama and Xi's Smiles

Kyle Hutzler | Posted 10.21.2013 | World
Kyle Hutzler

Relationships between the two leaders have grown consistently warmer, while the popular perception among citizens of both countries towards the other remain troublingly negative.

Foreign Policy Begins at Home: Fact or Just Rhetoric?

Manjula Dissanayake | Posted 10.24.2013 | Politics
Manjula Dissanayake

I personally believe that the U.S. still has the capacity and the aspiration to remain the nation of opportunity for generations to come.

From Containment to 'Restrainment'

Christopher Holshek | Posted 07.02.2013 | Politics
Christopher Holshek

Given the recent behavior of the United States when dealing with Libya, Syria, Mali, Iran, and North Korea, what we may be witnessing is a new way of applying Roosevelt's adage more along more humble lines of practice than seen certainly since becoming the world's only superpower.

Margaret Thatcher's Soft Power?!

András Simonyi | Posted 06.09.2013 | Politics
András Simonyi

2013-02-04-CTRlogo.jpgReading the eulogies written in the last 24 hours, one wonders if the full measure of her legacy is really understood. Her strength was forged in her ability to wisely marry her pragmatism with her strong principles of freedom and democracy.

Can Erdogan Now Deliver His End of the Bargain With Israel?

Daniel Wagner | Posted 06.03.2013 | World
Daniel Wagner

. Nonetheless, as the Syrian crisis continues to threaten the security of all the Levantine states and the Iranian issue continues its slow boil, greater cooperation should be expected between the two. The rapprochement is real; the question is, does it matter?

Waiting for Sugar Man

András Simonyi | Posted 05.19.2013 | World
András Simonyi

In the age of Facebook, Google and Twitter, is rock really still as important a vehicle to convey the message of freedom?

Global Governance Gets a New Image

Indra Adnan | Posted 04.23.2013 | Impact
Indra Adnan

If you have never heard of Simon Anholt, don't own up to it. Some call him a political entrepreneur, others a global image consultant -- I see him more as a nation therapist, helping countries and more lately, cities, find themselves and their place in the world.

When Soft Power Fails

John Feffer | Posted 03.23.2013 | World
John Feffer

With its soft-power overtures, China has tried to expand its influence without disquieting its neighbors and trade partners. But through its hard-power posturing, China has achieved the exact opposite.

Can Chinese State TV Compete With CNN? Billions in RMB Say Yes

Alex Pasternack | Posted 01.23.2014 | World
Alex Pasternack

Despite the promise of wider editorial latitude, CCTV America's coverage of China is largely scrubbed of controversy and upbeat in tone, with a heavy emphasis on business and cultural stories in places where Beijing hopes to gain influence.

Russia's New NGO Law: The Shadow Of Soft Power

Tomas Hirst | Posted 09.08.2012 | World
Tomas Hirst

Russia's new NGO law is more than a move against organizations receiving foreign funding. It is part of a broader campaign to squeeze out those the Kremlin sees as peddlers of "soft power."

Can Sports Save the World? Reflections of a Former Little Leaguer on Sports, Diplomacy, and Globalization

Derek Shearer | Posted 08.08.2012 | Sports
Derek Shearer

Sports can't save the world from the effects of global warming or by themselves solve economic inequality in the world economy. For that, politics is required. But with the Olympics approaching, we should remember that a love of sports -- playing, watching, arguing, rooting, buying gear -- is one of the great commonalities of being human.

China: The First Soft Power Superpower

Philip Seib | Posted 07.29.2012 | World
Philip Seib

If the United States and other nations persist in engaging with China within the realm of public diplomacy, China might be nudged toward increased openness. This could enable the newest superpower to continue to rely on soft power.

The Failure of the Arab Spring: Soft Power and Soft States

Lyric Hughes Hale | Posted 06.23.2012 | World
Lyric Hughes Hale

The Arab Spring will span many, many seasons. Free speech is a necessary but not sufficient condition to create better government, long-term stability and better economic opportunities in the developing world.