The global reach of Chinese soft power China's rise and America's decline?
Hoey, James H.
Chatterjee, Anshu N.
Olsen, Edward A.
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Over the past decade, China has downplayed its hard power, instead focusing on a strategy to build its soft power. Emerging from a shell of defensive diplomacy dating back decades, China suddenly has engaged the world, wooing friends with a subtle, softer approach to make gains as America's popularity has plummeted. In Africa, newly popular China is winning oil and gas deals; in Latin America, China is signing strategic partnerships; in the Philippines, Chinese films are making inroads against American movies; and in southern Thailand, the U.S. consulate building in Songkhla is now the Chinese consulate. Clearly, this charm offensive utilizing soft power has potentially forced the United States into a situation in which another country's appeal outstrips its own. As China's soft power encompasses a global reach, U.S. policy makers need to understand how China exerts soft power, whether China's soft power is dangerous to developing nations, and whether elements of China's charm offensive seek hard power objectives that could threaten U.S. interests. As America faces a decline in its soft power, it will have to reverse course through the promotion of classic American values, public diplomacy, and a great culture to prevent the worst-case scenario: China using its soft power to push countries to choose between close ties to Washington or closer ties to Beijing. In the meantime, Washington must not foolishly ignore the gains China is making in the balance of soft power around the world, but must seek to properly balance its soft and hard power -- a sign of a country's maturity and confidence, which China still struggles with.
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