Barack Obama’s India Trip: The View Through a Soft Power Lens

“Now that President Barack Obama has concluded his $200 million per day trip to India (just kidding—that risible far right-wing canard has been thoroughly debunked), it‘s a good moment for some initial thoughts about the soft power dimensions of the episode.

Let‘s start at one remove with the People‘s Republic of China, which is, to state the obvious, a key driver of the developing Indo-American entente—New York Times columnist Tom Friedman calls the situation “containment lite” - and whose recent diplomatic blunders helped create a propitious atmosphere for Obama‘s visit.

Message to Beijing: There is more than a little dissonance between the claim, in the words of “peaceful rise” policy architect Zheng Bijian, that “China will transcend ideological differences to strive for peace, development, and cooperation with all countries of the world,” and PRC foreign minister Yang Jiechi’s recent testy assertion at an ASEAN meeting that “China is a big country and other countries are small countries, and that is just a fact.” If you eventually find yourself surrounded by an anxious, pro-American alliance, don‘t say I didn‘t warn you, more than once.”

To read this CPD Blog post in its entirety, click here.

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