smart & soft power

For China, tourism is a tool. The country sees it as a facilitator of people-to-people communication and a way to spread international friendship. In other words: soft power. [...] However, in the discussions during the evening reception, most participants were first asking questions and offering stories about different forms of outrageous behavior seen among Chinese travelers. 

So, ‘global Britain’ eh? This, we are told, will be the leitmotif for Theresa May’s Brexit speech tomorrow and, indeed, for her approach to international affairs more generally. And who could disagree with any of that? The argument will, of course, be couched in economic terms. The spirit of Britannia will be unleashed to sail the world’s oceans. Britain is back, you know. 

Dosa Hut? Curry Truck? Chaat Parlour? Sushi Corner? Falafel Carts? These are some of the oddities that have sprung up and can be spotted in many cities of the US, but nowhere is this more ubiquitous than in the huge megalopolis of New York whose culinary countenance has undergone a dramatic transformation as migrants from every corner of the world stream into the city.

January 11, 2017

“Speak softly and carry a big stick” Theodore Roosevelt famously said in 1901, when the United States was emerging as a great power. It was the right sentiment, perhaps, in an age of imperial rivalry but today many Americans doubt the utility of their global military presence, thinking it outdated, unnecessary or even dangerous.

India’s soft-power reach out is undergoing a makeover to meet the challenges of the resource-crunch in spreading its art, culture, culinary traditions, as well as entertainment and spiritualism overseas. Compared to countries like China or the UK, what India has been spending on leveraging its soft-power to win friends overseas remains negligible. Soft-power plays an important part in winning friends and goodwill abroad.

Iran’s ambassador to UK said, diplomacy remained as the most influential factor in soft power. [...] “Presently, detailed daily discussions are underway in Britain on role of diplomats in the European country’s decisive negotiations indicating that politicians are faced with challenged while appointing the right type of person who simultaneously possesses relevant experience and knowledge,” 

It has been suggested that Donald Trump will be a president who will focus on "hard power" to underpin his foreign policy goals rather than focusing on "soft power," which was Obama's preference. The United States cannot just use this or that; it needs to use both. Hard or soft, it's about power, period. [...] While taking a strong stance on security and defense, Trump needs deploy American soft power institutionally in his foreign policy.

The Park Geun-hye administration started with an ambitious middle-power foreign policy agenda. But as President Park’s time in office seems set to come to an end, South Korea’s middle power prestige may fall victim to South Korea’s domestic politics. Park had several policies seeking to utilize South Korea’s middle power status. The "Eurasia Initiative" aimed to establish a logistics and energy network through North Korea, Russia, Central Asia and on to Europe.

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